This Japanese beetle may look like a crop-damaging insect to us, but to a chicken, it’s a snack!
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/JUDY WHITTON
We once lived in an area that had a tremendous number of Japanese beetles in the summertime. In order to save our raspberry and rose bushes from total destruction, I bought a “bag-a-bug” pheromone trap. Within 24 hours, the beetles completely filled the bag.
I realized I would never keep up with emptying the filled bag of bugs, so I moved the trap to the chicken pen and hung it about 6 feet from the ground. I cut off the bottom corner of the bag, fitted the bottom of the bag over a piece of 1 1/2-inch PVC pipe and secured it with duct tape. The bottom of the pipe hung over a kitchen plate. Here’s how it works: The beetles fly into the trap, slide into the bag and down the pipe onto the plate. When they reach the plate, they walk around rather than fly away.
The plate quickly became the main attraction in the chicken pen. The chickens would gather around and eat the beetles as they fell onto the plate; eventually, they started catching the beetles in the air as they flew toward the trap.
The trap provided a significant supplement to the chickens’ diet, and our raspberries and roses thrived.
West Yellowstone, Montana