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How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles and Grubs in Your Lawn

Last updated : 9 February 2015

First, it’s 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.

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The white grubs ruin your lawn!

They feed on the roots of the grass near the soil surface. The damage usually shows up when it’s 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 that’s 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.

They eat away for another 4 to 6 weeks, then emerge from the soil as adult Japanese Beetles and start feeding on your landscape.  As they devour your landscape they start laying batches of eggs.  Usually 20 to 60 eggs total per female beetle. And the life cycle starts all over again.

You can lift areas of sod in your lawn where you suspect you might have white grub infestation and look for the grubs. They are white in color and range in size from 1/2″ to 1″ long.  If you have more that 6 grubs per square foot it’s time to think about a way to control them.

If you opt for a chemical control there are several products on the market and the best time to apply them is late August and early September.  The white grubs are much easier to control when they are smaller and closer to the surface of the soil.

Biological control of white Japanese Beetle grubs can be achieved by applying the insect parasitic nematode species Heterorhabditis bacteriophora.  You can purchase these nematodes under a variety of different trade names.

Another biological control is Milky Spore which is actually bacterium pacenibacillus popillae.  However, this is a long term approach and can take years for the spore to spread throughout your lawn.  It actually requires to ingest the spores and then as they die their carcass becomes part of the control to help spread the spores throughout your lawn.

Japanese Beetle Traps!  Do they work?  Well . . . the jury is still out.  Most traps use both a sex lure that attracts male beetles and sweet smelling lure that attract both sexes.  Without a doubt these traps attract a lot of beetles, but some research indicates that they attract more beetles to the area of the trap than they actually trap. That means that plants in the path of the trap might suffer more damage.

If you use traps place them near the edge of the property and well away from plants that are damaged by Japanese Beetles.

Since there is some biological control that naturally takes place without your intervention it is recommend that you only consider chemical control when the infestation is severe because the chemicals disrupt the natural process of control.

I hope what I’ve given you here helps.  It is confusing.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    yes,I have all of the above issues with my landscaping. I have tried all of the brand name chemical products and they have done nothing to stop the beetles. what now!
    I like the comment on the purple martin house I must try that.

  2. BPMcWilliams says

    My dad always kept Purple Martin houses by the garden. The martins did a good job of keeping the Japanese beetles under control.

  3. Kathleen says

    Hello,i live in Northern Canada and have a Virginia Creeper and it’s the middle of summer and the white flies are just eat it up,the leaves are turning brown in spot’s,does ANYBODY know how to get rid of the flies,HELP.

  4. janet says

    hi mike thanks for all of your info but i gotta tell you that this one really works just put the beetles in cool water no soapand feed your neighbors fish by hand they love the beetles my brotherinlaw does this everyday the fish loves them and they (beetles) dont bite either i now collect them and take to ponds to feed fish its great thanks again for all of your articles!

  5. Doug says

    I laid Grubex down in late June or early July, and I believe that was too late — I’ve got Jap Beetles all over my roses and Basil plants. It’s a real pain to control them now — using a spray that works well, but have to reapply it after it rains.

    Has anyone used Grubex with any success? If you have had good luck with it, when did you apply it?

  6. Joyce Bozeman says

    Mike, I can remember my Grandmother half filling a # 2 washtub with water and hanging a light over it all night. In the morning she would turn out the chickens and then turn the tub over. The chickens sure had a big breakfast. Also we would tie a string around the neck of the beatle and take it for a flying walk.
    My fish love the larva .We even had a dog that would dig them up and eat them.
    Thanks for the tip on using a clear plastic tub over the plant cuttings as I try rooting them. Joyce, from hurricane Rita and Ike area.

  7. James Johnstone says

    Thanks Mike you are the answer to many peoples problems in Lawn care asone example,mine at the moment is the japanese beetles and grubs in my lawn.What do you know about Gardeners Supply I would welcome any thing you can tell me. Keep up the good work.
    Yours Aye Jim .

    • says

      Jim, I really don’t know anything about them, but good luck with the Japanese Beetles, you just have to pick the treatment option that is correct for you.

