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Japanese Beetle Control: 3 Instructions & 3 Control Measures

Japanese beetle perched on a white daisy.

Meet the enemy – Japanese beetle instructions

1. Identify adult Japanese beetles

The adult Japanese beetles measure around 3/8 -4/8 in length. They have a metallic dark green head with dark tan metallic wings. The characteristic features include two rear white colored tufts and five tufts of white lateral hair. There are several species of Japanese beetles which have different features.

The adult stage of Popillia Japonica does have rear and lateral tufts. They are usually found on plants. The adult Japanese beetle of Strigoderma arbicola lacks the lateral tufts and are rarely seen are known as false beetles.Rose chafer have long legs and tan-green color, they are seen on plants.Phyllophagas species called May/June beetle is found on lights. Masked chafer adults are neither found in plants or lights because they do not eat. The smallest of all species Black turf grass is found near rich organic matter.

Two Japanese beetles mating on the petals of a white Rose of Sharon.Adults lay their eggs in July. They feed on Linden trees, vines, ornamentals, and roses. They die off after the intense activity of 7-8 weeks. They lay around 60 eggs and liver for average around 60-70 days. They are attracted towards sunlight over the plants and consume till the leaves. Beetles aggregate onto such leaves due to odor emitted. At evening this odor is no longer present, and females move towards the turf burrow about 3- 4 inches to finally lay their eggs.

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2. Identify the grub stage of Japanese beetles

Japanese beetle grubs or larvae are usually “C” shaped. They feed on roots of grass and are often found in soil. They may also feed strawberries, tomatoes, corns and beans.

Grubs have specific identification feature by the hair pattern on their hind ends also known as (raster). Use a hand lens with ten power; we can quickly identify raster hairs are forming a V shape underneath anal slit. The grubs are fully grown by September. Grubs feed on grass roots and reduce their ability to withstand dry, hot weather and to store water. Areas where larvae infest they have dead patches on greens.Starlings and crows, starlings, moles skunks, and shrews feed upon these larvae and damage the turf areas.Japanese beetle damages on leaf.

Non-Irrigated turf is highly damaged by grub populations which range between 8-16 per square feet area. Irrigated turf can withstand a higher population of larvae may be found in irrigated turf areas which allow easier water compensation for the roots.

3. Damages caused by Japanese beetles

They feed on a variety of crops and plants especially the adult beetles. They most commonly feed upon roses, raspberries, grapes and beans.Many leaves and favored plants are devastated which is a particular sign to identify Japanese beetles. Grubs damage the roots of the grasses in lawns and yards. Plants appear as skeletons; grass starts turning brown.Blossoms look jagged or stunted.

Japanese beetle control measures

1. Natural Japlanese beetle control

Take some precautions: Diseased trees and plants are a source of attraction to Japanese beetles so remove them. Try to keep your garden clean as much as possible. Parasitic wasps or natural predators such as Starlings, robins, crows, sparrows may also help in getting rid of Japanese beetles. During the feeding period protect your gardens from Japanese beetles by Row covers. Put drop cloth on them early in the morning when they are highly active and throw them into the soapy water bucket which will cause them to die. Spray your lawn with water and detergent mixture during the fall and late spring season to avoid the invasion of Japanese beetles.Woman in red boots raking Fall leaves at garden.

General yard clean up: Clean up your yard thoroughly, remove all the dead and rotted leaves, shrubs, trees, general debris and rotten woods.

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Plant alternatives: Try to avoid keeping plants favored by Japanese beetles. Select your plant species carefully so that you can avoid Japanese beetle infestation in your gardens. Following plants are avoided by Japanese beetles: Firs, Oaks, Hemlock, Dogwood, Boxwood, Arborvitae, Magnolia, Lilac, Junipers, Holly, Redbud, Pines, Red maple and Rhododendron.

Improve overall soil health and bioactivity: increase the fertilizers on the ground and improve its bioactivity. Improve your soil by adding insecticides in it which include Imidacloprid or Bifenthrin.

