Gardening in the Midwest: Beetles, Deer and Groundhogs, Oh My!

Gardening in the Midwest always presents a challenge.

Unpredictable is the best way to describe our rainfall and temperature patterns, with records highs and lows often being the norm.

Factor in some common pests like ants and squirrels and you’ve got your hands full. Over the years, these challenges have been easily overcome by Bobby Bowers, Durvet Warehouse Manager and avid gardener.

Mother Nature decided to kick things up a notch this year and sling a few curveballs at Bobby – some of which had fur and large teeth!

Curve ball #1 was high and outside and came flying in – literally.  Japanese Beetles. The name alone can provoke thoughts of unease in any local gardener this year.

Garden (2)While these beetles have been around for years, recent local populations have soared and so has the damage left behind.

Bobby’s grapevines were heavily damaged by the beetles and eradicating them proved especially challenging.

Marketing Specialist and fellow gardener, Kassie Kreissler, has also be battling the beetles and has had good luck with a beetle trap called RESCUE!, which is a non-toxic disposable Japanese and oriental beetle trap.


Mother Nature wasn’t done yet and flung another wild one at Bobby…Deer.

While a common pest for Kassie and her rural garden, this is one that Bobby typically doesn’t deal with. Tomatoes proved to be one of their favorite snacks!

Both Kassie and Bobby agree that they would rather see this particular pest from their deer stand in the woods, not in their garden!

Neither have found a foolproof deer prevention tactic, but fortunately just human presence or a loud “Hey you!” tends to deter most deer.

The final curveball came in low and outside bearing a fur coat and buck teeth – ideal for noshing on a backyard garden – and was none other than a groundhog!

In all of his years of gardening, this is the first groundhog that Bobby has been faced with and it left him truly stumped. Trapping seemed like a promising option at first, but required a place to release the trapped animal, so that option was scratched.

Garden (3)Extra fencing was installed and Bobby and the groundhog have come to a precarious truce. The zucchini patch took a bit of a hit from the groundhog, but the fencing saved the melons!

Keeping the melons safe was of particular importance as these heirloom seeds were a gift from a endor partner and have an interesting story behind them – read more about it here.

All of Durvet has a vested interest in the success of our coworkers’ gardens as they’re known to share their excess bounty in the breakroom.

Fingers crossed our gardening pros can outsmart Mother Nature again this year and finish the season with a bumper crop!

Post written by Emily Garcia, Marketing Coordinator