  8. heather jones says

    we were devasted by the japenese beetles. our apple orchard, and grapevines were completely chewed up. we are trying to do all organic so we did some researching and found out that the neem oil and cinnamite both work. my husband alternates spraying every week. plus we have the traps. all 3 combined seems to be working. all our apple trees are coming back and so are the grapes. neem oil and cinnamite also works for spidermites on your tomato plants.

  9. oscarp2u says

    I love your stories and enjoy your videos very much I am not able to do as much as some but able to do enough to make your site a favorite of mine. Thanks for all the information and keep up the good work . THANK YOU MIKE!

  10. Miss B says

    We have always had Japanese beetle problems, but the past two years have been drastically different. I’m not sure why, but the grub population has all but vanished and we rarely see anymore beetles. I don’t know what happened, but am very thankful they are gone.

  11. Marcia says

    I have had these critters for several years now. Even though I treat the ground for grubs, they still come by the thousands for my Porcelain Vine. I have used Sevin for the last two years and what I get is several inches of rotting insects that smell for weeks! I tried sprinkling lime on the bodies without any real success. Any ideas?
    Thanks.

    • says

      Marcia, about all I can suggest is try using traps away from the plants you are trying to protect. Remember that if you treat for grubs, early to mid August is usually a good time, the grubs are the easiest to control in that stage.

  12. Crystal Kauer says

    The Japanse Beetles just arrived in my garden. Knew they were coming as many in the area had them. I use the soapy water. Having over 300 roses, I spend a lot of time collecting these bugs.

    I have ordered some Milky Spore, but there is word going around that it is not very effective in Zones 4 and 5. In Michigan we are in the middle of these zones.

    Also, when reading about the parasitic namatodes species, it would seem difficult in Michigan due to the normal ground temperatures. But I might try it this fall.

    Has anyone in mid Michigan sucessfully used the milky spore or nematode methods?

    • Bonnie says

      I used milky spore and I live in zone 5, Oswego, NY. It is a very good use of nature. I had a bad invasion of beetles about 5 years ago and that year I used milkly spore and hand killed many thousands. My infestation get smaller and smaller each and every year since application. The directions said to apply at a particular time and temperture, which I did twice and it keeps control of the grubs and spreads every year. This year I will put an application on a different part of my lawn. I saw the grubs when I was digging and then the skunks have drilled in to get them,too. Skunks are a good indicator of where they are, and then I proceed accordingly. I have a large yard and total application would have been too expensive. Hope that helps.

  13. Helen says

    I so not have problems with Grubs or Beetles at this time but the Earwigs are terrible! they love dark damp places and eat the leaves of my plants and come out at night. What do I do?

  14. David says

    Last year and this year, when I noticed the Japanese Beetles on my purple leaf plum and my crab apple, and my royal empress tree, I sprayed the leaves with Sevin and it does discourage the beetles. They go away and don’t come back unless you get a heavy rain that washes the Sevin off. So you may have to spray again. But they only come out of the ground to chew leaves for a few weeks each summer so you don’t have to spray very many times.

    Then I have also applied mikly spore to the ground after they disappear. But that only kills the ones in my lawn, it doesn’t kill the ones in my neighbors’ lawns.

  15. Joyce says

    A few years ago when we lived in Mass. our entire lawn (and half the town’s lawns) were destroyed by grubs. We purchased nematodes from Gardens Alive in Lawrenceburg, IN and used them on our lawn. End of problem. The nematodes come in a flat sponge and you squeeze them out in water and spread them with a hose sprayer attachment.

  16. Purple Parasols says

    The big joke is: If you don’t like a neighbor, give HIM the Beetle traps. They go to his lawn and Scape. They make a great gift for your nasty neighbor. Ha Ha !!

