It just isn’t summer in the northeast without Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) tearing through raspberries, roses, and other plants gardeners tend to hold near and dear.
Their voracious appetite is matched in intensity with an innate difficulty to exterminate, or even to repel. They’re a problem for gardeners of every level, and their constant westward expansion means the Japanese beetle won’t be a predominantly East Coast problem for long.
Japanese beetle eating its fill of a rose leaf.
When it comes to pest problems, a little knowledge goes a long way. After all, let us not forget the immortal wisdom of G.I. Joe who said, “Knowing is half the battle.”
This applies quite well to Japanese beetles. There are no guaranteed ways to eliminate these insects from your garden, but we can take steps to minimize their presence and strive to eliminate it when the beetles show their coppery butts on your rose buds.
We’ll take a brief look at where Japanese beetles originated in the United States, gain an understanding of their lifecycle, and go over how to prevent and eliminate these pests from your garden.
- Origin and Arrival
- Lifecycle and Habitat
- Eating Habits
Strap yourself in because we’re goin’ to beetle town. First stop: Riverton, New Jersey.
- A New Arrival
- Lifecycle and Habitat
- The Gluttonous Grub
- An Ounce of Prevention
- A Pound of Cure
- Is Your Skin Itchy Yet, Talking About These Bugs?
- Japanese Beetles: How to Get Rid Of Adults and Larvae
- Identifying Japanese Beetles
- The Best Way to Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles
- 6 Tips to Control Japanese Beetles
- Ways to Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles’ Larvae
- A Comparative Review of Methods How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles and Larvae
- TOP-8 Japanese Beetle Killers
- How to Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles Naturally
- How to kill Japanese Beetles Fast with Powerful Insecticides
- Japanese Beetle Spray With Carbaryl – Sevin Concentrate Bug Killer
- Japanese Beetle Spray with Imidacloprid Ortho MAX Tree and Shrub Insect Control Ready-to-Spray
- Bonide 786 Eight Insect Control Garden Dust Pest Control, 3-Pounds
- Bayer Advanced 700740S 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus, Granules & Bayer Grub Control, Spray
- TOP-8 best Japanese Killers Comparative Chart
- Insecticide Use Rules
- 9 Tips on How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Naturally
- Hand Pick Them Off
- Neem Oil
- Bring on the Guinea Fowl
- Cover Your Rows
- Don’t Use Traps
- Don’t Water Your Lawn
- Hello. I have four knockout rose bushes that are dying in the front of my…
- Sawfly larvae
- Sawfly damage
- Sawfly control
- Controlling the Japanese Beetles on Roses
- 8 Tips For Preventing Japanese Beetles From Overtaking A Garden
- Baby Powder as a Method of Japanese Beetle Control
- Other Remedies for Japanese Beetles
- Protect Your Garden
A New Arrival
Japanese beetles made their first known appearance in the United States in 1916, in Riverton, New Jersey. However, unlike the bowl-cut Beatles who gave us songs like “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Yesterday,” these beetles were an unwelcome addition to the area.
The Japanese beetle likely arrived in the US in the soil of potted Japanese iris.
The best guess for their actual origin in the United States was that they were hiding inside of a shipment of Japanese iris. A few years under the radar is all it took to establish a breeding population. Authorities attempted to control and eradicate these pests, but by 1920, the efforts and associated programs were given up.
Agreeable weather, no natural predators, and a limitless supply of irrigated turf provided a haven for this invader. The combination of these three factors explains how they’ve established such a firm foothold in the US, and why they cost half a billion dollars a year in prevention and management programs.
Lifecycle and Habitat
For a creature that spends the vast majority of its life underground, these pests cause a tremendous amount of damage. That’s because every stage of their life curses them with bottomless hunger.
The lifecycle of a bark beetle, very similar to what a Japanese beetle undergoes.
Let’s start by looking at the most commonly sighted phase of their lifcycle: the adult beetle.
Admittedly an attractive insect, Japanese beetles reach a length of up to one-half inch and can easily fit on the top of a penny. They have a coppery-bronze set of wings, a brilliant emerald green head, and a nice smattering of whites and blacks to round out their color palette.
We often spot these guys on some of our favorite summertime plants, like roses and raspberries. It’s uncommon to spot a single beetle because mature specimens emit a sort of attractant pheromone when they’re eating. When others of their ilk catch wind of it, they flock to the source and proceed to feast.
The tattered remains of rose petals.
The individual beetle does a relatively minor amount of damage, but when one eats, others will inevitably be drawn to the pheromones. It is in these mass quantities that the real damage is done.
The adult phase of the lifecycle lasts for about thirty to fifty days. That’s why there’s often a massive swarm of the things where there was nothing only a few days earlier. They need to eat, reproduce, eat, and reproduce again, as many times as possible, in that brief window.
The beetles crowd together and cause damage in numbers.
Northern states on the East Coast including New York and Massachusetts tend to see this sudden surge begin in June or early July. More southern states like Georgia and North Carolina will spot the beetles amassing as early as mid-May.
The females will fly to an area of turf grass and lay an average of three eggs a few inches into the soil. They can repeat this process every twenty-four hours. Once the eggs are laid and are given time to hatch, the next lifecycle begins.
The Gluttonous Grub
You know those big dead patches in your lawn, the ones where the grass is browning out? If you live on the Eastern Seaboard and you were to cut a square-foot section in the turf and roll it back like a carpet, chances are you’d find an assortment of grubs in the top few inches of the soil. And a good number of these are the grubs of the Japanese beetle.
The grub lifecycle lasts for about ten months. These greedy guys will munch on grass roots and tend to cause those big brown patches in your yard. They thrive in well-watered terrain but will dig themselves deeper into the soil during times of drought.
The grub phase as seen in its incubatory soil.
During the winter months, the grubs will typically dig themselves into the soil to wait out the cold. They’ve been observed to dig themselves as far as a foot into the soil during these cold spells. They don’t do much damage throughout this brief stage, but just you wait until spring.
When the weather warms up, these babies will perk right up and burrow their way to the roots of your lawn, munching away. They cause no small amount of damage to turf at this point, as they prepare themselves for their change to adulthood. They’ll emerge from the soil and start the lifecycle all over again.
“Waiter? Table for Fifty, Please.”
I’ve got some in-laws I don’t care for (who doesn’t?). They’ve got bland taste buds; boiled potatoes and cabbage with a sprinkle of pepper is the limit for what they will tolerate. So, my trick for minimizing their dinner visits is to revisit my favorite Central American recipes and cook up a spicy meal so hot it’ll make their heads spin.
Someone pass the salt?
