The Japanese Beetles Are Awful This Year – Use Traps To Save Your Plants

There seems to be a ton of Japanese Beetles this year – these fat little buggers can really do a number on plant leaves – eating them leaving holes or just ragged parts of leaves. Spray is one option and I know folks who use Sevin and others but another option that does not involve spraying is to put up traps that are made just for them.

Here’s one example of the damage the Japanese beetles can do.
Here’s another.
This close up photo of the culprit. It’s from Wikipedia (1) shows a Japanese Beetle. You can easily catch them eating leaves during the day to confirm whether they are the actual pest or not. You can also sometimes spot them flying away from plants as well by the way.

Personally, I use the Spectracide Bag-A-Bug Japanese Beetle Traps. I kind of fell into them years ago – I don’t even recall how. I think someone recommended them to me and I have used them ever since. They are very easy to assemble and definitely do the job.

The package has the the plastic frame that holds the bag and the bait (that brown disc in the sealed aluminum package, and a long wire tie to suspend the trap and two bags. It does not come with a stand. You can buy one, make one or hang it off something that you already have – the target height should be with the bottom about a foot off the ground. The bait/lure is supposed to be good for about 12 weeks – enough for the season.
These are bushes near our garden. The recommend putting the trap 30 feet away from plants you care about because you don’t want to attract the beetles and have them decide to stop and eat your plants vs. going to the trap. I have four traps up this year protecting areas where we have plants and vegetables and have caught literally hundreds of beetles in less than a month.

The way it works is kind of interesting. You put the bait block on the trap and the rather clumsy beetles fly for the bait, hit the walls of the trap that are smooth and have nothing for them to grab onto and they fall down in the trap. Once in the trap, the walls are also smooth and they don’t have enough room to fly so they are stuck there and perish.

This is the top of the trap. The beetles are attracted by the bait, hit the walls and fall down. It really works.
There are probably 2-3 dozen beetles in here after a few days. The most stunning situation I had was putting a trap out not far from rose bushes we have and I had dozens of beetles trapped in less than four hours.
They do make and sell a purpose built stand that comes in sections. I bought a few of them but I just make them now out of 3/16-1/4″ steel rod. The sections are easy for storage but you do need to avoid losing pieces. I lost the top hanger of one and made a replacement.

In Conclusion

The Spectracide Japanese Beetle traps work great and I have no hesitation recommending them. I have read reviews/posts where people complain about the bag ripping but I am not sure why they had a challenge. I only have two recommendations – don’t put them in amongst the plants you care about because they will absolutely lure the beetles right where you don’t want them and the second is to make a couple tiny slits at the very bottom to help water drain out.

These traps definitely work and I hope this helps you save your plants!!

Note, Amazon sellers tend to be very expensive. EBay tends to have far better prices for these traps and accessories like bags and stands:


Photo source (#1) is By Beatriz Moisset – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78747216


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Introducing Our New Third Generation 16 Round 10mm Magazines for Rock Island Armory High Capacity 2011-Style Pistols

This is our third generation of magazine for the Rock Island High Capacity 2011-style 10mm and .40 S&W pistols that use the 16 round magazines – not the single stack 7-8 round mags.

This is one of the new mags. You can see a dummy 10mm round poking out from during testing.

These are converted Mec-Gar Para P14-45 magazines that have the feedlips adjusted and fine tuned to properly retain and feed 10mm rounds.  Note, a normal P14 mag can’t securely retain a 10mm round.  These tuned mags will only work with 10mm and .40 S&W.  They will not work on any other calibers or in a pistol that requires P14 mags.

To properly retain a 10mm round, the feed lips must be properly spaced plus this must be done correctly or the feed angle will be wrong.

The adjustment process and tooling took some work because Mec-Gar uses surprisingly resilient hardened steel magazine bodies and feed lips.  I had to develop a means to convert the magazines using a forming jig I developed.

Here’s a closer look at the mag lips. The finish wear is from the adjustment process.

Compatibility

These custom mags should work with RIA pistols that use the OEMP164015B magazine including the following pistols:

  • 51994 TAC Ultra MS 10mm
  • 51914 TAC Ultra FS 10mm
  • 56862 TAC Ultra Threaded 10mm
  • 52000 PRO Match Ultra 6″ HC 10mm
  • 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm
  • 51738 Pro Match Ultra H – 40S&W – note, I tune for 10mm as I don’t have a .40 so some minor adjustments might be needed.