  17. Gail Huffstutler says

    Dear Mike, I don’t seem to see many grubs in my yard, but I do have a question — what we do have is a heavy infestation of sand burrs. Will corn gluten applied in the winter, towards springtime really help? Our lawn is mostly weeds, aside from a small patch of what remains of our St.Augustine grass. The whole yard (1 acre) was St.Augustine when we moved onto the ranch, but being from MN where I never had to water grass, I did not realize that we would lose the grass here in TX. My husband is against wasting water on grass, but I love a pretty yard. What to do? I guess I could put up with the crab grass, etc., but the sand burrs get into my dog’s paws and of course we don’t dare walk barefooted!

    • says

      Gail, I’m not sure what the answer is. Watering a lawn that large would be very expensive if you have city water or a heavy load on a well. It takes thousands of gallons of water to keep a lawn healthy in hot dry areas.

    • Chris says

      Gail. where in Texas do you live? I have lived in Texas almost all my life and the difference between my yard and my neighbors is like the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and I have a St. Augustine yard. But, some places it is just impractical to grow a St. Augustine yard. I water only when necessary. I can point you toward some good resources and helpful people, like your county Ag Extension agent. One thing to do would be to overseed with Bermuda grass, Bermuda likes hot, dry summers. St Augustine, if incorrectly managed, can be very thirsty.

      As we all know, it’s a big state and has many different types of soils. One thing to NOT do is cut your lawn in the winter. That prevents your grass from developing a deeper root structure which means you have to water more frequently.

  18. Neil says

    Excellent bit of information on Grubs and Japanese Beetles. Thank you for the continued online education. Alerting people to the biological control is great. I have used the parasitic nematode many times and it does work, you just have to be patient.

  19. jim says

    Mike,
    All the treatments you mention will work well UNTIL you get all the beetles from YOUR NEIGHBORS properties, who don’t bother to do anything. These insects simply don’t read my KEEP OUT signs.

  20. Alice says

    Mike:Sprayed earlier this summer for ALL the bugs in my small yard; but, doesn’t really seem to be working ! And, I have trouble with moles…have ruined backyard, killed NUMEROUS plantings—–very frustrating, disgusting. The association here states: “it’s because of the sandy soil in the yard behind you. We’ve tried, but can’t get rid of them.” Thus, I quit planting very much at all/mostly potted plants now—which just isn’t the same !
    Thanks.

    • Marlene says

      Try a peice of Juicy Fruit Gum still in the foil. Make a slit in the foil and drop it in the mole hole. They chew the gum but can’t digest it and die. Juicy Fruit is the only kind that seems to work on moles.

      • Norm says

        Chewing Gum, no matter what kind, is not consumed by moles nor does it kill them if they do. This is a myth, someone’s idea of a joke.

    • Denise says

      The moles,voles,skunks-gophers,crows, and probaly the darned armidillo’s are all after the grubs,thats why they are there. Its natures way. I hand pick with soapy water twice a day-use an organic spray like Neem or such, and we apply Milky Spore. We’ve only seen very few grubs and we’re always using the shovel. I suspect alot of them are coming in from the fields and neighbors. I’ll also set some traps away from the precious plants. I’m slowly getting rid of the wild roses I planted years ago,as they attract them,and will transplant my Rugosa Roses to the other side of property. I always use more than just one method to keep their numbers down..

      • Doug says

        Denise,
        I live in a neighborhood that is infested by moles. I have tried everything from sonic chasers, moth balls, poison bait, and finally a proper Victor Mole Trap. I have caught or killed 52 moles and counting the trap works. My yard is tiny, but with my neighbors all believe the myths and commercial deceptions. There are a lot of myths and one is what moles eat. Their primary food source is earthworms, they may eat an occasional grub that happens to be in their feeder tunnels. Moles have a system that starts with a burrow, then primary tunnels that run into feeder tunnels that you see on the ground around 2″ down. Moles like moist soil with tree roots that they tunnel along. They can go as deep as 2′ or more down and can move rapidly across the ground (I know this because I have an outdoor cat that likes to bring me live presents). I have found success by installing either concrete or hardware cloth barriers in areas I wanted to prevent them from entering. you have to dig them down to the most compact soil, such as clay, and leave a border at the top that is 2″ above the ground. They can’t climb but once at the surface they can move over a buried barrier with no border. In residential neighborhoods moles become a problem, because there are no effective natural predators such as snakes.

