Controlling Japanese Beetles

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At first glance, Japanese beetle’s certainly don’t look all that vicious. They’re not that big and they’re even kind of pretty with their metallic green bodies and copper-colored wings.

Don’t be deceived, though. These little bugs can cause all sorts of damage to trees, bushes, etc. They are particularly attracted to roses, Hibiscus, fruit trees, Japanese maple, Flowering cherry, Purpleleaf Plums, pin oak and birch trees. And if you have them around your home, you’ll know it by simply checking out leaves and rosebuds because the little critters can totally annihilate both.

In late June into July, these beetles emerge from lawns and surroundings soils when pupating from their larvae state in late spring. Adult Japanese beetles start feeding on plants and trees in early summer and typically wreak havoc until late July/August until laying their eggs once again into the lawn to repeat the yearly cycle once again. The grub state of this beetle can also cause damage to lawns by consuming roots causing extensive stress to lawns where heavy infestations occur.

So, how do you combat these vicious little troublemakers? One of the most difficult things with Japanese Beetles is their numerous population and heavy populations. Often when treating with foliar insecticides, what you spray today isn’t what you are still seeing tomorrow. Repetitive spraying is required to gain effective control of these pesky beetles. Following are several tried and true methods:

  • Pick Them Off – OK, so this might not be an attractive idea to some but it is effective and the most inexpensive way to keep them at bay. Don’t worry about them attacking because they’re pretty slow. It’s best to do it early in the morning and once you pick them off the foliage just drop them into soapy water.
  • Spray Early – If you start seeing the beetles, go ahead and spray whatever it is they’re feasting on with pyrethin or neem.  Pyrethrin-based insecticides are a safe and extremely safe way to control beeters. Fertilome Triple Action Neem oil , often referred to an an anti-feedant, reduces feeding when sprayed on plants.
  • Trap the Beetles – There is an effective method that enables you to catch the beetles with bait in a trap. These are best if you have a large yard and can put the trap away from your prizes flowers and trees. Put the trap out for a couple days every two weeks.
  • Tree & Shrub Insect Drench is a once a year systemic application for pest control on trees & shrubs. Read more about it here
  • For added control, a granular insecticide “HiYield Grub Free Zone II, can be applied in late April to May when grubs are pupating into beetles underground and it’s long lasting insecticide residual provides control during both pupating stages in May and when new eggs and grubs hatch in the last summer to fall season.

If you’d like to get a jumpstart on next year, get some Natural Guard Grub Guard or Milky Spore, both being natural forms of control, which controls the grubs before they develop into Japanese beetles. Simply apply these granular products to the lawn area and it will help tremendously with controlling the beetles.

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