Observations

Based on my past experience and some research, there are some really cool benefits from the new Mec-Gar P14 design:

  • Hardened steel bodies and feed lips will hold up very well with extreme use
  • Mec-Gar developed an anti-friction coating that aids in feeding
  • The magazine spring is made from type “D” music wire and holds up nicely
  • They developed a polymer base plate that fits very nicely in the large RIA mag well funnels
  • The slightly taller magazine body clears the RIA mag-well funnel very easily.  It’s longer than our previous generations of magazines and is even slightly longer than the original RIA/Act-Mag magazine
  • The magazine’s capacity is 16 rounds of 10mm. I was able to get 17 rounds in during testing but I feel that last round is just too tight. Thus, I am listing it as 16 rounds.

The polymer base plates work very nicely with the RIA pistols. You don’t need to change them unless you prefer longer plates. We do sell Dawson base plates if you wish to have one that extends further than the included Mec-Gar plate – The Dawson +100 plate is about the same height so if you do want the mags to be taller, you’d need either a +200 or +300 to see a difference. Please click here if you are interested in the Dawson plates.

These are all P14 mag bodies but with the different base plates installed so you can see the difference in thicknesses. The plates just change how tall the magazine is – they do not add capacity.
The OEM Mec-Gar base plate fits the RIA mag well funnel just fine. I set aside four mags for myself and am using the original base plate for them.

The Mec-Gar spring seems pretty robust.  If you want an even stiffer spring, we do sell Wolff magazine springs that are 10% stronger than the originals.  Please click here if you are interested.

The top mag is the Wolff +10% model. The middle is an OEM Mec-Gar without the floor plate and follower and the bottom is one with the floor plate and follower. Note, the Wolff Spring does require bending at the top to properly hold the follower.

After the mag lips are tuned, each magazine is tested in both my 10mm RIA 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC and 10mm 56862 Tac Ultra pistols to ensure proper fit and feeding.  You may find some final tuning is needed on your particular pistol and it is easy to do – please click here for more information.

This is my 56862. You can see one of the new mags peaking out of the bottom of the big flared mag well.
Here, one of the new magazines is in my 52009 that is locked open.

One small detail, since these were originally for .45 rounds, the mag round indicator counts doesn’t match since you will be loading either 10mm or .40 – usually you have one or two more rounds of 10mm/.40 compared to what the round count hole label says.

These holes were calibrated to .45 ACP rounds so the slightly thinner 10mm / .40 rounds don’t quite match up. You can fit 16 rounds of 10mm in here – not just 14.
Ok, this is pretty interesting. The magazine that Rock Island ships with the high cap pistols is made by Act-Mag and is in the middle. Notice that the original Mec-Gar P16 is a bit shorter and the P14 is just a tad taller. For anyone who found our earlier mags to be a tight fit, I’d bet the new ones will fit a lot better.

Conclusion

I feel like we’ve come a long way since the first P16 conversions. This mag is solid and comes in at a far more affordable price point than the P16s that needed the Dawson base plates also.

Click here to order if you are interested!


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Still Nuking Mosquitoes and Ticks With Talstar and The Ryobi Power Washer

A reader dropped me an email and asked if I am doing anything new this year for mosquitoes as he read my past posts. I’m still very happy with the effectiveness of the Talstar insecticide plus the combination of the Ryobi 120350 Power Washer and 10-gallon tank strapped to a dolly continues to work fantastic.

Here’s the full write up I did last year about the combination – click here.

I hope everyone has a great summer and be sure to nuke the bugs before they get to you 🙂


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


US Coast Guard Response Boat Medium (RB-M) 45754 Stationed In Saint Joseph, MI

We were walking on the south pier in Saint Joseph, MI, on a fine June evening enjoying the cool Lake Michigan air. Coming in from the lake was one of the US Coast Guard boats that are stationed here. As it came in I decided to snap a number of photos plus look up just what the boat was when I had an opportunity.

In doing some digging, the vessel was a Response Boat Medium (RB-M) and the hull number 45754. It was delivered to the Saint Joseph USCG station in May 2014.

The RB-M is a 45-foot versatile utility boat used for search and rescue, The USCG has the following to say about the design:

The 45-foot RB-M is being procured to replace the 41-foot
utility boat (UTB). It is an all-aluminum boat that has a wire-
less crew communication system and is powered by twin
diesel engines and water jet propulsion. Unlike the 41-foot
UTB, the RB-M has the ability to self-right if it should ever
capsize. This feature allows the RB-M to operate in higher
seas, ensuring the crew (and rescued survivors) comes
home safely. For example, RB-M’s survivability parameters
are 12-foot seas and 50 knots of wind, whereas the UTB’s
limits are 8-foot seas and 30 knots of wind. The RB-M has
a top speed in excess of 40 knots and cruises at 30 knots,
compared to the 41-foot UTB top speed of 26 knots. All 174
RB-Ms have been delivered.
(Click here for the USCG equipment guide PDF that I extracted the above info from)

So, it’s a pretty cool versatile boat. Here are the photos that I took:

We definitely appreciate the service the USCG Coasties provide the nation and our community. I thought it would be cool to share these photos in case others might like to see them.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


June 2021 Lest We Forget Event Was Held in Benton Harbor, MI

Lest We Forget is an organization dedicated to keeping the memories of what our military has done for us. The 2019 event was the last one for WWII, 2020 was cancelled due to COVID and 2021, this year’s event, remembered Korean War veterans. They have static displays, food, vehicles you can ride on and re-enactments.

We arrived a bit late on June 19th due to family commitments but I did have a chance to snap some photos of the various vehicles on display that including a M3 halftrack, a DUKW 6×6 amphibian, an M37 dodge and a M59 APC to name a few.

Here’s the slideshow:

If you ever get a chance to attend a Lest We Forget event, I highly recommend it. The atmosphere is family oriented and everyone there wants to share and have a good time.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Used DryLok To Stop Brick Spalling And Sealed a Chimney Cap

Our home was built in the early 1970s and someone decided to use same relatively soft red brick at the threshold of the door as the rest of house’s exterior walls. I noticed in the fall of 2020 it was really starting to spall – meaning the brick was starting to flake apart. This happens when water gets in, freezes, expands and causes parts of the brick to crack and split. The above photo gives you and idea of what it looked like.

I did what I normally do – I started reading about how to stop spalling brick. The consensus was that sealing the brick before spalling started was the best approach but you know what – that really didn’t help me much because I already had spalling going on but the core of the bricks was intact.

Let me tell you something – there are a ton of brands of masonry sealer and based on the forecast, my procrastination was forcing me to get something applied within three days of cold weather really setting in. This meant and I had to rush and get something on-hand at a local store.

The closest hardware store to me is Ace so I want to the section where they had masonry sealers and started googling and reading reviews of each one that they had in stock. Again, I was pressed for time so I had to move. What I wound up buying was UGL DryLok Floor and Wall Masonry Sealer.

This is what I bought.

I got home, read the instructions, cleaned the brick off, put down a piece of cardboard to catch the drips and applied it fairly thickly with a painbrush taking care to daub it into all of the corners. The stuff seriously reminded me of Elmer’s Glue but not such a bright white.

This is the second coat. I applied the first coat the day prior and I took care to make sure I worked the sealer into all of the cracks.
I literaly laid down on my side and worked the sealer into every crack – including where the masonry was gone. I did this for both the first and second coat.

I let it dry overnight and then applied the recommended second coat . After drying, the bricks had a “wet” look to them – they were slightly darker and shinier than before but they appeared sealed. So, I crossed my fingers and hoped it would at least make it through the winter and I would plan a new approach if it failed.

Okay, I am now writing this in June of 2021, about seven months later and the DryLok worked. Not one bit of new spalling and even more surprising, the sealer looks the same. I can’t say that I see any wear in teh shiny finish. I guess now I will just wait and see how long it holds up.

THis photo is from June 21, 2021. No new spalling and the sealer does not show any sign of wear. You can see that the wet look faded as the sealer dried but the bricks are still slightly darker and shinier than the uncoated bricks. All of the bricks in this photo were coated by the way both the top protruding threshold and all of the bricks underneath it.

I Was So Impressed I Used It On Our Chimney Cap

A project on my list for this June was to seal my poured concrete chimney cap. It was starting show some surface cracks and when I ran my hand across it, I could feel loose grains of sand. It definitely needed to be sealed.

Guess what I used? I bought a gallon of the DryLok to do the threshold and only used a tiny amount to do it. I went and got the gallon and used over half of it applying two decents coats to the chimney cap and flue covers. We’ll see how long it holds up but I suspect it will be a few years at least given the threshold.

You want to protect the integrity of your chimney cap as it prevents water from running down into your chimney and causing the bricks to crumble. We replaced the original cap with this new one about 3-5 years ago and the sealer I applied then was long gone. I honestly don’t recall what I used.
That crack is what got my butt in gear to get up and seal the cap. As with the threshold, I applied the recommended two coats and I do put it them on iberally. It was scorching hot up there so the sealer dried fast but I still waited until the next day to put on the second coat.
If I can take an easy path I will. I noticed the caps to the flues were starting to rust so I sealed them as well. I was there … I had the sealant … it just seemed a lot easier than going down to the shop, getting black Rustoleum, climbing back up, etc. We’ll see how it holds up – that is a pretty brutal surface when you think about it – full sun and heat in the summer and full sun and cold in the winter … time will tell.

In Summary

The UGL DryLok Floor and Wall Masonry Sealer did a great job stopping the spalling of our front door’s brick threshold and it made it through one winter. Given how it performed, I just used it to seal our chimney cap and we’ll see how long it lasts there as well.

I hope this helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


The M103 and M60 Tanks At The Dowagiac, Michigan, National Guard Armory – Cold War Armor

My wife and I like driving around and war memorials, VFW displays, and military tributes are always likely to cause us to stop, read and take pictures. Dowagiac, MI, is about 45 minutes from where we live and one fine summer day we decided to stop at the National Guard Armory there and take pictures.

It wasn’t until I was researching for this post that I found out that Dowagiac was the “Home of Armor” for the Michigan National Guard. From sometime in the 1940s until October 2006, the armor batallion was located there. Click here if you want to read more about the armory’s history.

Today, when you drive by the armory you will see two tanks and lets start with the M103 Heavy Tank stands at the corner West Prarie Ronde Street and Middle Crossing Road.

The M103

The 120mm Gun Combat Tank M103 began with the designator “T43” and was meant to counter Soviet armor at a distance. It suffered from an underpowered gasoline engine and then they moved to a diesel to try and improve matters. The M103 served with both the US Army and Marine Corps – 80 units with the Army and 220 with the Marines. They were in use from the late 1950s until 1963 when the Army started switching to the M60 Main Battle Tank and with the Marines until 1973. Wikipedia has a good history if you wish to read it – click here.

The following photo gallery lets you see some different angles of the M103 on display and you can see its current shape as well. The following is a gallery so if you click on a small photo to begin, a larger photo will pop up and then you can navigate through the larger photos:

The M60

The M103 at least sits by the corner displayed with a bit of aging pride. Behind a fence on the Middle Crossings Road side of the armory you can see an M60 sitting in the weeds sinking into the ground. I realize there is probably little budget or time to put much care into these tanks but it is a shame to see their current state at an actual armory no less.

The M60 was a second generation main battle tank that evolved from the M48. Over 15,000 of them were built by Chrysler. The first combat usage of a M60 was Israel in the 173 Yom Kippur war. The largest US deployment was in the 1991 Gulf War. The tanks were phased out from front line use after that and even retired from national guard use in 1997. The M60 is still in use by a number of militaries around the world. Wikipedia has a through write up on the history and evolution of the M60 and its various models – click here to access it.

Because the M60 was behind the fence at the armory, I was limited to the photo angles I could get. The following is a gallery also so click on a small photo and a large one will pop up:

In Summary

Dowagiac is a neat town to visit. They have some very good restaurants on their main street plus a number of memorials – we still need to stop and get photos of some of their others – I did do a post about their German trench mortar a few years back.

The history of armory was interesting to learn while researching for this post plus seeing the two tanks is always pretty neat.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


I Found Some Surprisingly Good Coated Carbide End Mills On Amazon

Hi folks, I’ve been doing plunge cuts on Mec-Gar magazine tubes to remove an indent they have to limit rounds. Mec-Gar magzines are high quality and the tubes are hardened high carbon steel. I dulled two uncoated carbide bits that I had bought from either MSC or McMaster before I decided I better try something else.

A quick safety note: For readers unfamiliar with machining, this is an end mill meant to be used in a millling machine in this case. Carbide is interesting in that it is very wear resistant but it is also very brittle. Because of this, the workpiece you are cutting must be very rigidly held in place or the vibrations will tear up the mill and potentially send pieces of carbide flying at you. So, #1 – wear safety glasses. #2 – only do this type of work with a mill. #3 – to be explicit, I would not recommend doing this in a drill press. End of safety brief .

I suspected part of my problem was the heat being generated and adding cutting fluid made for a messy clean up that took longer than I wanted. This made me start researching coated carbide end mills and they get pricey fast.

I decided to check out Amazon because it was a Friday night and I really needed to get some center cutting end mills in ASAP to keep producing magazines.

I ran across a listing a listing for “Speed Tiger ISE Carbide Square End Mills” and started reading. It has an Aluminum Titanium Boron Nitride (AlTiBn) coating that they claimed improved wear resistance and provided better heat resistance as well. Given the number of good reviews they had,I ordered in three to give them a try.

Well, guess what? I am still using my first end mill after 60+ plunge cuts into approximately 18 gauge hardened hgh carbon sheet metal with no lubricant. Make all the jokes you want about dry cutting but it is saving me a bunch of clean up time.

I plan to keep using the first bit and still have two in reserve. Given the very deceent price to performance ratio,I thought I would pass along the report. The following has links to a number of Speed Tiger’s products:

I hope this helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


When Strength and Quality Matter Most

%d bloggers like this: