Controlling Japanese Beetles

poolecw(Georgia 7b)July 11, 2014

What do you guys do to help control Japanese Beetles? They are destroying my grape vines. I spray the beetles with some Garden Safe insecticidal soap every evening when I get home from work but it doesn't prevent more from eating my leaves when I"m away.

This is by far the worst year I have encountered for japanese beetles.

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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Get some milky spore.

It's a powder you sprinkle over the lawn and garden. The "spores" go into the ground and multiply and eat and kill the JB larvae. They will only affect next year (and the following year's) bugs though.

I did it years ago and haven't had a problem with JB ever since (knock on wood).

When you look for milk spore, check the amount of active ingredient. The cheap stuff will have a very low amount. I don't recall the actual numbers but it's something like 1% for the cheap stuff and 30% for the expensive stuff.

When I did it, they were selling little hand held shakers for 5 bucks or so of 1% and big bags of the 30% for 80 bucks. I went with the $80 version and spread it with my lawn spreadder.

If you can swing it (and you can find it), get the big, expensive bag of 30% active ingredient material. It will be worth it in the long run.

(again, all those numbers above are just guesses from memorry)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


Last week I sprayed Spectracide Once and Done on all my fruit trees and Killed about 200 JBs. I have been checking the leaves on all the trees for a week now but all the Jbs were gone. I think the remaining JBs died each time they took a bite at the leaves.


This post was edited by tonytran on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 14:36

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:31PM
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alan haigh

Spectracide may lose some potency in the Georgia heat this time of year. Sevin is the standard go-to for Jap beetles- except where you may destroy beneficials and get mite outbreaks, like with apples. The gov is cool with people eating it as it can even be used on the day of harvest, I believe..

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 5:20PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Has anyone tried lures put far away from the orchard?

I grow everything they adore, so it might not be possible for me to attract any more than I already do, lol. I'm actually serious about that. I didn't even expect them to like the orchard foliage given everything else I grow that they already eat. I wonder if I could just attract them away from the orchard part? I hate them so much!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


You can buy a BAG A BUG system and hang it 50 yards away from your orchard. They will fall in the bag by the hundreds in the matter of an hour. One draw back, the whole neighborhood Jbs will come to your trap.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:09PM
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Hi Harvestman...been a silent fan of your's for a long time. Lurked here for years...finally joined tonight. Carbaryl is without a doubt the "go to" for Japanese beetles. Triazicide has nothing on Carbaryl where J.beetles are concerned...that's for sure. Knocks 'em dead.
PHI on common fruits is 3 days, most citrus is 5. Is Carbaryl also the "go to" for commercial orchardists as well?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:19AM
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alan haigh

The latest notice I got from Cornell recommended Sevin for stonefruit and the neonicinoid, Assail, for apples.

Triazide may have an advantage over Sevin in holding them back for longer. Sevin needs weekly application to keep up with a JB infestation. A mix might be the ticket with Sevin providing the big knock out punch.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:05AM
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If you do the traps replace the bags every 2 days. The bait attracts them to your yard, but the dead bugs in the bag have a repelling effect. So use that to your advantage. put the bags of dead bugs in your plants. It's not 100% but makes a difference.

I like to go out in the morning a mash as many as possible on the leaf they are eating as a repellent. It clearly has an effect if your operation is small enough to do this.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:40AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Notice on dead JBs in bag..they stink really bad. I did that in the past. They get this fish smell to them. Not good!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:23AM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

JB are hard to kill I used 60% JB become almost motionless several hours before death. The time as I remember was 7 days wait on Blackberry picking. In link page 8 and 9 show small fruits for product in link time to harvest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sevin

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 1:43PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Thanks, y'all about the bags. I do use Sevin, but I'd rather use it less, and I want to cut the breeding population down as much as possible. I have too much space to get enough Milky Spore, although I might do it in the orchard at least.

I might try some sticky traps, too, lol! The way they group on my roses, particularly, I bet they'd just stick there in droves and could be thrown away like that.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:32PM
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I can tell you a method that works (used it myself) and does the most damage to the population long-term. You have to keep up on it but I saw my numbers drop like crazy from year 1 until this year, year 4.

Before I started I had bugs eating evening in site. We moved in our house and in the first summer these beatles were everywhere. They ate everything in site. Year 2 in the house started off the same. I got a total of 4 of those bug bags traps and set them up around the yard. At first I was replacing the bags 3 times a day and sometimes waking up in the morning to find the bags overflowing. As the season went on they just kept coming and I could never keep up. I just replaced when I could. This was attracting every beatle in the neighborhood to my house. Close to the end of the growing season I did a sample in the yard to find about 10-15 grubs in an average size bareroot hole. That's when I bought Sevin granules for the yard and applied right before fall. I did this site to the fact the grubs start to burrow deeper as weather gets colder. Starting the next spring I did another round of Sevin, fall one more, etc. I now notice I have little to no grubs in the soil and only having to deal with a handful of Beatles a day. Not bad if you ask me. This year has been the worst in the last 4 but I also didn't apply Sevin this spring.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:20PM
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Gator...I should have been more clear; when I stated "common fruits" I was speaking of Tree fruits like apple, pear, peach, plum, nectarine and so forth. I'm sure blackberries PHI is longer. I think this mostly has to do with the texture of the fruit. Berries have alot of nooks and crannies the Sevin can persist in, therefore, to be safe they add days. Also probably the ratio of external skin to the total fruit mass. Smaller fruits with rougher textures need more time.
Same with citrus...nobody wants a slice of lemon in their ice water with remnants of insecticide on the skin.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:12AM
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alan haigh

This seems like a pretty good guide to chemical control of grubs in lawns. Seems to me that Sean's success may be coincidental or unique to his site, however- J. beetles are very cyclical. It seems doubtful that he destroyed the population throughout his neighborhood by trapping.

Here is a link that might be useful: chemical control of grubs in lawns

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:01AM
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Harvestman, not really by trapping, but by getting them into the yard and those that weren't trapped more than likely mated. Since the bait was in my yard I assumed they were laying their eggs there. I confirmed by doing that dig and seeing a huge increase (about 3 times as many) in the grub population. Since I applied the Sevin I rarely see a grub in the yard and the last couple years I would only pick of about 5-10 beatles a day. Now mind you I don't trap anymore, just control with Sevin. Before this the first 2 years I would probably pick off about 30-40 per day and by the time I hit the end of my routes I would start from the beginning again since they seemed to appear out of no where.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:59AM
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