Japanese Beetles – How to Manage the Scourge

One of the most notable nemeses of a summer garden is the dastardly Japanese beetle – an unwanted pest since they snuck their way into  the US in the 1900s.

These beautiful, dangerous menaces can destroy a garden in no time if left unheeded. There’s no perfect way to deal with these villains, but we are going to talk about some popular methods to keep them under control.

Just don’t take any tips from The Beatles and “let it be” (we couldn’t resist). 

How to Spot Your Enemy

You’ll need to be on the lookout for Japanese beetles in two different ways.

Adult beetles are real “lookers” with their sheeny, metallic green bodies, their copper wings, and their fluffy white tufts of hair around the abdomen. Japanese beetles in the larvae stage, commonly known as grubs, are a milky white color and wreak havoc on lawns by turning them brown.

Whether a grub or an adult, these rascals don’t travel alone, they are HUNGRY and they are not super-picky eaters. They will devour over 300 types of plants, and chow down on your prize roses, raspberries, and fruit trees. You’ll spot the adults in the hottest part of the summer – from May to July, depending on your region.

The tell-tale “skeltonizing” of the leaves of your plants is one of the biggest clues that you have a Japanese beetle invasion.

They chew sizable holes in the leaves of your plants, leaving only the veins. Since they invade in groups, they can destroy an entire garden in no time.

3 Ways to Manage the Scourge 


Handpicking the Japanese Beetles off your plants is the most environmentally friendly way of wiping out the infestation, but it takes a lot of persistence.

You’ll need a bucket of soapy water (two tablespoons of dish soap to one gallon of water is the magic formula) for this process.

Early mornings or early evenings are the best time to check your garden.

Donning a pair of nitrile gloves so you don’t need to touch the little buggers, you can pick or brush them off into the soapy water.

Take out the larvae.

Targeting the larvae will help control the future population. You can introduce beneficial  nematodes – parasitic worms that will target the larvae in the soil and destroy them.

For this method, make sure you water before and after the application. Alternatively, you can dust your garden with milky spore disease, which specifically harms Japanese Beetles and no other pest. 

Use a Safer Pesticide

Using Neem Oil or a pesticide with pyrethrin is biodegradable and does no additional harm to the environment. This method should be used only on adult beetles to ensure no harm comes to beneficial insects such as bees. Neem oil will need to be applied on a regular basis to be effective.

Stockslagers Greenhouse Can Help You Manage Common Garden Pests

Stockslagers has everything you need to control these voracious predators in your garden and we’re happy to help you choose the method that will work best for you! When you stop on by to our greenhouse and garden center in Dayton, Ohio, our friendly and knowledgeable staff members can help you choose the pesticide method that’s right for you.

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