I kid, I kid. Hopefully that got a bit of a groan or maybe even a chuckle out of you. But the premise is solid for how to deter damage from Japanese beetles: don’t plant what they want to eat.
There we go! Problem solved, right? Wrong! The situation with these guys is that they have an incredibly diverse selection of plants they want to eat.
Seriously, it’s a list of over two hundred different species, and most of the items on their menu are our favorite and most valued plantings. Below you’ll see a generalized list of plants Japanese beetles prefer paired with an offering of plants they tend to stay away from.
Safe to Plant:
- Box Elder
- Burning Bush
- Red Oak
- Red Maple
On the Dinner Menu:
- Crape Myrtle
- Japanese Maple
- Norway Maple
- Pin Oak
In my experience, I’ve seen more damage done to roses, raspberries, and fruit-producing trees than anything else.
The individual beetle doesn’t consume a gross amount of vegetation. It is when groups of the things start to pile up on those delicate rosebuds and delicious raspberries that the real damage is done.
The beetles will eat only the leafy green bits and leave the leaves skeletonized.
Skeletonized leaf after feeding.
As for turf, the grubs will tear apart the roots of your lawn and leave vast swaths of brown and dead turf to repair. Every stage in the lives of these insects is destructive.
So, some of our favorite and most useful plants are also highly favored by Japanese beetles – sounds like they’ve got good taste. But what can we do to limit their damage, short of altering the entire landscape?
An Ounce of Prevention
Fortunately, there are a few easy, low-impact methods we can employ to protect our gardens. In addition to selecting plants that are generally avoided by the bugs, we can help to make our lawns unappealing and inhospitable during the grub stage of their lifecycle.
Female beetles are drawn to well-irrigated turf to deposit their eggs, and the grubs happily chew up the roots of our nice, green lawns. As touched upon earlier, America’s obsession with a vibrantly green and thick lawn has provided the perfect nursery for these invasive pests.
One of the most effective methods for limiting future generations of the pest is to limit how often you water your lawn.
When amassed and in the morning hours, simply pick up or shake the beetles into soapy water.
This is also advantageous in other ways. Many areas in California and Washington state are promoting the slogan “Brown is the new green” in an effort to minimize water use in drought-stricken areas. By allowing our lawns to go dry we are minimizing our water usage, and making the landscape far less attractive to Japanese beetles.
For those who simply don’t want to let their lawn go dry, consider letting it go high instead! Mike McGrath of the You Bet Your Garden radio show suggests that allowing your lawn to stay at a height of about three inches, coupled with no watering during dry spells, can prevent the female beetles from laying eggs in the soil.
Take care, and be aware that there’s a difference between letting your yard go dead, and minimizing your water use. We have an excellent feature on xeriscaping that explains this process very well.
A Pound of Cure
Because of the mobility of these pests, it’s difficult to truly control them without applying nasty chemicals. The homeowner needs to spray everything the beetles eat, or apply granules to the lawn over large areas including trees, roses and other types of perennials, and fruits and vegetables.
Even the pheromone traps often seen for sale tend to do more harm than good, by attracting the beetles to a new area. On top of that, the chemicals tend to be indiscriminate in their range of damage, doing harm to beneficial pollinators like honeybees and the friendly aphid-destroying ladybug.
The most effective method of taking care of an insect infestation is to mix up a batch of homemade insecticidal soap. A ratio of two tablespoons of dish soap to one gallon of water yields good results.
In the morning, while the insects are still languid and relatively inactive, manually pick them up and drop them into the water. If you don’t want to touch them, you can tap the leaves of whatever plants they’re hanging out on and watch them drop into the water instead. This can be a time consuming practice but it yields the best results.
The beetle is just one of several factors adversely affecting this plant.
Consider that a few common backyard species will feed on the beetles, including European starlings, spiders, and assassin bugs. They don’t seem to typically do enough to significantly help the problem, but they have been observed eating the beetles.
My uncle has chickens and he tells me that he lets them run wild through the raspberries. They absolutely love eating the Japanese beetles. Must be a chicken delicacy.
Another great option for taking care of Japanese beetles (and an assortment of other pests like sawfly caterpillars and grasshoppers) is introducing a parasitic fly or wasp.
The Spring Tiphia is a Chinese native introduced to the United States to combat Japanese beetles. The wasp will hunt down and lay its eggs on the grub. The wasp eggs hatch and eat the grub from the inside out.
Tachinid flies have a similar habit, except that they find adult Japanese beetles and lay their eggs on the insect itself. There are a variety of other methods by which these flies deposit their eggs, but the important part is that they kill these pests.
The Spring Tiphia is attracted to flowers such as forsythia and peonies, while the Tachinid fly is attracted to large, flat masses of florets like you’d see on Queen Anne’s lace, cilantro, buckwheat, and clover. Establishing these plants is an excellent method for attracting beneficial insects to your garden and your yard.
A foolish Japanese beetle on a dahlia bud, one of the plants known to attract beneficial parasitic insects.
Ever see a skunk nosing its way through your yard? It might be making a mess, but it’s also eating up those nasty grubs. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a small hit on your turf in exchange for a reduced beetle population.
Moles are similarly inclined to devour grubs, but will also leave tell-tale trails around your yard. Fortunately, the moles don’t bother plants and are single-mindedly hunting for grubs and the like. If you allow the moles to eat their fill of grubs until it’s no longer a problem, you can then easily repel them from your lawn.
Mix a solution of about 1/2 cup castor oil and 1/2 cup concentrated dish soap. Mix about 3 tablespoons of the mixture into one gallon of water in a bucket or watering can. Sprinkle the areas of your yard where you don’t want moles to go, and they should be readily deterred. Easy!
There are a few additional biological methods to employ when combating grubs: milky spore disease, and beneficial nematodes.
Applied as a dust to your lawn, milky spore is an ingested bacteria that only damages Japanese beetle grubs and larvae. It contains a bacteria that will eventually kill the grubs, then be dispersed back into the soil. It’s a highly-focused bacteria that is safe to use around animals, children, well water, and pretty much anything except Japanese beetle larvae.
St. Gabriel Organics Milky Spore Grub Control Mix, available on Amazon
In the case of nematodes, not all types are destructive. Some of them can help improve soil quality and keep grubs down to a manageable level, Japanese beetles and other species. They’re also readily available for purchase on Amazon. For best results, add these babies to water and spray into the soil.
Dr. Pye’s Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes
You can read all about controlling pests with beneficial nematodes here.
As a last resort, we can use various chemicals to control this pest. Always make sure to wear proper safety attire when using any chemical control. And most importantly, READ THE LABEL to ensure you are using the product as directed.
