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How To Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles In Lawn

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You Can Try Netting Your Ornamental And Vegetable Gardens During The Peak Beetle Seasons

How To Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

This is often an effective way to protect a large group of plants because Japanese Beetles tend to eat plants from the top to the bottom. When the beetles try to land on your plants, they cant get through the nets. Rather than sticking around to feed, the beetles tend to continue their search for a viable food source. Also, they dont release an attractant if they cant feed, sparing you an even worse infestation.

Best Time To Use Nematodes

The garden leaf beetles beetle mating flight takes place starting mid-July towards the end of September. Almost six weeks later, the nematodes are sprayed against the larvae. The soil temperature must be at least 12 °C. As long as the worms locate food sources , they survive and multiply.

In dry conditions, they die, and that is why the soil should always be maintained moist during the whole process of using nematodes.

#Tip: Because nematodes have a limited shelf life, they should be purchased right before usage and should be used quickly. After shipment, generally, these nematodes can be stored unopened for roughly six weeks in the refrigerator.

Select Plants That Dont Attract Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are especially attracted to individual plants such as roses, apples, raspberries, apricots, hibiscus, soybeans, cherries, peaches, birch, American linden, Norway maple, Japanese maple, grapevines, plums, pin oaks, and crape myrtle.

To reduce the risk of localizing their population and devastating your garden, choose your crops wisely, and limit their favorite plants.

Alternatively, if their favorite crop is part of your choice of plants, consider dispersing them far apart from each other and from the rest of the garden to limit the beetle concentration.

You can also plant crops that are not liked by the beetles in between crops favored by the beetles. Such crops include rue, garlic, and tansy.

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How To Treat Japanese Beetles & Grubs:

Stage 1 Dormant Grub: Grubs burrow deep into the soil and rest through the winter. Some move as much as 12 inches below the surface. Come March, lawns already under attack by grubs are best treated in early spring or fall. Apply Bayer Advanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus for fast results. Grubs will usually stop feeding and start to die within 24 hours.

Stage 2 Feeding Grub: Grubs rise from their winter rest and begin feeding on roots, causing extensive damage to turf grasses. Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Insect Control or All-in-One Rose & Flower Care are best. The best way to control adult beetles is to make a preemptive strike, in the spring, well in advance of the adults emerging.

Stage 3 Pupa: After this spring feeding period during the third summer of its life cycle, the grub pupates and turns into an adult Japanese beetle. Remember that Bayer Advanced Season Long Grub Control is great to use all season. Grubs are easiest to control when they are young, so take preventative action in late spring through early summer.

Stage 4 Adult: Adult Japanese beetles emerge from the soil and begin feeding on many types of plants and ornamentals, leaving skeletonized leaves. Starting in June try Bayer Advanced Dual Action Rose & Flower Insect Killer. If you havent made such a preemptive strike and the beetles are feeding, products that kill on contact and provide systemic protection are most effective.

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Prevent Garden Leaf Beetle Infestation

Insects how to get rid of japanese beetles beetle interior ...

Garden leaf beetles love sandy soil and dry sections of lawn to deposit their eggs, so keep your lawn thick and well-watered. Check out our related special article to know how to properly maintain your grass throughout the year.

Mowing the lawn a little higher during the beetle mating flight in May reduces the larvae by 40 to 70 percent. Vegetable and flower beds can be used in place of lawns if you enjoy planting.

Even if the garden leaf beetle is rare in ones area, extra care should be taken while planting a new one so as not to introduce too many host plants for it.

Host plants of the garden leaf beetle include:

  • Birches

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Where Do Japanese Beetles Come From

Japanese beetles come from the ground in June and July after the plump white grubs pupate. But Japanese beetles can also come from nearby gardens. When the plant-destroying insects start feeding, they release pheromones that attract other beetles. So, unless you act fast to eliminate Japanese beetles, you could have an uncontrollable problem with beetles in your garden.

As the common name suggests, Popillia japonica is a beetle species that originated in Japan. However, it is thought that they arrived in the US in the 1900s when trade with Japan started. Because the iridescent beetles are not native insects, they quickly became a significant pest in gardens and crop-producing fields.

Waiter Table For Fifty Please

Ive got some in-laws I dont care for . Theyve got bland taste buds boiled potatoes and cabbage with a sprinkle of pepper is the limit for what they will tolerate. So, my trick for minimizing their dinner visits is to revisit my favorite Central American recipes and cook up a spicy meal so hot itll make their heads spin.

I kid, I kid. Hopefully that got a bit of a groan or maybe even a chuckle out of you. But the premise is solid for how to deter damage from Japanese beetles: dont plant what they want to eat.

There we go! Problem solved, right? Wrong! The situation with these guys is that they have an incredibly diverse selection of plants they want to eat.

