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Thursday, October 25, 2012

4 Ways to Prevent Japanese Beetles

Jessica Walliser
Hobby Farms Contributor

When you begin seeing Japanese beetles in your garden, don't ignore them! Immediately start squashing them or knocking them in soapy water. Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jessica Walliser
When you begin seeing Japanese beetles in your garden, don't ignore them! Immediately start squashing them or knocking them in soapy water.

In researching an article I recently wrote, I came across some interesting information about preventing Japanese beetles in the garden. I thought I might share the advice with you now so you'll be better prepared to battle them next season.

1. Don't ignore the newly emerged adult Japanese beetles.
Although they live for only 30 to 45 days, the adult Japanese beetles can cause significant damage in that short amount of time. They feed and mate in groups, and as they feed, they release attracting pheremones to lure more beetles to feed and breed on choice plants. This means that early and frequent hand-picking goes a long way toward preventing massive population levels. Knock the adults into soapy water or squash them.

2. Forget Japanese-beetle traps.
Research at several universities shows that pheremone and floral scent-based beetle traps lure in far more Japanese beetles than they actually trap, causing heavier feeding in areas where the traps are located. Either don’t use them, or place them several hundred feet from the yard and garden.

3. Quit watering.
Not only do the female Japanese beetles need soft, damp soil to tunnel down and lay their eggs, but the eggs and young grubs themselves need moisture to thrive. Don’t water your lawn when the females are laying eggs in mid to late summer. Instead, allow your lawn to go naturally dormant in summer’s heat. You’ll be reducing next year’s beetle population.
4. Don't overdo lawn care.
Japanese beetle grubs tend to cause the biggest problems in lawns that are fed excessive amounts of chemical fertilizers and are frequently but shallowly irrigated. Egg-laying female beetles are attracted to the lush, green growth of over-fertilized lawns, and both excessive fertilizer applications and shallow irrigation encourage the roots of turf grass to remain only within the top few inches of soil. Such a shallow root system is far more prone to damage from grub feeding than lawns with deeper, more extensive root systems.

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4 Ways to Prevent Japanese Beetles

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Reader Comments
Great tips.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 10/4/2013 11:51:18 PM
Funny, Japanese beetle cost me quite a few cents years back when my two oldest were 6 & 7 years old. Before I left for work I asked them to pick the Japanese beetles off my plants and I will pay them 10 cents for each Japanese beetle. They each came up with around twenty five each! I asked them if they did the neighbors also. But, no they didn't. Next time I had to lower my pay in half. Interesting they didn't complain.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 10/31/2012 3:10:05 PM
I do three of the four. We don't use any chemicals on our lawn. We never have, never will. With the exception of this past summer's drought, I don't water my garden. And I go out to my garden in the early morning and at dusk to handpick the beetles off the plants. I've found early morning and dusk best because they don't fly during those times of the day. It makes it much easier to pick them off. This past summer we bought traps. I've heard conflicting advice on whether or not to use them. We decided to give them a try and we put one by the apple trees and one by the garden. We felt the traps helped. Another thing I've discovered is that they love broccoli. By the time the beetles arrive, my broccoli production is starting to dwindle. I leave my broccoli plants in the garden and use them as the sacrificial lambs. The beetles attack the broccoli while leaving other nearby plants alone. It works well.
Annie, Fulton, IL
Posted: 10/26/2012 11:22:46 AM
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