Bayer Advanced 24-Oz. Liquid Neem Oil, available from ACE Hardware
Neem oil and horticultural oils are effective when dealing with adult insects. Many act as an obstruction to feeding so that insects can’t eat, or have difficult eating the treated plant. They are also less damaging to the environment than many other solutions.
Bayer Advanced 24-Oz. Liquid Neem Oil Concentrate, available from ACE Hardware
Although these products are usually available in a pre-mixed solution, you can also buy a concentrate that you add to water and apply with your own sprayer.
Home Plus 48-Oz. Single Action Hand Pump Sprayer, available from ACE Hardware
With something like neem oil, regular applications are more effective. Buying the Neem concentrate or the horticultural oil concentrate and a handheld sprayer is usually the best route to take, in terms of future cost savings.
Bonide All Seasons 1-Qt. Horticultural Oil Concentrate, available form ACE Hardware
There are also several grub control granular applications you can apply to your lawn. Bayer makes a popular product that is available from ACE Hardware. But be sure to rely on chemicals as a last resort. Before you use it, check your lawn to see if grub control is even needed.
Bayer Advanced Lawn Season-Long Grub Control
With a good soil knife or a spade, you are going to inspect the ground beneath your lawn.
Find a section of the lawn where you can remove a square-foot piece of turf. Sift through the soil and see if you find any grubs. If you find less than six grubs per square foot, there is no need to chemically treat the soil. More than six, and you’ve got grounds for using granules.
Read our tips for repairing dead patches in your lawn, and our feature on maintaining a healthy lawn if you have that rolling green carpet already and want to keep it going strong!
Retailers also sell those Japanese beetle traps designed to attract the bugs and catch them in a nice bag. As we now know, the beetles are attracted to the pheromone inside of this trap and will quickly swarm to the source point, but not necessarily the trap itself. Add to this a range of about one mile traveled per beetle and you’ve got a recipe for an infestation.
The only place to use these traps is in rural areas, and only when you can place them about a quarter mile away from your garden.
Is Your Skin Itchy Yet, Talking About These Bugs?
I’m as soft-hearted as they come, and have a difficult time killing even problem insects. I usually make it through a few dozen Japanese beetles before deciding I’ve killed enough and will let nature take its course. This mindset isn’t for everyone, but it’s good to keep your measure of acceptable loss in mind.
These bugs can cause a ton of damage and should be outright banned from gardens… but they aren’t. Like it or not, they’re here to stay.
We can do our best to minimize the damage they cause and prevent their populations from growing in the first place. But if there’s one thing gardeners know, it’s that we’re all part of the same garden.
Our efforts at cleaning house may be an exercise in frustration, but it’s also an opportunity to make peace with what is out of our control – even those pesky Japanese beetles have a place in the story.
Have any custom tricks for getting rid of Japanese beetles? Maybe you’ve got a story to share about losing all of your delicious plums! Tell us about it in the comments – we’d love to read all about it! And for more on ridding your garden of common pests, be sure to check out more of our articles on the topic.
Product photos via St. Gabriel Organics, Orcon, and ACE Hardware. Uncredited photos: .
About Matt Suwak
Matt Suwak was reared by the bear and the bobcat and the coyote of rural Pennsylvania. This upbringing keeps him permanently affixed to the outdoors where most of his personal time is invested in gardening, bird watching, and hiking. He presently resides in Philadelphia and works under the sun as a landscaper and gardener, and by moonlight as a writer. An incessant questioning of “Why?” affords him countless opportunities to ponder the (in)significance of the great and the small. He considers folksy adages priceless treasures and is fueled almost entirely by beer and hot sauce.
Japanese Beetles: How to Get Rid Of Adults and Larvae
Japanese beetles were discovered in the USA a century ago and their name is not in vain as they were brought all the way from Japan to New Jersey and spread quickly to the East. Today it is a well-known pest. Adult beetles consume leaves and fruits of hundreds of various trees, shrubs, vegetable and field crops, leaving only leaf skeletons and large holes. In summer, Japanese beetle females lay eggs from which larvae hatch and cause equally destructive harm. They feed on the roots of grass, corn, beans, tomatoes and strawberries, drying whole areas of lawns and killing small plants. Below, we will tell you how to get rid of Japanese beetles, which treatments exist and will list the top eight best killers ranging from 100% organic safe diatomaceous earth, nematodes, milky spores and pheromone trap to powerful insecticides for killing adults and larvae.
Identifying Japanese Beetles
The larvae of Japanese beetles can reach one inch in length and can be detected rolled in a C-shape underneath the upper layer of the soil. Their distinctive feature in terms of appearance is a characteristic V-shaped hair on their hind ends. If there are bronzed or dry grass areas on your lawn, they are a clear indicator of having these pests there. In this case, remove the upper soil layer and look for larvae matching the above description. Skunk and raccoon activity is yet another sign of soil contamination. These insects love to feast on larvae, so they find them and dig the soil there.
The soil requires treatment when more than five insects are found in an area of 8 x 8 inches. Because of damaged roots, grass and small plants do not get enough water and dry out, but well-irrigated soil can withstand more than seven or even ten larvae. The length of adult beetles does not exceed half an inch, their trunk is green, and the wings are bronze-colored. They can have a few white hair strands. Adult Japanese beetles emerge from soil in early July and their activity peaks for a maximum of two months, after which they gradually die one after another. During this time, one female lays up to 60 eggs, in other words, one beetle can produce a whole generation of larvae capable of ruining your lawn. She buries underground to a depth of two inches and lays eggs there. Hatched larvae grow rapidly and reach their maximum size by the end of September. As soon as the air temperature drops below 60ºF, the larvae go deeper into the soil and rise upward in May.
In July, adult Japanese beetles can be found in vines, leaves of lime, birch, maple, cherry, raspberry, rose bush and other ornamental plants. They prefer to eat the outer side of leaves, especially those that are in the sun. Keep in mind that those Japanese beetles, which have already settled on your lawn, attract their kin there. This happens in two ways. First, the leaves damaged by these pests emit a specific smell that attracts additional insects. Second, adult beetles emit pheromone, which helps females and males find each other. And this, too, attracts new insects.
The Best Way to Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles
When deciding on insecticides, consider that adult Japanese beetles are capable of covering long distances in search of food. That is why if there are many beetles on the ground, it does not necessarily mean that the soil is infected with their larvae. Since getting rid of adult beetles and larvae implies various treatments, it is important not to confuse these two problems. Killing adult Japanese beetles is not an easy task as insecticides merely help to minimize the damage. At the same time, you will have to apply treatment every three-four days as new beetles will feed on the leaves and lay eggs in the soil can arrive.
