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Getting Rid of Japanese Beetles

Category Beetles
Japanese beetle eating a leaf.
Japanese beetles can wreak havoc in your yard by devouring flowers and stripping the leaves off of plants. The grubs will also destroy grass by eating the roots. This is a guide about getting rid of Japanese beetles.
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Solutions

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August 7, 2017

Many parts of the USA have been invaded by the Japanese beetle. While they don't normally kill a tree, they do put it under a lot of stress, prevent fruit trees from bearing fruit, and they make the trees appear ugly.

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They eat the fleshy part of the tree leaf, the part that grows between the veins, which leaves the leaf looking like brown lace.

To spray all your trees, is very expensive, and the sprays often have to be reapplied after each rain. The estimate to spray our farm was over a thousand dollars. I talked to our local extension office, a professor at a local university, and to a bug specialist at a local hardware store. All told me the same thing, to get a trap and hang it away from the infected trees, so that the beetles leave the tree and go to the trap. The traps contain various chemicals, but the one I chose contains a hormone that attracts them, then a secondary chemical that kills them. I chose to hang mine on a damaged tree that we were already planning to cut down in a few weeks. It was located about 30 feet from the infected trees.

The traps attract the beetle, which goes inside and can't get out. Once it is full, you unzip the bottom and the dead beetles come out. Then zip it back up and it is ready to fill up again.

We have had great luck--I highly recommend this type of trap if you have this problem. It doesn't necessary have to be the brand that is pictured.

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August 28, 20061 found this helpful

Identification

Look for metallic blue-green, long-legged beetles with coppery-colored wing covers. Adults lay eggs from June through August. Eggs hatch into fat white, comma-shaped grubs with brownish-orange heads. Grubs overwinter in the soil and pupate in June.

Favorite Plants

Adult beetles will eat most garden crops and grubs feed on grass

Damage

Adult beetles eat flowers and strip off the leaves of plants. Like all white grubs, Japanese beetle grubs prefer to feed on the tender roots of grass. Lawns develop large areas of dead brown grass that will peel back like a rug when pulled.

Organic Methods of Control:

Cultural or Mechanical

  • Shake beetles onto tarps placed beneath plants in the early morning.
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  • Hand pick beetles from plants.

  • Cover plants with floating row covers or screens.

  • Interplant garlic, larkspur, tansy, rue and geranium.

  • Use spiked sandals on lawns to kill grubs as they feed near the surface in the late spring.

  • Kill eggs by allowing lawn to dry out between watering and allowing it to go dormant in the summer.

Biological


Japanese Beetle Grub. Photo by David Cappaert (www.insectimages.org)

  • Apply parasitic nematodes as a top dressing to plants and lawn in spring.

  • Apply milky spore disease (Bacillus popilliae) to grassy areas.

  • Attract birds to your yard and garden.

Chemical

  • Spray a mixture of garlic, onion and pepper to deter adult beetles from feeding on plants.

  • Spray soap and lime directly onto adult beetles to irritate them.

  • As a last resort, spray beetles with pyrethrins or rotenone.
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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 6, 2011

It's once again Japanese beetle season in SW Michigan. I used to use the traps and now have been told the traps attract the beetles as well as trap them. We were also told there is no insect repellent that will kill them. What do I do to rid our outside plants and trees of these little killers before my outdoor plants are destroyed?
Thank you.

By Mary from Zeeland, MI

Answer Was this helpful? 1
July 10, 20110 found this helpful

Mary, I have been using a spray bottle with water and liquid dish soap. Start with just a few drops of soap and apply once a day until your plants get used to it. Then gradually increase the soap if you need to get more aggressive. The bees will work around it but the beetles and other bugs hate it. The soap is also good for the soil. Make sure to wash your fruits and veggies before eating them! :)

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Rick in East GR

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful

We have been 'bugged' with these critters every year. We use the traps for the last 3 years, by golly this year seems to be less of them. We've also used Raid Flying Insect spray and they drop dead right away.

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

My mom used to swear by spraying the plants with diluted jalapeno pepper sauce or tabasco.