  21. Roxanne says

    I think I will use the soapy approach again this year. This is the second year of fighting these beetles. My plants are starting to look pretty bad now! The soap (last yr) seemed to really help. But does it effect the grubs? Does any know? We just sprayed the soap mixture all over my gardens.

  22. Sue Sharkey says

    Hi Mike I used Japanese Beetle traps, wel away from my rose tree. I had two bags full by the end of august two years ago. Also I notice that water in the kids pools attract them also.

  23. chuck Kriete says

    Thanks for the most lucid and comprehensive comment on Japanese Beetles I have yet read. I have had a huge infestation in my grape yard for three years, and then last year, after I used three beetle traps, I had none – absolutely zero – and NO damage. I don’t know how to account for it because I have been using traps for three years, and had nearly concluded it was worse than sprays. But they disappeared, and were no place else on the property either (I have a 45 acre farm, only six acres in woods, the rest open fields in corn, soybeans, or other familiar crops.

  24. Nancy Murphy says

    Japanese beetles in my yard? I take a bucket of warm water w/ a few drops of dish soap and shake them into the bucket. Have to do it almost daily, but it’s saving my plants. My plants otherwise would never make it through the summer, these guys make mincemeat out of them. Thanks for the other tips, am checking out nematodes for late Aug buffet on the lawn :)

  25. carol neddermeyer says

    what kind of chemical would I use for the Japanese beetles? Have any good ideas on how to get rid of ants on the side of a hill in our yard????

    • Denise says

      The way to get rid of ants is with good ol’ fashioned cornmeal. They take it back to the nest eat it and explode! do it during a no rain period.

  26. BeckyJo Middlebrooks says

    That was some great info about the Japanesse beetles. But what exactly do they look like?? There are so many differant and strange looking bugs out there. In fact in last couple of years… my kids (they’re 18yrs. old-and still at home….argh..) have brought bugs to me that I have NEVER seen before ( I’m 47 and have lived the majority of those yrs. in the country/rural areas). So how about a picture of the bugs that you write about ? And please don’t ask me to buy another book. You definately write ALOT of useful information-but sometimes I feel like I’m paying a membership fee. (maybe that was a bit strong…but…)

  27. Martha/Atlanta, Ga. says

    I do see grubs in my lawn when I pull crabgrass and my dog digs for them to eat. I hesitate to use chemicals to kill them because I also have some of the nicest earthworms in there too. They are fat and healthy. I’m wondering if there is a way to kill the grubs without harming the earthworms.

    Thanks for the information. I did buy your book and even though I have read it all the way through, I always pick it up and read something before going to sleep. I’ve truly enjoyed propagating all of my life and now I know more about how it should be done.

    Thanks so much. I certainly enjoy all of your articles and newsletters.

  28. Dan Orr says

    I know grubs are a major problem,but my main concern is the moles and gophers that tunnel my yard and garden searching for the grubs! Last fall I noticed my broccoli plants were disappearing from my raised beds.I saw a plant shaking one evening and watched. all of a sudden the whole plant disappeared underground ! The next evening I had my .357.revolver( I live in the country with no close neighbors) and when I saw another plant shaking, I shot at the roots, lol, I wound up having to replant my broccoli in pots, and then put them back in the ground to keep the gophers from eating them!

  29. Paula Gallalee says

    I go to the pool store and buy a large bag of Diatomaceous Earth for a total cost of $22. Spread that on your lawn (but use a mask, you don’t want to inhale it) on a non-windy day, and you will rid your yard of grubs, beetles, fleas, ticks & more. Plus, I usually will have enough for 2 more applications. Start around the walls of the house first, then work your way out to the edge of your lawn,

    • Art says

      Saw your idea on Using Diatomacecous Earth to rid the yard of grubs, beetles etc . Do you know why it works, any precautions. Sounds like a great idea

      • Kathy says

        Diatomaceous Earth is a natural product that consists of fossilized diatoms which are tiny sea creatures. Their shells have very sharp edges and the DE works by lacerating the grubs. Once lacerated, the grubs dehydrate and die. Although the DE seems sharp and dangerous to tiny insects and grubs, when we handle Diatomaceous Earth it feels more like talcum powder. It is also used in swimming pool filters. DE is not toxic to humans or pets. Matter of fact, it is sometimes used to treat fleas on pets. The only precaution when using DE is to wear a dust mask just as you would when applying any other sort of dust. You don’t want to breathe it in.