There are various chemicals to be applied on the leaves. Quick elimination of the insects can be achieved with products containing carbaryl, acephate, pyrethrins, and pyrethroids. The latter include cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, lambda cyhalothrin, esfenvalerate and permethrin. These substances should be applied from mid-August to the end of October or from mid-March to the end of May. After application, residual effects last for a fortnight, so several repeat uses are required.
Imidacloprid is applied on the soil around the plant and it kills the insect while it consumes leaves. Its main drawback is its restricted effect. If a Japanese beetle eats rose petals instead of shrub leaves, the chemical will be ineffective. Moreover, if you apply imidacloprid on a linden or any other tree where there are bees and other useful insects, damage can be done to them as well. The products containing imidacloprid, thiamethoxam or clothianidin as active ingredients have preventive action. They must be applied in the first two weeks of July to yield the best results. Another preventive control product, chlorantraniliprole, must be applied from May to early June.
6 Tips to Control Japanese Beetles
- If we are speaking about a small lot, physical removal of an insect can provide good results. Drop the beetles from the leaves into a jug of soapy water and you will get rid of not only these particular bugs, but also those that were supposed to fly to this place, attracted by the smell of pheromone. Small, but especially valuable plants can be protected with the help of row covers.
- Damaged and ill trees and plants, as well as prematurely ripe fruit, are especially attractive for Japanese beetles. Make sure you take care of such plants, remove overripe fruit from trees and the ground so that the beetles do not fly once they feel their smell.
- Install traps. You can do them yourself by installing a soapy water jug in the garden or buy one in a store. Japanese beetle traps are available with two baits: a flower attractant or a sex pheromone. Since these insects spend almost all their time looking either for food or for a partner, these baits work well. They have a grave disadvantage: pheromones attract beetles from other neighborhoods. For this reason, the experts from the University of Illinois Extension do not recommend using traps. Or, they say, you should at least keep them a quarter of a mile away from plants preferred by the beetles. Research shows that “If you do decide to use a trap, be prepared to change it very often. Commercial trap bags hold only about 4,000 beetles.”
- Neem oil can be an alternative to chemicals as it contains active ingredients that mimic the action of natural insect hormones. Real hormones are blocked, the beetle cannot eat and fly and it dies gradually regardless of the oil concentration as even a small dose is effective. It’s essential that the treatment does not act on useful insects. Don’t expect quick results; time must pass before you see any effect. Nevertheless, not all users agree. One of the gardeners commented: “I have just started to use neem oil for control of an invasion of Japanese beetles on my roses. I understand that it may take some time but it does not stop them from devouring the leaves in the meantime. I am disappointed.”
- Pour diatomaceous earth around the plants popular with the beetles. This natural insecticide will dehydrate the insects causing the beetles to die.
- Install bird feeders. Once they fly to your lot, they will find and kill beetles. Frogs are other effective insect hunters. They can be bought in an animal store and housed in your garden.
Ways to Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles’ Larvae
Larvicides must only be applied in case of high soil contamination. Once you make this decision, apply insecticides only from mid-July to the end of September. Regular insecticides, such as imidacloprid, merely kill larvae, while others, such as halofenozide and Acelepryn, keep useful insects in the soil. Vera Krischik and Doree Maser of the University of Minnesota Extension consider granules to be the best form of Japanese beetle insecticides.
Many insecticides are on sale, but their action varies and depends on which active ingredients they contain. Carbaryl solves the problem quickly, but it is highly toxic for bees and earthworms that are useful for your garden. Trichlorfon acts quickly and is used as an emergency measure if you discover damage in the middle of summer. Remember that this ingredient is more toxic and is banned for use on school grounds in some states. Products containing Imidacloprid are least toxic for humans, pets and fish, but they act preventively. They are to be applied from July to early September. Preventive measures imply using another substance, halofenzide. It imitates the insects’ hormonal action and is best used when beetles lay eggs. Chlorantraniliprole is a more environment-friendly chemical, popular among professional exterminators. Golf courses are treated with products containing chlorpyrifos.
If you don’t want to do harm to your soil with chemicals, opt for natural ingredients, the most popular of which are Bacillus popilliae (milky spore) and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (nematodes). Milky spores are natural bacteria bred especially against Japanese beetles. They act by contaminating their larvae. It’s best to use this treatment if you have many larvae on your lot as the rate of infection will then intensify. The scientists evaluate the product’s effectiveness in different ways. For instance, Vera Krischik and Doree Maser, University of Minnesota Extension, claim that “In trials in Ohio, milky spore disease (Bacillus popillae) has not been as successful in killing Japanese beetles’ grubs as was reported in the 1960s.”
Nematodes Heterorhabditis bacteriophora are another treatment. They are worms hunting the larvae and contaminating them with bacteria that spread quickly in their victim. Products containing Steinnernema are sold, but studies show they are less effective and active than Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes.
A Comparative Review of Methods How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles and Larvae
|Diatomaceous Earth||Adult Japanese Beetle||Natural, absolutely safe for humans and pets (is edible), inexpensive and kills beetles.||The substance must remain dry. Even dew makes the dust lose its effectiveness.||10|
|Traps||Adult Japanese Beetle||Allows estimating beetle invasion scale, reduces beetle population quickly, and is safe for humans and environment.||New beetles are attracted by pheromone; regular removal of dead bugs is required. The problem is partly solved.||8|
|Curative Chemicals||Larvae (Carbaryl, Trichlorfon);
Adult Japanese Beetle (Carbaryl, Cyfluthrin, Lambda-Cyhalothrin)
|Quick elimination of larvae and adult beetles.||Is the least safe method, and trichlorfon is banned in certain states; carbaryl is toxic for useful insects and bees, trichlorfon and carbaryl kill at least 77% of larvae.||9|
|Preventive Chemicals||Larvae, Adult Japanese Beetle (Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Clothianidin)||Least damage to soil and plants, long-term effect and almost complete larvae removal (thiamethoxam is 99.3% effective). Must be applied when you are unfamiliar with the soil contamination level, is useless against existing larvae.||Must be applied when you are unfamiliar with the soil contamination level, is useless against existing larvae.||10|
|Milky Spore||Larvae||Is safe and natural and safe, the results do not depend on weather.||Best results are not achieved immediately.||10|
|Parasitic Nematodes||Larvae||Is safe and natural, the results are yielded within a day, does not act on useful insects.||Cannot be used in cold or dry weather, is incompatible with chemical pesticides.||9|
|Neem Oil||Larvae, Adult Japanese Beetle||Is safe and natural, useful for earthworms, destroys future larvae generations.||Has a sharp unpleasant odor, the effect is visible over some time.||7|
|Birds And Frogs||Larvae, Adult Japanese Beetle||A natural treatment: birds and frogs find and kill insects independently.||Feeders and bird houses require building and maintenance, birds can also cause damage.||6|
TOP-8 Japanese Beetle Killers
Here, we’ve gathered the eight most effective killers ranging from 0% organic diatomaceous earth, nematodes, milky spores and pheromone traps to powerful insecticides for killing adults and larvae. As usual, we will begin with organic and safe treatments.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth 10 lb. by Natures Wisdom (Two 5 lb. bags in a box)
This is a natural insecticide containing no impurities which dehydrates beetles by physically destroying the pests’ shell’s top layer. It is sold in the form of a white powder and contains fossilized remains of diatoms. Diatomaceous Earth can be poured both on the ground and plants. Its distinctive feature from other treatments is its ultimate environment-friendliness. Its high rating also favors it as over 70% of users gave it five stars.
