I would like to respond to Jeff Lowenfels' column in which he stated that people should not try to spray for beetles themselves but should hire a professional. I think he is unnecessarily discouraging people from activities that they could successfully complete themselves.
The last time the beetles hit, I had never sprayed a tree in my life. I have 160 acres of spruce trees. Hiring a professional to spray them all would have been out of the question. I bought a six-wheel ATV with a bed in the back, got a pressure washer, a 15-gallon tank, 250 feet of hose and many gallons of bug spray. I got up at four in the morning and sprayed until 6 a.m., when it was time to go to work. I sprayed again in the evening until it got dark or I couldn't move any more.
I didn't save all the trees, because if there are a zillion bugs and the first 100,000 sacrifice themselves, there are still many more to destroy the tree, but I saved many of them. My situation is a bit beyond the average homeowner's, but a pressure washer in a Radio Flyer wagon would probably work for some people — or maybe a group of homeowners could get together and come up with a solution that works for them and is less expensive than hiring a professional. In other words, you can do it yourself.
— Ron Aksamit
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