        Kathy Anderson
        Mike’s Assistant

        • linda says

          Kathy
          I was reading your comments on how to get rid of grub worms. I live in Mississippi and I am having the worse time getting rids or moles When do you suggest putting Diatomaceous Earth out?
          Linda

      • Mary says

        I also used DE last year and it really helped with the the beetles. I also apply nematodes every year over different parts of my lawn (I have 3 acres). You can get the nematodes from Gardens Alive. This does not at all affect the earth worms. I have lots of earthworms and haven’t noticed any decrease.

      • MaryMook says

        regarding diatomaceous earth. I would wear a mask and disposable gloves. Avoid inhaling it . You dont want it on your clothes or in your hair.

    • David says

      Hi Paula
      I’m having GRUB problems and have heard that diatomaceous earth works well. You indicated that you have used it. Did it get rid of the grubs?
      How did you apply it. I have 2 acres of grass so I’m wondering what to use .
      David

      • says

        David,

        Do some research on Milky Spore for grubs. I’m not making any claims or promises, but some people swear by it. ?????

  30. [email protected] says

    if you have the names of the chemical to get rid of japanese beetles i would like to have them please thank you very much

  31. Rachel says

    I have never had a heavy infestation with these, but I don’t care much for sod anyway, if I pull up anything and I’d see those things, I toss them to the birds, they learned to follow me when I was digging as they knew it meant dinner time! After a couple of years, the population went way down. I think the more pesticide anyone uses in a yard, the more an imbalance occurs in a whole area. My neighbors that sprayed alot, I had more pests in my yard because I did not. Neighbors that do not spray insecticide, I would tend to have less problems in my own yard. (I’ve moved alot) Oh I also would toss them onto hot cement, where they couldn’t reach the ground, that seemed to help also, usually, some critter would get them, they rarely went to waste!! My two cents! :)

  32. Debby says

    Another method of control is to hand pick the beetles from the plants, dropping them into a little tub of soapy water. Granted, it’s slow, but it works. Early in the morning when it’s a little chilly, the beetles are sluggish and it’s easier to nab them. Also on a windy day the beetles are not so sensitive to your moving the flowers or leaves that they’re on. When you see the beetle’s legs rise up, you know that they’re about to let go of the plant and fall to the ground. If you hold your container underneath them, they fall right into the water. In my yard the beetles appear around July 4, just as the second bloom of roses arrives. But this year there were very few. Perhaps it was the heavy rains in March.

  33. Lowell says

    For two years I tried the trap idea. The common Japanese beetle traps I tried didn’t catch a high percentage of those it attracted. When the bag became full it appeared I had accomplished a lot, but in reality not much compared to the ones that got away. And I suspect most of those didn’t leave my property, even though they may have been attracted from neighbors’ property.

    This year I adopted my father’s old method, slightly modified. When a kid I was the designated Japanese beetle trapper. I picked them off the plant and deposited in a jar half-filled with kerosene. However this year I quickly switched from kerosene to water plus a squirt of dish detergent. That kills them almost as quickly. And doesn’t hurt my plants if splashed on the leaves. Next in the arsenal I added a squirt bottle with the same water/detergent. When sprayed, the beetles act like we do when we get soap in our eyes. They are stunned just long enough to allow gathering a group or individuals or pairs on separate leaves.

    Without spray, I could grab a few, but in an instant they sent a message to the others. Their normal defense is to loosen their hold on the leaf, and let gravity take them away from danger. Most will become airborne 6″ to 24″ below the leaf. But some will drop to ground and burrow immediately. About five seconds after being sprayed, they will employ the gravity defense and fly, even with “soap in their eyes.” In five seconds it’s possible to collect a dozen.

    They mark delicious leaves. So more and more are attracted to that leaf. If I don’t use the spray and instead position the jar at the lower end of leaf as I position hand above leaf, they will drop into jar. Their mark remains on leaf and others will be there when I make the rounds next hour.

    Best to wear light colors. Jar is clear. Spray bottle is white. Hat is white. Dark scares them. I think they sense human breath, and connect that with their only natural enemy.

    Rose bushes were a problem because of the briars and thick growth. So I covered with fine netting. How to deal with netting is not programmed into Japanese beetle DNA. So they clutch tightly to the netting and can be picked off without using spray.

    They don’t like rain. So after a rain there are few on the plants. Their activity is temperature related. At cool 75 degrees they are slow and scattered. At hot 90 degrees they are very nervous and numerous.

    In an area about 10′ x 100′ I collected 8 oz. per day starting June 9, 2010. A couple of weeks later I was encouraged when my normal collection dropped to 4 oz. However that new level continued until July 18. Now the new normal is about 2 oz. per day. Hourly collection probably isn’t necessary, but I employed that because I wanted to learn their patterns. At 7 AM there are always very few. Sometimes I wonder if they have spent the night on that leaf. Peak collection is around noon. Last collection is 6 PM.

    I have a young orchard and I can reach most leaves, or slowly bend the branch down to jar and tap gently. But with further tree growth this collection method won’t work because the beetles prefer the highest leaves. I hope I have reduced the number that hatch next year. It is amazing that within one hour a group of six beetles will completely skeletonize a large leaf. Without spraying or collecting, I would have no plums, grapes, cherries, beans or hazelnuts. And I don’t want to spray. Long-term I may try some of the biological methods Mike mentioned.

    • Janice Griffin says

      I really appreciated your post. I concur with many of your observations; I noticed that they become alarmed when I am wearing dark clothing; they like higher spots; the time of day makes a difference. Gratifying to hear from someone who has same interest. I have worn out my converation welcome at home.

  34. HARRY12345 says

    when it rains the grubs come above the ground,spray it isopropyl alchol (available at local pharmacy ) the grubs explode and die,also clorax bleach does the same job but it is less effective and you cannot spray on the plant, but you can spray isopropyl alcohol on the plant..Egg shell repell grubs.
    Make your own insect and japenese bettle trap.Put a potted plant which the insect likes in a large tray of water.Add clorax bleach in the water.When the insects come to eat the plant they get killed in the clorax bleach water.
    Please do not buy asiatic lilys they attaract japanese bettles.Instead plant grass type lilys they do not attract insects.

  35. Susan Biskner says

    Every day I bend the infested rose over a bowl of water to force the Japanese Beetles into the water. They are then helpless and die. Yes, this is like a grain of sand on the beach, but it is chemical free.

  36. DUFLAND says

    If the small grubs are Japanese beetles what are the large grubs that can be about 3/8″ round and an inch long….look alot bigger than a Jap Beetle will ever be?

    • Julie says

      Did you find the larger grubs near Irises? They may be Iris borers as I had them and mistook them for large grubs. I removed the Irises and dug out the borers completely. Stirred in some granular grub control and watered it in really well. I let the hole set empty for awhile before replanting anything.

  37. KathyL says

    I hate to resort to insecticides, but I definitely lost the battle this year with them because I didn’t have enough time. Last year, I took a tall glass with a little water in it and just knocked the bugs in it. They cannot fly out, so I just stepped on them all at once. I caught several hundred that way, and I do see them in the dirt in the spring. It doesn’t seem that the birds will eat them, so they are basically just useless. I have a trailing grape vine that looks like a lace curtain.

    • Karen says

      I have been putting little tubs of beer out for slugs, and am also finding these reddish color bugs in the am.

    • Anonymous says

      Use a grub control with the chemical MERIT in it. I battle moles that tunnel throughout my yard if I don’t apply every other year here in north/central NC. I have 1 1/2 acre yard and it cost me about $400 every other year but it is well worth it. My yard was beautiful this past year.

