Getting Rid of Japanese Beetles

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August 7, 2017

Killing Japanese Beetles - trapMany 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.


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.

Killing Japanese Beetles - damaged leaves
Killing Japanese Beetles - just leaf veins remain
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August 28, 2006

Controlling Japanese Beetles. 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.



10 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

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 Pardue from Zeeland, MI


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! :)


Rick in East GR

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.

July 12, 20110 found this helpful

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


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 172 Posts
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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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)."



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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.

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.)

August 12, 20180 found this helpful

Don't kill ladybugs. They are beneficial. They eat aphids. If in your house. Just scoop up with your hand.they don't bite, and put outside.

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June 28, 2018

I have Japanese beetles eating my canna leaves. What's the best way to get rid of them?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
June 28, 20180 found this helpful

You need to get an insecticide from any garden center. They do a lot of damage.


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June 28, 20180 found this helpful

Ick. They cause so much damage.

I discourage people from using chemicals as the first line because they cause so many other issues and are dangerous to other creatures and the watershed. Plus they are terrible for you if you have asthma or other lung conditions.

This site goes thru a variety of first line methods, my favorite of which is to plant geraniums.. for you that would be a future plan. In the immediate, there are other suggestions.

Hope you choose one of the safer methods! Mother Nature will thank you! Your pocket book will thank you also!


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June 29, 20180 found this helpful

Japanese beetles can devour leaves in a very short period of time and they seem to multiply before your eyes.

  • I love using Neem oil as it is organic and is useful for killing (and prevention) all kinds of bugs. I have never found it harmful to my plants.
  • Information:
  • Use organic neem-based insecticides. Neem oil is a natural pesticide that comes from the seeds of the neem tree, and is considered an anti-feedant because it reduces feeding of Japanese beetles when applied to the plants. Spray plants with neem oil to control the pests.
  • Insecticidal soap is another safer way to control these as well as other common plant bugs.
  • This can be purchased at garden centers (same as Neem oil) or you can make your own.
  • Remember to take care of your yard later as these nasty beetles start out as grubs in your yard.
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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.


By Bev


July 18, 20180 found this helpful

I had the same problem with all my flowering bushes finally I took a spray bottle with water and classic blue dawn dish soap sprayed my entire flower bed next day all the beetles were gone and the soapy water didn't damage any of my flowers.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
July 18, 20180 found this helpful

Any dishwashing soap will do.

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July 18, 2013

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

By Joan C


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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January 2, 2013

I would like to know how to kill Japanese beetles.

By joannedesimone


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 172 Posts
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 9, 2011

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

By Tina


July 6, 20180 found this helpful

The only thing that's not messy & organic is a netting. @mazon : Nu vu bug'n shade

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June 4, 2011

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


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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