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The Japanese beetles, also called invasive species, were initially found in the United States in 1916. And, until 1916, they were only restricted to the boundaries of Japan and were not a major threat.
The Japanese beetles feed on the leaves, flowers, and fruits of more than 300 types of plants. They carry a great threat to your plants. They are the pests of turfgrass that chew the grassroots, due to which the turf blows up and eventually dies out.
The good news is that there are various ways to get rid of these quite harmful insects. This article discusses how to prevent Japanese beetles and the best insecticide for Japanese Beetles.
What Are Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles are approximately 1/3 inch long. They have a green metallic head and copper brown wings. The abdominal sides have five patches of white hair. However, the tip of the abdomen only has two white patches of hair.
Although, the larvae of a Japanese beetle look very different from an adult beetle. It has a tan-colored can with a C-shaped body, and the head is a darker shade of tan. The legs of larvae are prominent and easy to see. Learn all about the best insecticides for Japanese beetles and get rid of them.
What Attracts Japanese Beetles to Your Yard?
Japanese beetles are most active during the warmest summer months between mid-June to late August for adults and fall and late spring for larvae.
The adult beetles devour nearly all forms of plant life, while their younger grub counterparts ravage grass and other roots from below the soil.
Japanese beetles are primarily attracted to rotting and overripe plants; therefore, keeping your garden or lawn healthy is vital. Promptly remove diseased or otherwise dying trees, plants, fruits, and vegetables before they attract more beetles to your yard.
Understanding Japanese Beetle Life Cycle
The easiest time to kill is late summer and early fall during warm weather when Japanese beetles are close to the surface.
The larvae move deeper underground throughout the winter, continually growing and maturing. During the warmth of spring, they migrate toward the surface, but now they are bigger and more challenging to eradicate.
To effectively kill or prevent them, you must understand the Japanese beetle life cycle. Watch the video to understand the Japanese beetle life cycle better.
How to Prevent Japanese Beetles
The prevention measures for Japanese beetles depend on the landscapes and climate. Moreover, mature trees do not require any spray treatment, as they have a tolerance for pests. They will leaf out the damage eventually.
And, if Japanese beetles are damaging your garden or lawn, or you are just looking for ways to prevent that from happening, here are effective ways to get rid of Japanese beetles naturally.
Remove by Hand
Handpicking Japanese beetles from your garden or lawn is one of the most effective approaches to getting rid of these pests naturally. It can take you some time; however, the impact it can have on the health of your plants is well worth the effort.
When you notice the first sign of infestation on the vegetation, the number of Japanese beetles is less in number. You can take them out by hand and destroy them. For maximum results, do this in the early morning when Japanese beetles are usually the most active.
Tips for Removing Japanese beetles by Hand:
- Using gloves, pluck the beetles from your plants, grass, and other plant life,
- Be careful not to crush or squeeze them because doing so could attract more Japanese beetles.
- And immediately dispose of them by dropping them in a bucket of soapy water with 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap for 1 gallon of water.
Adopt Guinea Fowl
Having a few Guinea fowl graze your garden and lawn is an excellent solution to getting rid of Japanese beetle naturally, according to experts from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Guinea fowl are natural grazers as they will eat weed seeds, insects, and worms. They are relatively easy to keep and quite efficient in keeping your lawn and gardens clean of insect pests.
However, Guinea fowl are not for everyone because they are very loud and never shut up. In that case, you can find ways to attract ducks and other birds to your yard that will do the trick.
Pros Tips On Using Birds to Remove Japanese Beetles:
- Spray your entire garden or lawn with a soapy mix of 2 tablespoons of dish soap to 1 gallon of water to force Japanese beetle larvae to the surface.
- And then attract these hungry birds.
- Do this in fall and late spring, when Japanese beetles are in the larval stage of their life cycle).
- Repeat this process weekly until no more larvae emerge from the soil.
Avoid Plants That Attract Japanese Beetles
Exclude the large plantation of plants that are known to attract the beautiful but destructive Japanese beetles.
Careful selection of plant species when adding or replacing your garden or lawn is the key to avoiding annual battles with Japanese beetles, according to experts from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
However, if you want to plant them, then plant them with the plants that Japanese beetles are not tempted to attack.
Here is a list of the least and most favored plants by Japanese beetles; use this list to help you select plants that the Japanese beetles tend to avoid.
Remember that Japanese beetle adults are difficult to control, but you can limit their impact by selecting plants they most likely dislike.
|Least Favored Plants By Japanese Beetles||Most Favored Plants by Japanese beetles|
– Euonymus sp. (burning bush, etc.)
– Northern red oak
– Red and silver maples
– Tulip poplar (tuliptree)
|– American and English elm|
– Black walnut
– Japanese and Norway maple
– London planetree
– Malus spp. (crabapple, apple)
– Mountain ash
– Pin oak
– Pussy willow
– Prunus spp. (flowering cherry)
– Virginia creeper
Japanese Beetle Traps
Using Japanese beetle traps is another way to get rid of the Japanese beetle. You can find these traps in many garden centers and online on Amazon.
These traps attract beetles with two types of baits. The first bait mimics the scent of virgin female beetles, which is highly attractive to males. The second bait is a sweet-smelling food-type trick that draws both sexes.
With this combination of ingredients, Japanese beetle traps can draw thousands of beetles in a day.
Unfortunately, a study conducted at the University of Kentucky revealed that the traps attract many more beetles than are actually caught.
Therefore, sensitive plants on the flight path of the beetles and nearby the traps are likely to suffer much more damage than without traps installed.
If you are using Japanese beetle traps, ensure to place them well away from gardens and landscape plants.
How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles in the House
One of the most destructive pests for plants is the Japanese beetle. They need soil to reproduce, but when the outdoor fields are too crowded or are sprayed with the best insecticides for Japanese beetles, then they tend to fly inside and feed on houseplants.
If you want to find out how to get rid of Japanese beetles in the house when they fly indoors, then there are some remedies that you can try to get rid of them.
1- Neem Oil
One of the best naturally occurring pesticides is neem oil. It is a yellow-brown liquid with a slightly bitter taste and a garlic smell.
It attacks their hormone system, which makes it difficult for Japanese beetles to reproduce.
Pros Tips on Applying Neem Oil:
- Apply every 7 to 14 days on your vegetation.
- Don’t use it near rivers, lakes, and ponds because neem can be damaging to fish and other aquatic life; therefore.
- Remember to apply it after it rains.
Japanese beetles are attracted to geraniums; however, they are toxic for Japanese beetles. It poisons their system and can lead to paralyzation or even the death of these beetles.
You have the option to plant a geranium in your garden or use a geranium spray to get rid of the Japanese beetles. You can also plant geraniums close to more valuable plants you wish to save from the damage of Japanese beetles.
3- Beneficial Nematodes
You need a natural remedy to target the underground larvae as well. Beneficial Nematodes are tiny worms that have the ability to seep into the ground and attack over 200 pests. Bacteria are released into the bloodstream of the larvae. The bacterias reproduce asexually in the bloodstream and eventually kill the grubs.
For best results, add nematodes into your soil in late August or early September to attack the next cycle of beetles for the subsequent year. While this is the optimal approach, you can add nematodes to the soil at any time as long as you water your soil sufficiently.
Pros Tips on Applying Beneficial Nematodes:
- Put the nematodes in a bucket of water or a spray,
- Let them soak for a minute or two,
- And then properly coat your garden with them.
- Preparations comprising the Heterorhabditis species appear to be the most effective.
What Are The Best Insecticide for Japanese Beetles
A good pesticide can kill both the larvae that live underground and adult beetles. The larvae are the easiest to kill during late summer, and early fall as that is when it is close to the surface and not deep within the ground.
The best insecticide for Japanese beetles must be able to kill it in every phase of their life cycle.
If you want to learn about some of the best insecticides for Japanese beetles, then here are some pesticides that will help you combat the cosmetic damage caused by them to the plants;
The best insecticide for Japanese beetles is Demand CS. This pesticide can kill over 30 pests, including Japanese Beetles. Just a single bottle of the insecticide can make up to 20 gallons of the solution.
You can get demand CS at your local garden store and online on Amazon (Here’s a link)
It is a quick knockdown and is used to control several pests. This insecticide has a great residual impact.
You can get Crossfire Concentrate at your local garden store and online on Amazon (Here’s a link).
Organic 100% Neem Seed Oil
The active ingredient in this is neem oil. It is 100% natural and effective.
You can shop for organic 100% neem seed oil at your local hardware store or online on Amazon (Here is a link)
This is one of the best insecticides for Japanese beetles as it is also able to kill the larvae. Just one bag of this can last for a whole year.
Here’s a link to buy Merit granules on Amazon or visit your local garden store.
One bag of this insecticide can cover up to 10,000 square feet and can last for up to 4 months. It contains an active ingredient, Chlorantraniliprole.
Here’s a link to buy Merit granules on Amazon or visit your local garden store.
Homemade Recipe with Water and Soap
Homemade Recipe with Water and Soap is an excellent all-natural Japanese Beetle pesticide.
- Mix 4 tablespoons of dish soap with 1/4 of water inside a spray bottle.
- Spray on any beetles you notice on or around your garden and lawn.
What Birds Eat Japanese Beetles?
If you are looking for what birds eat Japanese beetles, then birds are the natural enemy of Japanese beetles. Some of the birds that can eat both the larvae and the adult beetle are
- English sparrow
- Blue Jays
- Wild Turkeys
- And Cardinals
What Animals Eat Japanese Beetles?
Here is a list of animals that eat Japanese beetles; it includes some of the predators of Japanese beetles, such as:
- And Moles
Overall, Japanese beetles pose a great threat to gardeners, but you can prevent or kill them with remedies and the best insecticides for Japanese beetles.
Here’s the best way to prevent Japanese beetles from taking over your garden or property.
- Remove by Hand
- Adopt Guinea Fowl
- Avoid Plants that Attract Japanese Beetles
- Japanese Beetle Traps