How to Control Japanese Beetles in the Garden
Japanese Beetles are one of the most common, and most destructive plant predators you'll experience in your garden.
You'll recognize Japanese Beetles as they're about a half an inch long, and have metallic brown and green coloring.
As you would suspect, Japanese Beetles are native to Japan, but have been invading gardens here in the states since the early 1900's.
Japanese Beetle Eating Habits:
Japanese Beetles are daytime feeders. They prefer to gather in groups on foliage (leaves) and flowers that are in direct sunlight. They'll eat the leaf fabric, leaving the veins. What's left in the end looks a bit like a skeleton of the plant's leaves.
Note: Japanese Beetles are very aggressive feeders, and will quickly cause damage in your garden.
Unfortunately, Japanese Beetles have a very wide range of plants that they'll devour, rather than sticking to any particular plant species.
Why are they harmful? Well, Japanese Beetles will turn your garden into a skeleton closet in no time. And, even if not, damaging leaves of your garden plants will hinder production and development of its fruit.
Japanese Beetle Season:
You will likely see beetles from early summer to fall.
How to Treat for Japanese Beetles:
This is one of the never-ending battles that a gardener faces. Namely because Japanese Beetles can fly quite a long way. They've been tracked flying 5 miles to get from one prime garden location to another.
What that means to you, is that even when treating your own garden, you may just be attracting them from miles away.
On the other hand, if you don't treat them, the infestation will just get worse, and can even affect your other gardens and lawn. (Japanese Beetle larva is a white grub that feeds on grass roots, kilingl sections of your lawn.)
Your treatment options for getting rid of Japanese Beetles:
Apply SEVIN or a similar insecticide to infected plants. Repeat as needed.
Apply "Milky Disease Spores" or parasitic nematodes to the soil (to kill the grubs).
Early in the morning, when they're sluggish, pick them and drown them in soapy water.
Plant crysanthemums, garlic,tansy or rue nearby (Japanese beetles tend to avoid these plants).
Cover your plants with floating row covers (available online and at many garden centers).
Place beetle traps (available at garden centers, or your can make your own) in key locations around your garden.
Note: try to get your neighboring gardeners to do the same, for best effectiveness.
Spray the lawn with Neem, to help control the beetle larva.
Till the garden in early fall. This can disturb the larva's life-cycle (and make them more available for birds to consume too!).
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Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.