  38. Robin Gravis says

    Great article. My customers ask what to do with bugs often. I usually just leave them and watch for the predator to show up. Balance and variety of plants has been working out pretty well so far. I have heard about nematodes but have not found any as yet. Still have a couple eco-friendly garden centers to check out.
    Peace:)

    • Steph says

      I much prefer the natural way. If you have a balance, as you say, the rest takes care of itself. Using a chemical will eventually ruin the habitat for the beneficial, as well…and over time destroy the very reason you garden.

  39. Jeri says

    MY neighbor says knock them off in a bucket with some water and a few drop of dish soap. I do this several times a day. They are mating here so they are a bit slower and I can get them. Once they mate they disappear in the soil to lay their eggs around August sometime in the
    midwest. I am in Michigan.

    • David says

      I knock them into a 4- or 5-quart icecream bucket, then scoop them out with my hands and drop them on the floor of my chicken coop. The chickens love them.

  40. Bill says

    One of the best controls that I foound is guinea hens. I keep two hens and one rooster along with the young of the year. I let them roam on my 10 acres. They do not harm anything in the garden but are on patrol all day. First thru the vegetable garden and then thru the flower gardens. They are constantly looking up into the foilage and you can see them give a little jump and they have another Japanese Beetle. Then at night I give them a small amount of grain and in they go for the night. Next day same thing

  41. Peter says

    Japanese Beetles have hit southern Missouri for the first time this summer. They must travel slowly because my friends at the nearby Farmers Market tell me they were worse at their place last year.

    For me, the beetles have been devastating. They have disallowed the production of a single Kentucky Wonder Pole bean! The bean vines are heavy and full and pulling themselves over on their frame but the white flowers are nipped in the bud by the beetles and I’ve had NO beans whatsoever! I saw a tiny bean but it has since disappeared.

    I’ve sprayed Sevin on the bugs with only one day of benefit. I kept spraying but then read that Sevin harms so many beneficial insects and it said NOT TO use it on beans for this reason, so I stopped and attempted to hand harvest all the beetles I could. The best luck I’ve had is using Dawn dish soap mixed with garlic powder and sprayed from a bottle, and even this has only been so-so. I have been unable to stop the Japanese beetles this year and it’s been very discouraging. They’ve attacked my rhubarb plants as well and harmed them substantially. They even got into my lemon balm, something that has had NO insect problems in the past.

    These bugs are a real challenge. They like to eat everything that grows in the Ozarks. Here, we have an abundance of wild grapes. The beetles are skeletonizing every one of them! I only have one grape bush but it has been devoured by the bugs. Plans for a vineyard have been scrapped.

    I wish there was something you could spray on the things and they’d all die in five minutes. If I had such a product I’d use it like crazy. …Any ideas?

    Whoever comes up with this product will get rich!

    • Bill says

      I have had success by spraying with Sevin in the early morning. When spraying in the PM the beetles just fly away, but in the early AM I can kill almost all of them. I use the sevin concentrate in a 3 gal. pressure sprayer. I hope this helps.

      • says

        Please, Please don’t use Sevin! It kills bees, butterflies and any other “good” bug that happens to light on the plant. Mike is right, there are other ways. They love my knock out roses so I give them a sever pruning in late May – no flowers to attract Beatles but they come back fuller and flower in July!
        I’m almost afraid to say this now but so far I haven’t seen a single on e this year! Maybe they are moving farther north.

