I think Japanese beetles are the bane of many gardeners existence. They can quickly defoliate bushes and plants and not only make them ugly, but weaken them enough to kill them.
Many people know these bugs in their larval stage as grubs in their lawn.While the best control early on is by treating your lawn (organically of course) with a grub control such as BT (a beneficial nemaode).However, that’s not always possible. Especially if none of your neighbors are doing it. They might be gone in your yard, but there is noting that stops them from making a visit from next door and snacking on your plants. They really love anything in the Rose family, which is more plants than you think!
This lacy looking raspberry leave is how Japanese beetles skeletonize your foliage and ruin your plants.
One thing I can tel you to NOT do is use a commercial trap. It actually attracts beetles from the area instead of just taking care of the ones you have!
The best control is actually hand-picking and a trap crop.
One thing I found quite by accident is one thing Japanese Beetles love more than my Raspberries or Roses are Evening Primrose. Evening Primrose is a super common wild flower and it grows in a large part of the US. It has very pretty yellow flowers. Butterflies,bees and birds also love it, and it readily self sows, so just pull the seedlings in the spring, and leave a few plants.
Here is grows between 3 and 5 feet tall and I normally let it come up about 10 feet from the plants in question. While the beetles don’t completely leave my other plants alone, it minimizes the damage they cause. In the Fall, let them go to seed, and either pull the tall plants after the first frost, or leave them for the birds until Spring.
And the Japanese Beetles LOVE it which makes for very easy picking, and they mostly leave my other plants alone.
Hand-picking is the next best form of control, even if you don’t have a trap crop.
Since Japanese beetles also emerge with the urge to mate, you will often times get a two for one, or in the case of a beetle orgy, 5 for one. They aren’t very picky when it comes to that aspect of their life.
They don’t bite, so normally a quick shake of the leaf into a mixture of water and dish soap takes care of the problem. About two tablespoons of dish soap to a cup of water is plenty to send them to a watery grave.
I have found that by using these tips, it is very easy to pop in my garden every few days and do a quick sweep with my soapy jar. This has helped keep my plants fairly clear of Japanese Beetles and lessened my frustration quite a bit!!!
Want to learn more about gardening? And some of my favorite plants to grow?Click here!