This evening I finally got caught up on some much needed yard work. First task was to attack the Japanese Beetles that are devouring the roses and four o'clocks. Feeling a bit lazy, I simply put water in a tub and began collecting beetles in the water. It was then that I noticed they were climbing all over each other, trying to stay on top of big, wet beetle balls. So I went inside and got the dish soap.
Have you ever had a sink full of greasy water and let one drop of detergent fall in? It's cool to watch the grease retreat to the sides of the sink (I worked the dish pit in college). Well, the effect is similar with beetles. The water is what actually drowns them but the soap makes them all slippery so that they can't climb on top of each other. After a couple drops of detergent, the beetle clumps began to fall apart as they floated across the butter tub. I have little sympathy for Japanese beetles.
After all that excitement the only thing left to do was mow, trim, and weed. I did the major stuff and the yard looks respectable again, but there is still a lot to be done. It's remarkable how much work there is in defining the line between a "full" garden and one that's overgrown.