It is completely safe for humans and pets and can be swallowed together with the food. Moreover, it can be added to dog or horse food as an effective parasite treatment. One of users shared their experience: “I take 1 or 2 tablespoons mixed with water every day. I suffer from severe sinus infections every year, in fact I usually have had 2 or 3 by this time of the year, however since I have been taking this product, I have not had any at all this year.” However, this substance can do harm to butterflies and bees. Remember to wear safety goggles and gloves when applying it. A variety of application methods exist for this dust: a dry method (through a flour sifter) or a wet one with a spray (mix four tablespoons of dust with a gallon of water in advance).
Price: Check the current price
Spectracide Bag-A-Bug Japanese Beetle Trap2 (56901)
This trap has been designed especially for Japanese beetles and is based on a natural sex attractant. It kills insects using their biological peculiarities. The manufacturer estimates that if you add a flower attractant, the trap will be able to attract twice or even five times as many Japanese beetles than if you use a flower attractant on its own.
Meanwhile the scientists warn that such devices can only worsen the problem, as beetles from other lots are also attracted and you really risk increasing the population of insects rather than reducing it.
However, users are satisfied with the offer as 67% awarded it with five stars. The baits can be re-used. One of the users is very excited: “I purchased extra bugs and I’m still catching bags and bags and bags of bugs. Omg.” Another user was also satisfied: “The Japanese beetles were coming to it the second I hung it up. My only complaint is that the small bag provided would fill completely up in about an hour. I finally added a large kitchen trash bag to it.”
Hang the trap outside. It covers up to 5,000 square feet. Spectracide Bag-A-Bug Japanese Beetle Trap2 use is restricted in certain states.
Price: Check the current price
How to Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles Naturally
Dr. Pye’s Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes
Steinernema Feltiae nematodes are safe, environmentally friendly and compatible with the useful insects. The effect can only be observed after a few months and it is acceptable for natural treatments.
Nematodes are classified in different types. Research shows that Heterorhabditis bacteriophora are more effective due to their active behavior as they hunt larvae and follow their trail. Steinnernema glaseri or S. Carpocapsae are the worst as they tend to wait for their victim in an ambush. Moreover, the former nematodes descend deeper into the ground than the latter.
If you compare descriptions, you will see the difference in area covered: Steinernema nematodes cover 200 square feet while Heterorhabditis bacteriophora cover up to 3,000 square feet. A cut-rate price is another advantage of the latter type.
Dr. Pye’s Scanmask’s competitive edge is that these nematodes kill more insect species, namely up to 230. users’ ratings also favor the product as 55% of the users approve of this treatment. One of the customers reviewed their experience: “This is the third year for our 3,000 SF organic garden and all of the crops are healthier than they have been in the past.”
Mix the nematodes with water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle before use.
Price: Dr. Pye’s: Check the current price
Price: Beneficial Nematodes Hb: Check the current price
ST GABRIEL ORGANICS 80080-2 Milky Spore Grub Control Mix Pest Controller
Milky Spore is the most expensive control product in this review, but it is good value for money. Just like nematodes, this is a natural and safe treatment that can be used in any weather or season, except for winter. The product has been especially designed to get rid of Japanese beetle larvae.
The treatment covers a much larger area than all of the previous products, 7,000 square feet. The manufacturer promises that the pests won’t return to the treated lot after use for 15 (!) years. Such prospects make the price justified.
Scientific research confirms this effect. Raymond A. Cloyd, University of Illinois Extension, observes that “In fact, studies have demonstrated that milky spore can last 15 to 20 years in the soil. It has been thought that milky spore may remain in the soil in a dormant but viable state until new infestations of grubs are present.”
Users are satisfied with the results, one of them commented: “I only did 1 application…& it worked!!! And it didn’t kill my wonderful earthworms! It has been about 5m. And still no grubs.”
Price: Check the current price
How to kill Japanese Beetles Fast with Powerful Insecticides
Japanese Beetle Spray With Carbaryl – Sevin Concentrate Bug Killer
It is perfect for large gardens as it kills over 100 insect species quickly on contact. The manufacturer distinguished Japanese beetles as a separate target. Its active ingredient, carbaryl, makes up for 22.5% of the total volume. Remember that this is a quite toxic substance that requires careful use. The positive side of this chemical is that it does not penetrate leaves’ tissue and it decomposes in the environment.
68% of consumers approve of the product, and one of them even gave the following feedback: “Sevin works really good. The beetles completely destroyed my ferns one season. Since I started spraying with Sevin, I have had no problem with the Beetles.”
The concentrate is to be mixed with water and sprayed on the surface of leaves, stems, branches, vegetables, flowers, fruits and decorative plants. Apply the product from the outside of the perimeter around the area where the beetles usually gather in large quantities.
Price: Check the current price
Japanese Beetle Spray with Imidacloprid Ortho MAX Tree and Shrub Insect Control Ready-to-Spray
This product contains the active ingredient imidacloprid and is usually used as a preventive measure for removing Japanese beetles. The manufacturer claims that Ortho MAX Tree and Shrub Insect Control ensures twelve months of plant protection, but one buyer claims that the product provides moderate results for only four months.
The spray is to be applied at the plant’s base, near its roots. Some inventive customers are even capable of reducing the negative impact of imidacloprid on bees by applying it with a paint brush rather than spraying it.
Half of the users approve of this treatment, but some are unsatisfied. A user complained that, “After shaking bottles vigorously when I started applying it, the insecticide was not coming out. I unscrewed them and to my surprise, the insecticide had turned gluey like an old latex paint clogging the tubes and hanging from it.”