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

Check your yard for grubs. They are white thick worms and they eat the roots of your grass. A few in your yard will not hurt but if you have a lot, they will decimate the grass. This is where Japanese beetles come from. They lay their eggs and then hatch. The first year I was at my place, I had them in droves. I put in a flower bed and every time I saw a grub I I drowned it. You can also use Neem oil. But you will always have a problem if you don't get rid of the grubs.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 23, 2007

How do I get rid of Japanese Beetles/Asian Beetles. They are swarming us in the bathroom and kitchen windows. There are dead carcasses all over the counters. I was hoping someone could help!

Mary Ann from Center Junction, IA

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October 14, 20041 found this helpful

Here's some information from University of Kentucky Entomology:

Not real encouraging but they atleast have some information.

"Trapping Beetles

In recent years commercial or homemade traps have become a popular means of trying to reduce beetle numbers. Commercially available traps attract the beetles with two types of baits. One mimics the scent of virgin female beetles and is highly attractive to males. The other bait is a sweet-smelling food-type lure that attracts both males and females. This combination is such a powerful and effective attractant that traps can draw in thousands of beetles in a day. Only a portion of the beetles attracted to traps are caught in them. Small number of traps in a home landscape can actually increase Japanese beetle problems rather than reduce them. Other control measures such as insecticide sprays and dusts may be needed to protect plants that are particularly attractive to the beetles.

Traps may be effective in reducing Japanese beetle problems if used throughout a neighborhood or in open areas well away from valuable plantings or vulnerable crops. In most home landscape situations, using 1 or 2 traps probably will do more harm than good.

Plant Selection

Careful selection of plant species when replacing or adding to your landscape is the key to avoiding an annual battle with Japanese beetles. Certain common landscape plants are inevitably attacked and may be poor choices where this insect is abundant (Table 1)."

Read more...

http://www.uky.  /trees/ef409.htm

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February 26, 20070 found this helpful

well i have lived in my condo since 2001. every spring i get lady bugs also known as a sort of beetle. i usually can kill about 5 a day and then see that there are maybe 10 to 15 around the house that have died that day. now this winter i keep getting them. i hear something between the blinds and the window and i think it is raining but lo and behold it is a ladybug. i have searched and tried all kinds of stuff. the one that was funniest but best. mix dish detergent and water in sprayer. spray all the windows on the outside. they supposedly dont like it. well i got very clean and so did the windows. i guess i got 2 or 3 less of beatles. but then you have to reapply this messy stuff. pluss i live upstairs so i cant get to all my windows.

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February 26, 20070 found this helpful

Take a milk jug (narrow neck and big body) and half fill with water. Add a squirt of dish detergent, a tablespoon or so of vinegar and the same of sugar. The beetles will go for the sweet smell, get trapped in the soapy water and die inside the bottle, and you can pour it out and start over. Cheap and easy.

Cantate in Japan (where we don't have Japanese beetles; my mom has done this for years.)

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By 0 found this helpful
July 18, 2013

The beetles are here and they are eating my flowers. How do I get rid of them?

By Joan C

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July 22, 20130 found this helpful

Seven dust or liquid... works perfect!

I also put it around the base of the poles for my hummingbird feeders. No ant problems!

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By 0 found this helpful
January 2, 2013

I would like to know how to kill Japanese beetles.

By joannedesimone

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January 7, 20130 found this helpful

I really hate to use "Sevin" product but it did help go get rid of them when I had them last year. The one thing I can tell you not to do is buy one of those traps. They just attract the beetles!

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June 4, 20110 found this helpful

My new, young Japanese maple tree (dissectum variety) did not produce any leaves, but I thought I had noticed a few tiny buds early in the spring, but nothing grew. Is it dead or will it survive and produce leaves next year?

The tree was wrapped for protection during winter months, but I was careful not to harm any of the branches

By Lilian

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July 22, 20110 found this helpful

Sounds dead, if it was going to leaf it should have by now. When planting new plants, the first year it is very important to water daily. Good luck.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 13, 2012

Can anyone tell me how to get rid of the Japanese beetles that are eating my roses? I don't know where they are coming from. I remove many every day and the next day there are just as many back again. They eat the roses and some of the leaves.

Help!

By Bev D

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By 0 found this helpful
June 9, 2011

How do you keep Japanese beetles off of basil plants? They are eating holes in mine.

By Tina

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