Seriously, its a list of over two hundred different species, and most of the items on their menu are our favorite and most valued plantings. Below youll see a generalized list of plants Japanese beetles prefer paired with an offering of plants they tend to stay away from.

Safe to Plant:

In my experience, Ive seen more damage done to roses, raspberries, and fruit-producing trees than anything else.

The individual beetle doesnt consume a gross amount of vegetation. It is when groups of the things start to pile up on those delicate rosebuds and delicious raspberries that the real damage is done.

The beetles will eat only the leafy green bits and leave the leaves skeletonized.

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How To Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles And Grubs In Your Lawn

First, its important to make the connection that the white grubs in your lawn will hatch into Japanese Beetles and if you have Japanese Beetles they will lay eggs in your lawn that turn into white grubs.

Japanese Beetles can severely damage your roses and other plants in your landscape because they feed on the leaves and can almost completely defoliate some plants.

The white grubs ruin your lawn!

They feed on the roots of the grass near the soil surface. The damage usually shows up when its hot and dry because without a good root system the grasses in your lawn will start dying.

Damaged areas in your lawn feel spongy when you walk on the grass because of the tunneling thats taking place under the surface. If the damage is extensive the grass can be pulled up like carpet because the roots have been chewed off.

Skunks, Crows, Grubs and other Critters dig up your lawn to get at the grubs. In the fall when skunks are instinctively packing away the food to fatten up for the winter they can destroy a lawn in one night if it has a heavy grub infestation. Look for little holes in your flower beds. That usually means that the birds have been digging for grubs.

During the summer months when the soil is warm the grubs are usually at a depth of 2 or less. As winter approaches they go deeper into the soil and become almost inactive.

As soon as spring arrives and the soil temperatures increase they move back toward the surface and start feeding on the roots of your lawn once again.

Go After Grubs In The Soil


Your Japanese beetle population will be greatly reduced if you get rid of the larvae before they can destroy your garden.

Japanese beetle larvae can be driven out of the soil in fall and spring by a weekly soaking with soapy water. Birds will come eat the surfaced grubs, helping to keep your Japanese beetle population down.

Bacillus popilliae, also known as milky spore, is a bacteria that causes disease in Japanese beetle grubs, though it isnt harmful to other animals or humans. Its sold as a treatment for grubs, but university research trials have not found it especially effective. , however, report success if you want to give it a try.

Letting your lawn go dormant in summer rather than watering it will not only save a lot of water, it will keep your grub population from exploding.

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How To Get Rid Of Them

Milky Spore

One of the most effective methods was developed way back in the 1930s and distributed to states over the next couple decades. Japanese beetles are susceptive to a disease called milky spore, so researchers decided itd just be easiest to give the diseases to the beetlesespecially in their grub stage before the fully develop into flying adults.

Known in the scientific world as Paenibacillus popilliae, milky spore can be purchased at any basic home improvement store. Its advised you apply the sporea white, powdery substanceto your lawn once per year, either in the spring or the fall, for three years. The disease will spread throughout the beetle population and help provide a long-term solution. Its also suggested you apply the spore along with a nematode, which will help spread the disease quicker into the beetles.


Other solutions to help kill off beetles include chemicals and oils such as the following:

Some of these applications may be harmful to other species in your environment, so its important to do the proper research for how these chemicals and oils could affect the plants and animals around you. For example, Neem oil is harmful to fish, so dont apply the oil near ponds or areas where a storm could create runoff to a source of water.

Hand Picking

Row Covers

Controlling Lawn Grubs With Chemicals

A long-term approach to controlling Japanese beetles is to attack them at the sourcein the ground where the beetle larvae feed and mature. This is normally done with a granular “grubicide” applied to lawns in late summer or fall when the grubs are moving up into the root zone to feed. Grub baits are somewhat controversial since they are synthetic chemicals, but most are classified as only “mildly toxic” by the EPA. With careful application following label directions exactly, this is a relatively safe chemical pesticide. Grub baits are fairly selective pesticides that affect a variety of lawn-damaging beetles and grubs but have less impact on earthworms and other beneficial organisms. Avoid any product that contains Sevin, as this pesticide does kill earthworms and other beneficial organisms.

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What Eats Japanese Beetles

Some species that eat Japanese beetles include:

  • Wild birds like robins, catbirds, and cardinals
  • Mammals like opossums, raccoons, skunks, moles, and shrews
  • Parasites like nematodes, milky spore bacterium, tachinid flies, and tiphia wasps

Japanese beetles are native to Japan and considered an invasive species in the U.S. While there are many wild animals and parasites that feed on Japanese beetles in both Japan and the U.S, there are not enough predators in the U.S. to keep these insects in check.

The Japanese Beetles Introduction To The Us

Grub Control: How to Get Rid of Lawn Grubs

Since then, the Japanese beetle has permeated most of the remaining 50 states. The worst infestations are in states bordering the Mississippi River and states east of it, including Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, and North Carolina.