Price: Check the current price
Bonide 786 Eight Insect Control Garden Dust Pest Control, 3-Pounds
This product has gained 100% user approval. Here is an experience of one of the users after using Bonide 786: “It kept the bugs away from our zucchini. First time we ever had zucchini to harvest. Now if there’s only something to keep opossums away!”
This long-action insecticide kills and repels 55 insect species, including Japanese beetles. Its active ingredient is 0.125% permethrin. Its action lasts for a month. The dust is green and is to be used on vegetables, flowers and rose bushes. It can be applied on vegetables and plants all the way until harvest.
Price: Check the current price
Bayer Advanced 700740S 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus, Granules & Bayer Grub Control, Spray
These two Bayer larvicides are available as granules and a spray with different active ingredients. Granules cover up to 5,000 square feet and its active ingredient, trichlorfon, acts faster but it is more toxic than all the previous ones, which is a great drawback. Moreover, certain states restrict its use and it cannot be applied on edible plants and vegetables in gardens. It can be applied on flowers as long as you avoid leaves and petals.
This is what you pay for an effective treatment. One of the users shared: “The 24-hour Bayer kills grubs and it is the best of the grub products that I’ve used. Best time to do this is end of August or early September.” In general, over 60% of the users gave this product the best rating although 11% believe that it does not deserve more than a single star. According to the description, this treatment also kills ants, scorpions and ticks.
The second product has an active ingredient 1.47% imidacloprid (Merit). It is sold as a spray. It is enough to treat the same area as covered by the previous product. The manufacturer promises that a single use will keep on killing larvae for the entire season. However, the product is less popular with the users than granules. The feedback varies, but satisfied users recommend using it twice (in fall and beginning of the summer) as a preventive measure.
Price: Bayer Granules Check the current price
Price: Bayer Spray Check the current price
TOP-8 best Japanese Killers Comparative Chart
|Product||Stage||Type and Peculiarities||Price|
|Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth 10 lb. by Natures Wisdom||Adult||Natural insecticide containing fossilized remains of diatoms.|
|Spectracide Bag-A-Bug Japanese Beetle Trap||Adult||Sex-attractant trap.|
|Sevin Concentrate Bug Killer, 16-Ounce||Adult||Chemical compound with an active ingredient carbaryl.|
|Ortho MAX Tree and Shrub Insect Control Ready-to-Spray 32-Ounce||Adult||Chemical compound with an active ingredient imidacloprid.|
|Bonide 786 Eight Insect Control Garden Dust Pest Control, 3-Pounds||Adult||Chemical compound with an active ingredient permethrin.|
|Bayer Advanced 700740S 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus, Granules||Larvae||Chemical compounds with corresponding active ingredients trichlorfon and imidacloprid.|
|ST GABRIEL ORGANICS 80080-2 Milky Spore Grub Control||Larvae||Natural killer, milky spore.|
|Dr. Pye’s Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes||Larvae||Natural killer, Steinernema Feltiae nematodes.|
Insecticide Use Rules
Irrigate the soil well before and after insecticide use to improve results. Do not use insecticides immediately before a downpour as it can reduce the substance’s concentration below effective level.
Always read the entire manual for each product as improper use can harm humans and pets as well as the environment. Do not throw waste spray mixtures or insecticides in the sewage. Use everything up in your own garden, according to the manual. Rinse the empty containers thoroughly and take them to a dump,
Buy as much insecticide as you will use. How to calculate the necessary amount? Each product has its own recommendations, but some general rules of thumb apply. If you’re using a spray, you will need half a gallon of an insecticide for every 250 square feet. If you are using dust, you will need 4 oz (1/4 lb) of the product for the same area.
9 Tips on How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Naturally
Japanese beetles… yuck.
They were accidentally introduced to the United States just earlier this century, and they have got to be one of the most obnoxious garden pests in existence.
Despite the fact that they’re actually only out and active munching on your plants 6-8 weeks out of the year, it seems like an eternity of fighting with them.
I dread Japanese beetles (like most gardeners) because they can completely destroy a harvest in no time flat. And it always seems like they are impossible to get rid of.
However, there are a few ways you can get rid of Japanese beetles so they’re not destroying your harvest. The best part, they are completely natural solutions! I don’t like to use synthetic chemicals at all, but especially on my food, so these methods will work without having to use stuff I don’t agree with.
Hand Pick Them Off
I know, I know. Why is it the most effective way to get rid of almost any garden pest is by picking the creepy crawlies off by hand? Well, unfortunately, that’s just the name of gardening. It is easiest to collect them in the morning time. They are most active, but they’re sluggish. Just pick them off and throw them in a bucket of water to drown.
Until I really started getting into gardening and natural remedies, I had never even heard of neem oil. But, it is fairly effective at helping you curb the population of Japanese beetles. You can make a spray and spray it on your plants. The adults ingest a chemical in the neem oil that they will pass on to their eggs. Essentially wiping out a new generation of beetles. You need to reapply after any rain.
Bring on the Guinea Fowl
We added 6 guinea fowl to our flock this year and I am so glad we did. They can be quite noisy, but thankfully I love their sounds. They also have beautiful feathers and will eat just about any bug in existence. They’re great pest control birds. They won’t tear up your garden and they’ll eat anything that bugs it.
If you have tall foliage, they may not be able to reach it. But, they can take care of the bottoms of all of your plants for you! I love having our guineas around (they eat ticks, too, which is awesome).
Cover Your Rows
Like I said earlier, Japanese beetles are only active from 6-8 weeks a year. So, you can just use floating row covers during that 6-8 week period to protect your plants beginning in mid-June.
Don’t Use Traps
You’ll find Japanese beetle traps are plentiful. However, I do not recommend using them. They attract the beetles to your area, which can make problems worse than they would have been. The store bought traps contain a pheromone to attract them. The homemade traps using fermented fruit cocktail also attract them. So, ditch the traps unless you want to attract even more bugs to your property….
Did you know Japanese beetles love geraniums? They do. However, they’ll eat the blossoms and fall down, dead. So, you can plant geraniums around the edges of your garden or near plants you don’t want them to ravage and it will help protect them a little bit!
Garlic and Japanese beetles (most pests, in fact) are not friends. You can plant garlic around your most precious plants and help repel them fairly effectively.
Japanese beetles start our as icky little grubs in the soil that can also wreak havoc on your garden and root systems. However, there is a way to combat them. While a lot of people recommend milky spore, it can take several years to become effective and it only controls the grubs of Japanese beetles. Beneficial nematodes, however will control all grubs and they do not take years to be effective.
