The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

July 7, 2012

Japanese beetles make presence known

CLINTON — It’s not the blistering heat that bothers Wide River Winery owner Dorothy O’Brien.

It’s the nearly 300,000 Japanese beetles that also came with summer.

Since receiving three inches of rain 10 days ago, O’Brien has seen an influx of the beetles. While the heat is slightly concerning, the action of beetles feeding on the vine leaves is potentially harvest threatening.

“The short story is grapes love heat,” O’Brien said.

According to O’Brien, grapes will grow until temperatures reach 93 or 94 degrees.  Heat beyond this threshold don’t kill the plants, but they don’t experience a full growth.

Although the rain provided some relief for the 7-acre vineyard where O’Brien and her staff grow grapes for the dozen wines sold at the winery, O’Brien said with full leaves came a hoard of hungry Japanese beetles.

The beetles have attacked two types of vines in particular. The merlot and marquette vine leaves are riddled with bite marks, crispy and brown.  It’s a sharp contrast to the lush green leaves of the surrounding vines.

Because of this, O’Brien said, the harvest for the merlot and marquette grapes may be delayed beyond the late August through September harvest time.

While some leaf-eating is good because it exposes the grapes to the sun, leaves are essential for fruit to ripen.

O’Brien said she empties traps on the vineyard every few days. In the two times she’s collected from them this season, she’s found approximately 200,000 of the beetles.

According to Mike White, viticulture specialist with the Iowa State University extension office, the beetles arrived about four weeks earlier than usual this year and would be here no matter the temperature.

About 20 percent of the vineyards in Iowa are experiencing Japanese beetle infestations. White said Clinton is one of the hot spots for Japanese beetle activity.

“We’re going to have Japanese beetles until mid-August,” White said. “The heat and the beetles have no relation.”

 One solution to eliminate the six-legged foes is spraying insecticide, a solution O’Brien is not personally excited about.

“I have never sprayed insecticide and I’m on the edge of doing that,” O’Brien said.  “The beetles are nasty little creatures.”

Still, O’Brien said she is hopeful for the grapes, and the wines they will ultimately produce.

“We’re going to have — I think — a good crop this year. The dry weather at harvest time helps grapes to develop flavors, aromas and sugar. It also lowers the acid,”she explained.

1
Text Only
Clinton
  • Minnick New director at Ashford CLINTON -- Ashford University has appointed a new vice president/campus director of its Clinton campus. Charlie Minnick has been appointed for the position. He has been in the position on an interim basis since Jan. 1. Ashford University Provost Lori

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women on Fire event is Wednesday at Vista Grande CLINTON -- For many years, women in business have been honored in the city of Clinton, but on Wednesday, they have a night all their own. The Women are on Fire event will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Vista Grande in Clinton and will offer an oppo

    April 19, 2014

  • McEleney McEleney elected to insurance board CLINTON -- A car dealership owner recently earned a spot on a national insurance board. John McEleney, of Clinton and owner of McEleney Motors, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federated Insurance Companies. The election took place this w

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton looks into roadway safety upgrades Herald Staff Report Clinton looks into roadway safety upgrades

    April 19, 2014

  • L'Kings keep Hot Rods cold BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- There's nothing like jumping on a team when it's down, and the Clinton LumberKings did just that Friday night. For the second night in a row, the LumberKings used a five-run inning to take a victory at Bowling Green Ballpark, th

    April 19, 2014

  • Way of the Cross photo The Way of the Cross By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer The Way of the Cross

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • AGENDA: 4-22-14 Clinton City Council

    The Clinton City Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. followed by a committee of the whole.

    April 18, 2014

  • Theft trial for man charged in Wolfe sisters' murders

    A western Pennsylvania man accused of having robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, now also faces trial on charges that he stole another woman's wedding ring a year ago.

    State police in Greensburg allege that 43-year-old Allen Wade of East Liberty, Pa., stole the ring while delivering a refrigerator to a home in April 2013. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway on Thursday agreed to schedule the case for trial.

    April 18, 2014

  • More felonies added to sex abuse charges CLINTON -- A Clinton man already facing multiple felony charges for allegedly sexually abusing a child is now facing six more felonies for sexual exploitation of a child. Tony D. James, 45, was charged this past weekend with six counts of sexual expl

    April 18, 2014

  • Wildlife service to conduct burnings CLINTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring. The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning

    April 18, 2014

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook