Japanese Beetle's Have Invaded!

Japanese Beetle's Have Invaded!

Questions, Answers & Tips

My husband and I have had trouble with Japanese Beetles last year and want to know if there is a way to be rid of them for this year. Preferably without using chemicals. ~Cindy
Japanese Beetles are a tough one. There are traps you can buy, and products such as Neem sprays, and nematodes, which can be tricky to use. I've read time and again that chicken, hens and roosters are a huge benefit to a garden when it comes to slugs, Japanese beetles and these type of pests. If you can raise a few, give it a try! I would guess that the chemical solutions are pretty heavy duty and wouldn't use them either. I think I would also call your county extension agent, and check with local sources to see if anyone has had luck in your area as far as reducing them or controlling them in some way. Usually the local newspapers will have a garden writer that knows the area well, and you might try local garden centers.

This is the time of year (June/July) for them and they tend to like the thinner leaves, instead of the thicker, tougher foliage. They will seek out crepe myrtles, cherry and plum trees plus birches. The beetles are easy to spot because they are a metallic green with copper colored wings. They only live about 4-6 weeks, but can do a lot of damage in that time. We have a "wild" area that is moist and they have infested many of the bushes there. The leaves have a skeletonized look to them. Since the damage seems to be limited to that one area I have left them alone at this point.

~Brenda, Editor


I had trouble last year with these beetles also and did some research. Japanese beetles come from grub larvae. You have to apply Grub X on your lawn now (NJ). I was digging in my soil this weekend and noticed some larvae. When I applied the Grub X last year, I had almost no beetles come summer. Usually, my pool is filled with them. Also, the larvae eat your grass roots and destroy your lawn, so put the stuff down now. ~Nancy

I am responding to the question of Japanese Beetles. Your response about the beetle traps is doublesided. The trap will trap the beetles. Trouble is, they actually attract more beetles to your yard! Maybe you could give out beetle traps to your neighbors ;-) If the beetles are a recurrent problem then you may want to treat your soil to kill the grubs. Your suggestion about consulting your local extension agent is the best. ~Nadine

I found that putting 'cheap' dishwashing liquid soap in a sprayer attached to a hose and sprayed on plants eliminated the Japanese beetles on my ferns. You may have to do this a couple times if you have a rainy season. It worked for me! ~Kathleen

I read the note from Cindy about her Japanese Beetles. Would you believe that brought back one of my most fond memories of childhood? Bizarre, huh? After school let out for the summer, I would spend the entire holiday up at my grandparents' place in Central Virginia. My grandmother had the green thumb, and my grandfather would do what he could to help maintain it. One of our daily afternoon rituals was to get an old coffee can of old motor oil out of the garage and tour grandma's rose bushes. The beetles LOVE rose bushes. My job (starting at about age 6 or 7) was to point out the beetles, so he could pluck them off and drop them in the can of oil. Seriously! I'd get so excited to see one, point at it & say "There it is! There it is!", and he'd calmly say "Well, don't poke its eye out!", then drop it to its doom in the oil. I know...weird, right? It wasn't the activity itself that was such a great memory, but the time spent with my granddad, one on one, on quiet summer afternoons in the country. And we certainly didn't use chemicals or pesticides...at least not on the roses! ~Liz

We have a large number of free range chickens. None of them will touch a Japanese beetle. After all our research, we have found the best advice for beetles invading our home was to wash the house with detergent because they follow a chemical trail like ants. We also know you have to look for places that need sealing. ~Pam

My remedy for Japanese Beetles is hand picking and drop in a container with water and a squirt of dish detergent (I use Dawn). Does the job. ~Mary

Neem is a proven repellent for Japanese Beetles on those special plants. Also I have been doing some initial trials on them and found an organic product line from CA called Pharm Solutions. I tested their VeggiePharm and it killed the adults dead... fast. I will be doing more testing just because I am curious. (Let us know how it goes!) ~Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Ornamental Entomologist and Buglady Consulting

This may not be a good solution for killing Japanese Beetles, but my grandfather would pour about a half cup of kerosene into a quart mason jar/mayonnaise jar and he would knock the beetles off the Rose bushes into the jar. When I got a little older, I took up the beetles into the jar routine. If you have kids around it probably isn't safe, but it sure kills them almost instantly. ~Anita


The bait trap we bought for Japanese beetles is called a "Catch Can" and at Gardener's Supply Company, it is $24.95 with Bait #05-268. I looked around locally and found it at a local garden center for $20.99. It has a sturdy construction and guarantees years of service. Bait needs to be replaced each season. http://www.oldfashionedliving.com/gardensupply.html

We put the hanger for the beetles about 30 foot away from the garden, it could be more if we weren't at the property line with it. Suprisingly enough with all those beetles caught in the trap, we haven't had more than 12 hand picked, off the pole beans, haven't seen any on the rest of the veggies, and mostly that is in the evening picking. Hardly any during the early morning time. ~Ginny Mohney


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