Japanese Beetles

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 3.8 of 5 (17 votes)

Here are tips on how to identify and get rid of Japanese beetles.

What are Japanese Beetles?

Japanese beetles are small pests that carry a big threat. They do not discriminate on what types of plants to feed on, in fact, they are classified as a pest to hundreds of different species. They are one of the most major insect pests in the Eastern and Midwestern US, causing monumental damage to crops each year. Native to Japan, they were first documented in the US in 1919, and have since spread across the country.

How to Identify Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles are ½ inch in length and metallic blue-green with tan wings, with small white hairs lining each side of the abdomen. They lay eggs in the soil during June, which develop into tiny white grubs. These grubs will remain under wraps for about 10 months and overwinter and grow in the soil. They emerge from the soil as adult beetles and begin feeding in June. They usually attack plants in groups, which is why damage is so severe. Although the lifecycle of the adult Japanese beetle is barely 40 days, it can cover a lot of ground. Look for leaves that are “skeletonized” (only have veins remaining). This is a tell-tale sign of Japanese Beetles.

How to get rid of Japanese Beetles

  • Try to select plants that Japanese Beetles will not be attracted to. See our list of Best and Worst Plants for Japanese Beetles.
  • In the grub stage of late spring and fall (beetles have two life cycles per season), spray the lawn with 2 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap diluted in 1 gallon of water per 1,000 square feet. The grubs will surface and the birds will love you. Spray once each week until no more grubs surface.
  • Unfortunately, the most effective way of getting rid of Japanese beetles is to hand pick them. It's time consuming, but it works, especially if you are diligent.
  • You can also purchase parasitic nematodes (most garden centers have them) and drench the soil around the area where you have the problem.
  • Neem oil and sprays containing potassium bicarbonate are somewhat effective.
  • Put down a dropcloth and, in the early morning when they're most active, shake them off and dump them into a bucket of soapy water. They will not survive.

 

Related Articles

More Articles:

Comments

Is it o.k. to use the remedy

By Keith Etzel on April 15

Is it o.k. to use the remedy of two tablespoons of dishsoap in a gallon of water around fruit trees and blueberry bushes. I did not know if it would do anything to the trees.

Hi Keith, The dishsoap mixed

By Almanac Staff on April 18

Hi Keith,

The dishsoap mixed into a gallon of water is not going to harm your bushes or trees.

Is there something that can

By Timothy Hager

Is there something that can be added in the spring when tillilng soil that will help control the grubs that turn into the Beatle

Hi Timothy,   Milky spore

By Almanac Staff

Hi Timothy,

 

Milky spore powder and beneficial nematodes are a natural way of getting rid of grubs in the soil. Check your local garden center or do a quick search online to find out more about how to use them.

This year my peony brushes

By Carol Syracuse

This year my peony brushes grew usually long stems, them many of them twisted and curled around. On those stems the blossom grew but turned brown and of course never blossomed.

Do you have any ideas?

Please visit the peony page:

By Almanac Staff

Please visit the peony page: http://www.almanac.com/plant/peonies

I was told to get rid of

By Richard Williamson

I was told to get rid of Japanese Beetles to spray your plants with a mix of 2 tbls of vanilla extract and water.
They are on my rosé bushes and just showed up in the last 2 days.
Is this been tried by anyone?

We haven't heard this.

By Almanac Staff

We haven't heard this. However, you want want to cover your roses with cheesecloth or a fine netting during the peak of beetle activity.
If you find that natural solutions don't work, repeated chemical applications (malathion or sevin) are really the best control against Japanese beetles.

I saw a video where the

By Anne Peacock

I saw a video where the beetle ate a slug, so they aren't all bad.

you might change your mind

By arione

you might change your mind when you find all of your beautiful formerly healthy plants dying and stripped of leaves. Like mine. :(

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Links to specified hosts will have a rel="nofollow" added to them.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.