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Discoveries are often found by accident. I recently made one such finding I’m excited to share with you.

Japanese Beetles have attacked my roses for years. The healthy rose buds open only to serve as tasty treats for the visiting pests, who immediately destroy them. Sprays intended to prevent this do little to help.

I recently set two unlit citronella candles out on the ledge of the deck during a barbecue. The following morning I found dozens of the Japanese Beetles frozen in the melted candles.  I hadn’t even lit the candles. They melted in the warm sunlight.

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Citronella is considered a natural insect repellent, but it must actually attract the beetles, which then get stuck in the wax. I have moved the candles closer to the roses and am morbidly delighted to see this collection continue to increase. The roses appear to have less infestation, but I honestly am not certain if in fact I am drawing more beetles to the garden.

Citronella oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of lemongrass. It is especially effective against mosquitos, lice, and stable flies. There are no known adverse effects when used as a topical insect repellent, including when used on children and people with sensitive skin. Citronella oil is used in chemicals in soaps, candles, and incense. It is also recognized as an antifungal.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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