Beneficial nematodes are applied as a live product so ensure that wherever you get them from has handled them carefully to ensure they are still alive. Dead nematodes won’t do anything for grub control.
Don’t Water Your Lawn
I’m not much of a yard/lawn person. What isn’t dedicated to livestock or garden space on our property is free to do as it pleases. I mow, of course, as I don’t want my property full of unwanted guests, but pretty lawns just aren’t my thing. I don’t water it, and I hope you don’t, either. But, if you do, stop. You’re just asking for those little grubs to come multiply under your grass and create a whole new generation of obnoxious, garden eating pests.
Japanese beetles are an obnoxious pest. Gardeners complain about them every year (for good reason). But, with a little diligence and planning you can keep them away from your garden.
Are you looking for a group of like-minded people that love the heritage way of life??
Me too. Join our facebook group, where we learn about growing a garden, cooking a meal, and living life like our grandparents did. You’ll be glad you did. Join The Self Sufficient Life group here.
Other Natural Garden Pest Control Posts:
How to Naturally Control Cabbage Worms
Natural Squash Bug Control
By George Weigel/The Patriot-News
Q: I have eight ‘Knock Out’ rose bushes and although they are not supposed to need to be sprayed, last year I had tons of Japanese beetles. Should I have? The nursery told me to spray them this year with neem oil. What do you think?
A: Japanese beetles are worse some years than others, but even in bad infestations, they won’t kill your ‘Knock Out’ roses. At worst (like last year), the feeding beetles will devour the flowers for 4 to 6 weeks in early summer, then when the adult beetles die off, the roses will start flowering again.
If you’re OK with that, do nothing. But if you don’t want a blooming interruption, neem oil is a plant-based, non-toxic spray (so far as we know) that repels beetles. Spraying with it weekly while the beetles are out should at least protect some of the flowers. That’s also be my first pick.
You can also aim to kill beetles that land on the roses by spraying with insecticides such as rotenone or carbaryl (Sevin.) Hand-picking into hot soapy water also is an option, but that can be a full-time job during infestations like we had last summer.
I personally don’t spray. I figure ‘Knock Outs’ give you so many flowers over so long a time that even losing 6 weeks in mid-season is a small price to pay.
Hello. I have four knockout rose bushes that are dying in the front of my…
We think that there is a combination of factors going on here.
First off, the area looks wet. How deep is your mulch? It should be no more than 2 inches or so, and definitely pulled back from the base of the plants. It should not touch the stems or crown. We would also recommend pulling it back from your home’s foundation too. You do not want to hold water against your foundation or you encourage future pest problems. Additionally, consider putting on an addition to your downspout to move the water further into your yard to slowly soak in the ground there.
You should check the root areas around your roses. Use a screwdriver to see where water is going and how wet it is. The soil should feel damp and cool but not wet. Adjust your watering system.
How about soil? If you have never tested it, you probably should. Here are details to do that: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/soils/soil-testing
When planted, was the garden new? How was the soil? Did you add any organic material like compost, aged manure or peat moss? If you have leaves in the fall, they make a great soil amendment- it helps to mow or crush them into smaller pieces first.
Finally, yes, the holes you saw were from a common pest here, the sawfly larvae, which look like tiny vibrant green caterpillars. The sevin would have worked on them.
We can’t tell, but it looks possible that they were planted too deeply or maybe just the mulch is too deep. You could try lifting them, improving the soil and replanting.
Rose sawfly,University of Delaware website
Edited from this article by Paul Pugliese, the agriculture & natural resources agent for the University of Georgia Extension office in Bartow County
A common rose problem this year is injury caused by rose sawflies, also known as rose slugs.
These insects do not discriminate on the types of roses on which they feed. Even ‘Knock Out’ roses make a tasty meal for these critters. Home gardeners often ask why ‘Knock Out’ roses are affected if they are supposed to be problem-free. These roses are bred for resistance to certain diseases, like black spot, but are still damaged by a variety of rose-loving insects.
Sawfly larvae look similar to the caterpillar stages of moths and butterflies, but have six or more pairs of prolegs behind the three pairs of true legs on their body. True caterpillars have fewer prolegs.
Caterpillars can also affect roses in the spring, but the damage they cause is slightly different. Caterpillars chew large holes in the leaves. Sawfly larvae chew a thin layer off the surface of leaves, leaving a skeletonized appearance.
If you hold up an affected leaf, you can see light shining through it. This unique “window pane” damage is a classic sign of sawflies. If you look carefully, you might even find a few, tiny, slug-like larvae on the leaves.
Some sawfly species can chew holes through the leaves as they get older, but usually you will see both types of damage on the same plant. Sawfly larvae eventually become small, non-stinging wasps that feed on other insects.
Begin scouting for sawflies in April or early May. Most sawfly species feed through June and will not return again until next spring. The larvae are often found on the undersides of the leaves, so inspect both sides of the leaves carefully. Keep in mind that the damage caused by sawflies is only to the leaves and mainly affects the appearance of the plant. Plants that are otherwise healthy can tolerate significant feeding damage and will usually put out new leaves by mid-summer.
Sawflies are best controlled when they’re young. You can simply pick them off by hand. A forceful spray of water from a hose can also knock off sawflies. Once dislodged, they cannot climb back onto the plant.
Synthetic insecticides that control sawflies include acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), malathion and various pyrethroids. Avoid using insecticidal dusts and spraying flowers, as many insecticides are highly toxic to bees and other pollinators.
Imidacloprid (Bayer Advanced), a systemic insecticide, can be applied to the soil around the roses in spring before feeding activity is noticed. However, once the damage is noticed, it is usually too late for a systemic product to be effective.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products are effective against leaf-feeding caterpillars, but not on sawflies.
For more answers to gardening questions, contact your local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or search UGA Extension publications at extension.uga.edu/publications.
Controlling the Japanese Beetles on Roses
Japanese beetles can do a great amount of damage to roses in a short amount of time and it easy to see why:
- Roses are the perfect party place for Japanese beetles. They love the scent of the flowers and will feed from top to bottom on the bush.
- The beetles produce pheromones which send out an attractive invitation for other beetles to join the party. This will challenge any control program that you may have.
- However you plan to go about getting rid of the Japanese beetle, it is suggested that you are diligent because they are so attracted to roses that they will be persistent.
Take preventative measures:
- Apply Milky Spore or a product to kill the grubs that will eventually turn into the Japanese beetle.
- Cut the colorful blooms and bring inside so you can enjoy them before the beetles do!