        • Larry says

          In the Old Black Cross Forest in SE Oklahoma on Lake Eufaula. The beetles aren’t as much a problem for me this year as my neighbor has brought in 25 chickens, at least 5 species, that he lets run. I grow my potatoes with a heavy layer of straw and the chickens love to root around in it. So far, the only damage I’ve encountered is inside the chicken wire screened area where I grew my corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and radish, built to keep the squirrels out. Tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, garlic, onions, cilantro, basil, thyme, spinach, zucchini, cantaloupe, and watermelon all doing well, as are the Scabiosa, Coreopsis, Black Eyed Susan, Marigolds (5 varieties), Hydrangea in deep pink, white and blue, Bearded Iris, Forsythia, miniature and tree roses, Arborvitae, Gardenia, and Spider Wort. Had 4 color varieties of Daffodils this year that filled in the beds in abundance, as did an orange tall tiger lily like flower. Asparagus in the green house are at 8 feet now and will be next year first harvest, with seed starts growing like crazy.
          Hate to spoil it all, but I’m going to have to get after the moles. In their mad search for grubs they have turned my entire property into a sponge! Set traps in their tunnels, but seems they don’t go back to the same ones. In some places they’ve literally pushed plants out of the ground. I’ve got an order in for nematodes, and may augment that with milky spore as the nematodes will increase the spread of the spore to all of the surrounding areas.
          Mike’s tips and information has been a boon for me, and the envy of all the neighbors. The original 12 Scabiosa I bought now number over 150, the single Arborvitae is now 24, and the two Forsythia are now 52, thanks to Mike’s ‘rooted cuttings’ and propagation info. And to think I hated my grandmother because she always wanted me to help her in the garden when I was an adolescent.

    • Deb says

      I was told to get half a dozen guinea hen chicks and raise them; they can be taught to hang around your property (If you are IN TOWN you can’t have them usually) and they will eat everything bug. They are noisy; some people have gone to keeping them as intruder alarm (they say they work better than a chowchow dog). I would love to have some organic automatic bug control but I do live in town and don’t have enough land to get around the ordinance…they are supposed to be wicked on squash bugs.

  42. Rita Luskin says

    This year I thought I was smart and went for the chemical control…. It worked fine BUT, my neighbors did not take the same precaution as I did and their Japanese Beetles came onto my property and really made a mess of my plants… down to the fragile Rose bushes…..
    How can I protect my plants if my neighbors are not taking precautions?

    • Betty Jo Bishop says

      I have used milky spore, but I skipped one year and I got them back. I was also using it during the Spring. I am going to use it in September now. Thank you Mike.

      • says

        Betty Jo, as I understand it Milky Spore lasts a very long time so the more you apply over different areas you keep increasing the coverage area. I’d say just keep making those applications.

        • Nelly says

          Mr:Mike I have a question, my husband and I want to start growing and selling plants next summer. My question is: ebay offers seed for flowers in weird colors. taht i know we can sell the plants very well here in Tx. Can we buy thats seeds from another country??? i hope you can help us :) Thank you!!

          • says

            Nelly, I really don’t know for sure, the person selling the seeds should know what he is or not allow to ship across the border. Many things you really don’t want to grow from seed. It can be slow and you won’t get plants that are true to the parent plant. Flowers are fine, many other things should be done by cuttings. http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm

    • John T says

      Hi guys. These critters are world wide and destroy my seedlings here in Australia. I am going to boil up some neem leaves and use that as a spray. The neem tree is unaffected to my knowledge by any bugs as nothing seems to like the taste of it. Neem tree is of tropical origin so will not grow in frosty areas. Just do a google search and you will find many other uses for it.
      Its a beautiful quick growing tree if your climate suits. I hope this works as I am sick of finding plants destroyed by them.
      cheers

      • Bill says

        I have purchased neem oil at garden supply stores, and found it to be excellent, and very effective. I highly agree with our friend from down under. BTW, when I was in the US Navy, i had the honor to meet sever of the men in Australian Navy. What a great bunch to go on liberty with.

      • Kurt says

        If you don’t mind the chemical ways Sevin dust and sprays are great. They are non-toxic to family animals and people. I’ve even used sevin dust on my dog to control fleas. I will warn you though, it will be toxic to bees and other pollinators.

        • Anonymous says

          But Sevin also kills butterflies,bees and other beneficial insects. I walk around my 1acre shrub border several times a day with my container of soapy water and drop those *****beetles in! Or if not in full swarm pick them off and smash them on my brick edged garden!

      • Deb says

        Just be careful with Neem, if you have ponds, bogs, or any water nearby that has fish in it; the stuff is highly toxic to aquatics!

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