There have also been partial infestations in:

  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota

There have been sightings of Japanese beetles as far west as Portland, Oregon, too, though the climate of many states out west arent ideal for the beetles survival.

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What Damage Do Japanese Beetles Cause

Japanese beetle is one insect that can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden at both life stages! In their grub stage, Japanese beetles can chew the roots of your grass inducing dormancy or causing lawn death. But mammals like raccoons, skunks, and moles digging for grubs in your lawn are so much worse than the grub damage alone. The mammals destroy the surface of your lawn, requiring much more physical labor to get your lawn-area/surface even ready to be reseeded.

When mature beetles emerge from the ground in late spring to midsummer, they often fly in from nearby areas and target stressed plants. Beautiful garden roses and other beetle favorites are soon left with skeleton-like leaves and blossoms.

What Do Japanese Beetles Look Like

Before you go to battle with Japanese beetles, make sure you know the enemy. These insects have an iridescent green head and thorax and glossy, copper brown wing coverings that look almost metallic. One of the biggest giveaways that you’re looking at a Japanese beetle are the small fuzzy white patches along both sides of the abdomen. There are several look-alike beetles that also have a shiny metallic body but don’t have the white spots.

Japanese beetles skeletonize leaves by eating the tissue between the veins, so if you see ragged, lacy-looking foliage, that’s another sign that you’re dealing with these insects. The larvae, called white grubs, can cause brown, dead patches in lawn that will pull up easily, just like a rug.

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Trap The Beetles With A Can Filled With Fruit Cocktail

Cedarcide suggests putting a fruit cocktail in a can and fermenting it in the sun for a few days. Once fermented, take the can with the cocktail far away from the plants you are trying to protect, place on top of a few bricks inside a pail filled with water. The beetles will be attracted to the fruit cocktail but will be unable to access it because of the surrounding water. The beetles are simply drowned in the pail.

Identifying The Damage They Cause

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

Grub damage appears in summer as brown patches in your lawn. Since they eat the roots, you can often roll the lawn up like a carpet. If you do this, you will see the grubs. A healthy lawn can tolerate as many as ten grubs per square foot. Japanese beetle larvae are not the only grubs that eat turfgrass roots there are several other species.

Adults will fly up to a mile for a good meal. They prefer roses, birch, elm, raspberry, currant, basil, Virginia creeper, hollyhocks, marigolds, corn, soybeans, grape, linden, apple, crabapple, cherry, plum, and other fruit trees. They feed in a colony, and they are very social youll see many mating pairs. As they feed, they release a pheromone that attracts other beetles.

The adults start feeding in late June or early July. They leave large, ragged holes in leaves and flower petals. They will skeletonize a leaf, leaving behind only the veins. Heavy infestations can completely defoliate a small tree, shrub, or rose bush. When they feed on trees, from a distance, the trees look scorched.

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Effective Solutions On How To Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles


  • Sevin Dust. Okay, let me say, I try to keep an organic garden. But truthfully, after losing my harvests a couple of years in a row because of Japanese Beetles, I have been known to throw in my organic towel and pull out the Sevin Dust.
  • Bag a Bug. This is usually my first go-to when I begin seeing Japanese Beetles hanging around my garden. These neat little traps consist of bags and a little metal pole.
  • Guinea Fowl. Japanese Beetles are the whole reason I invested in guinea-fowl. I shared my honest experience with raising guinea-fowl here. Personally, I love them.
  • A Cup of Soapy Water. With this method, youll just need a plastic cup that is filled half-way or a little more with water and add dish soap to the mix.
  • Cover Your Rows. So the Japanese Beetles are wearing you down. You cant have guineas for one reason or another, and you are really tired of having to walk around your garden with soapy water or sprinkling dust all over your plants.
  • Neem Oil. Neem oil does not mix well with Japanese Beetles. You can make a neem oil spray to spritz on your plants. Then when the Japanese Beetles eat your plants they will ingest the neem oil.
  • Risks
  • Prevention

Theres a wide smorgasbord of plants for Japanese beetles to feast on, over 300 varieties of trees, shrubs and non-woody plants. Some of their favorites include roses, maples, elms, grapes, and crab apples. They also feed on weeds like poison ivy and bracken.

How Long Do Japanese Beetles Live

There are several stages to a Japanese beetles life. First, the beetle is laid as an egg. When it hatches in midsummer, it eats for a short while. Then, it simply exists as a grub in its larval stage burrowed under the soil. It matures in a dormant state underground for about 10 months. In early spring, the grub returns to the surface, feeding on roots until the end of spring before pupating into an adult. Adult Japanese beetles live for 30-45 days.

Throughout its entire life cycle , a Japanese beetle lives for about one year. However, the adult beetles you see are only alive for about a month.

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