- Put up a bird feeder to attract birds to your yard, it is amazing how many insects the birds will eat.
- If you have plenty of time on your hands: you can pick them off or shake the insects from the branches into soapy water. This would have to be done daily.
- If you do not have problem using chemicals, spray an insecticide formulated for roses.
- Try an all-natural product like Bobbex Rose Deer and Insect Repellent.
- Spraying Neem oil has been found to be very effective for repelling Japanese beetles.
- Beware of Japanese beetle traps sold in garden centers. These will end up attracting the beetles to your yard and can cause an infestation.
- Talk to your neighbors and see if they will get on board with your program to get rid of the insects.
8 Tips For Preventing Japanese Beetles From Overtaking A Garden
Just when a garden looks good, ravenous Japanese beetles can promptly emerge in the heart of summer to devour the gardener’s favorite plants.
Discovered in the U.S in 1916, the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is widespread in many states east of the Mississippi River (except Florida). The insect has been established in Wisconsin since the 1990s.
Both adult and the grub stage of Japanese beetles cause serious damage to many landscape plants (more than 320 species) and turf grasses. The adult beetles skeletonize the leaves by chewing between the veins of the leaf tissues, devour the flowers (roses) and fruits (raspberries), and ultimately weaken the plant. Roses, birch, linden, grapes, raspberries, Norway maples, beans, apples, plum, crabapples, elms, beech, asparagus and rhubarb are some of its favorite delicacies.
Huge swarms of these beetles can emerge in Wisconsin, with peak activity for six to eight weeks. Adult beetles are active during the daytime and can fly an average of 1 to 2 miles. The female beetle lays eggs on the ground, which hatch in about two weeks into white grubs that damages turf grass roots.
An adult Japanese beetle is one-half inch long with a shiny metallic green body, coppery brown wings and a small tuft of white hairs surrounding its sides and posterior.
Control options for adult Japanese beetles and their grubs vary depending on the landscape plants. No spray treatment is needed for mature trees and shrubs because they have more tolerance to the feeding damage caused by the adults and will leaf out again the next year.
Here are several tips on how to minimize these pests:
- Small landscape plants such as roses, vegetable crops, strawberries and raspberries can be protected using floating row cover (white polyester spun bonded fabric) from afternoon until late evening hours. This fabric can be draped over the plant and pinned it to the ground. However, it should not be used on blooming vegetable crops like pumpkins and squash, as they require bees for pollination.
- Hand-picking and drowning the beetles in soapy water is an option if their population is low.
- For larger populations, standard contact insecticides can be used. Acelepryn (the active ingredient is chlorantraniliprole) is relatively new in the market and is known to provide good control on Japanese beetles as a foliar application; it is less toxic to bees compared to standard insecticides containing active ingredients like carbaryl, imidacloprid, permethrin, bifenthrin or malathion. Because these standard insecticides harm bees, they should be sprayed on small-size woody ornamentals and perennials only after they bloom. The product label includes instructions and a bee toxicity warning.
- On fruits and vegetables, standard organic products such as neem oil and spinosad can be sprayed after the blooming period. The product label has instructions and information on the post-harvest interval period and safety. For maximum control, these products should be sprayed during the afternoon when the beetles are in peak activity. The application should be repeated once every five to 10 days until mid-August.
- Japanese beetle traps should not be used for control, as they will attract thousands of beetles to a garden and can lead to more damage.
- Turf should not be irrigated during the beetle’s active season to help prevent the insect from laying eggs there.
- A preventive grub insecticide (with an active ingredient containing imidacloprid, halofenzide, clothianidin or thiamethoxam) can be scheduled for application to lawns before the end of July to prevent eggs from hatching. A granular formulation is best. Before application, flowering weeds such as clovers should be mowed in the lawn to prevent bee toxicity. Alternatively, acelepryn insecticide can be used as a preventive application. Immediately after application, the area should be watered with one-eighth inch to leach the product into the thatch layer.
- By mid-August, a curative insecticide (carbaryl, clothianidin or trichlorfon) can be used to control young grubs in a lawn. Flowering weeds should be mowed before application and the lawn should be lightly watered afterward.
University of Wisconsin-Extension Horticulture publishes detailed information about gardening and landscape plants, and local Extension offices can provide additional advice.
Vijai Pandian is a horticultural agent and educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension Brown County. This article is adapted from an item originally published by the Green Bay Press Gazette.
Some organic gardeners swear that baby powder is a great tool to get Japanese beetles pests out of your garden. Is this true? Find out if baby powder really help eliminate these pests from the garden?
Baby Powder as a Method of Japanese Beetle Control
Gardeners have tried all sorts of things to get rid of Japanese beetles, from avoiding planting the plants they like to eat (which is really difficult) to using bait sacks to trap the insects.
Some people say that baby powder and Japanese beetles don’t mix. The theory is that the powder, when sprinkled on the leaves of attractive plants, makes them less desirable. It probably affects the taste as well as the smell of the leaves.
If you want to try it, buy the cheapest baby powder you can find and sprinkle it liberally on the plants that are being damaged. You’ll probably want to limit this to your vegetable and flower gardens and let your trees go, since it’s not really possible (and would be quite expensive) to keep all the leaves on your maple tree covered with baby powder throughout the season. Trees won’t be killed by Japanese beetles, they’ll just have unattractive leaves for the season.
Remember to reapply the powder after rain, and use a drip irrigation system so that your sprinkler does not wash off the powder.
Other Remedies for Japanese Beetles
The baby powder and Japanese beetles combination may not work for you, or you might want to try other non-chemical means of getting rid of these pesky insects.
Many different remedies have been tried through the years, and here are some of the most popular:
- Garlic powder: Combine garlic powder with baby oil (about two tablespoons of powder per bottle of oil) and spray this on the leaves of your plants. Like the baby powder, this changes the way the plants smell and taste and makes them unpalatable to the bugs. You can also do this with dishwashing soap
- Apple cider vinegar: Mix up equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a bucket. Knock the beetles off the plants and into the bucket. The acid will kill them.
- Cayenne pepper: For the same reason as the garlic powder, you can mix cayenne pepper and/or hot pepper sauce with water and a little dishwashing soap to spray on plants.
- Companion plants: Try planting garlic or chives around the plants that Japanese beetles particularly go for. This may keep them away.
- Suck it up: If you need to remove beetles that have already taken up residence in your garden, suck them up with a handheld vacuum cleaner and dispose of them.
Protect Your Garden
Japanese beetles are a big problem in much of the United States, but with some advanced planning and a few good eradication strategies you can make sure your plants are protected.