2. Stop them with Japanese beetle traps

They are helpful to control insects in massive amounts, but they may also attract bugs outside your areas which may get difficult for traps to handle. Aromatic chemicals such as Geraniol and Eugenol are plant extracts which attract Japanese beetles along with other insects. These traps contain floral as well sexual pheromone to attract both sexes of Japanese beetles.

3. Control them with Japanese beetle repellant

Pyrethrin based insecticides and neem sprays control the Japanese beetle infestation in our gardens and yards. It helps to get rid of other bugs as well. Many pesticides are available to get rid of Japanese beetles but check the following ingredients before buying any permethrin, carbaryl, and acephate.

Insecticides:

Cartoon illustration of insecticide device icon.Insecticides such as Halofenozide, Imidacloprid, Trichlorfon, and Chlorpyrifos can efficiently help us to get rid of these beetles during their active season, especially from July to September.

Spray or sprinkle some insecticide in morning time before daytime in you garden area which is approved in your locality.Rinse your plants immediately with water if they are about to wilt.

Commonly recommended type of chemical treatment includes Sevin which may be used in powder or liquid form.

Home remedy:

Mix 2 cups of vegetable oil with two tsp of detergent, then add 1/2 cup of water with 2 cups of alcohol to make an emulsifying agent.Put it in a spray bottle and use it after every 10 -20 days.

Combination of milky spore and nematodes:

These two measures are the most recommended actions for pest control in organic gardens maintenance.We can easily maintain our natural laws by readily available commercial pesticides and chemicals but with these simple actions of applying nematodes and milky spores may be helpful to get rid of grubs and insects from your lawn.

Milky spores are fungal diseases when eaten up by larvae population of insects, so they die eventually, but it is an expensive type of treatment. Milky spores should be applied during the fall and spring season when grub is highly active feeding upon grass roots.

Microscopic worms are often called Predatory or beneficial nematodes. They control the population of grub or insect population by causing an infection to the host i.e. insect or grub larvae. They carry a type of bacteria that possess enzymes which are helpful for the breakdown of the internal structure of hosts (larvae or grubs).Their death occurs with 1- 2 days. Predatory nematodes are very beneficial and kill almost 200 types of insects larvae present in our gardens. These nematodes are present in your garden to help you out and are not harmful to pets or humans.Eucalyptus essential oils in glass bottle.

Herbal and organic spray:

  • Use Eastern cedar oil directly from the market. Or make your own at home by few planks of cedar infusing them into 2-3 gallons of hot water for 24-48 hours. Then transfer it into spray bottles and spray it on Roses especially which are highly attracted by Japanese beetles.
  • Try growing plants like Rue, Garlic or Tansy near the desirable plants by Japanese beetles. These plants help in deterring Japanese beetles.
  • Sprinkle some amount of Diatomaceous Earth around your plants to prevent infestation by grubs.
  • In the spring or fall season spray a mixture of washing detergent and water onto the plants to prevent larvae survival.

Hand picking:

The simplest and inexpensive method to get rid of a small number of Japanese beetles is picking them up by bare hands and throwing them up in soapy water containing 1-2 tbsp. Of detergent with water. Bugs are a bit lazy during the morning time, so that is the best period to pick them up.

Neem oil:

Neem oil is removed from a tree; it acts as an antifeedant when sprayed onto the plants against many types of insects especially Japanese beetles.They contain a kind of poison called potassium bicarbonate which when ingested by adults passes onto their new ones causing the larvae to die immediately.  Pesticides which are neem based may also be helpful as they act as insecticidal soaps.

Conclusion

Japanese beetles are destructive pests to our gardens, especially to ornamental plants and turfs. They are found especially in Midwestern and Eastern United States. They feed upon our gardens; destroy our leaves flowers, shrubs making them skeleton like which is the distinctive sign of damage by Japanese beetles. They usually feed upon Apple, Crab Apple, Linden, Japanese maple, Norway MAPLE, Pin Oak; Roses, Birch, and Cherries. We have listed some remedies and tricks natural as well as a chemical to get rid of these nuisance creatures.

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