Japanese Beetles

Kathy_in_Maine(Zone 4)July 7, 2006

I was sitting on the deck the other day and looked out across the lawn, it was alive with Japanese Beetles. They must have been hatching that day because they were literally hovering over the lawn, everywhere! Ugh, I never look forward to dealing with these guys, and I think that putting out the bags for trapping only attracts the neighbors beetles to come over too! Now this bug I could definately do without! ( and the cuke beetle too!)


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Arrrgh! These are the world's worst pests. We do put up traps, but I've finally resorted to chemical sprays---something I swore I would never do! The person who finds a natural predator for these critters will have my undying gratitude. We haven't seen any beetles in the Farmington area yet, but I am sure they are on their way. At least my antique roses are just about finished blooming---last year they were totally mangled by the beetles.

Here is a link that might be useful: Joan's Roses

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 8:17AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Hi Kathy and Joan,

I have seen two Japanese Beetles in the last couple of days. I hand-picked and destroyed one but I spared the second because it had a couple of the little white dots on its back that are the eggs of a parasite that will destroy it and breed more parasites that will help to control the Japanese Beetles. The following picture is from this University of Maine web page. Usually you see only one or two eggs on a beetle. This one got really "plastered".

If you click on the link under picture number 34 on the U-Maine Cooperative Extension page linked above, you will scroll down to some interesting information. Apparently the variety of Tachinid fly that attacks Japanese Beetles is called a "Winsome Fly".

So, before you kill a Japanese Beetle, check it for the white eggs of the parasite. They are usually on the thorax but sometimes they have been affixed to the wing covers and occasionally even on the head. Release the JBs with white eggs attached to them and let nature take its course to help control the JBs. Now I usually save myself a little trouble by checking for the eggs before I catch the beetle. Don't confuse the eggs with little white tuft markings on the side of the beetle.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 10:02AM
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Thanks, Maineman. The beetles arrived this past weekend. So far I haven't found any with those nice white dots. It would be wonderful to find a great beneficial control like that. I really hate to spray, but I really hate to see them devour my plants, too.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 11:39AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


I also hate to spray insecticides. I spend quite a bit of time in our garden, so I have time to hand-pick our Japanese Beetles. They're not too hard to catch, and that does give you the opportunity to spare the ones bearing parasite eggs. Every beetle that hatches a parasite will result in the death of several beetles in the next generation.

Knock on wood, but the bio control seems to be working here, at least for the moment. The only Japanese Beetle I saw today had two parasite eggs on his back.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 2:51AM
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They arrived at my house this Sunday. All over my roses!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 10:04AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

So far I am only finding one or two a day. I REALLY hope the grub killer I put on my lawn helped.

But I am optimistic every year when the JBs first arrive. Their numbers always start out small and then build up to infestation. But one can always hope there won't be much more than there are now.

Did I mention I have a rose garden?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 6:56AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

As an update, so far relatively few JBs have showed up here. I hand-picked the ones without white dots. About a third of them had white dots and were spared. Maybe that practice in previous years is "paying off."


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 1:09AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

A few more every day, but not terrible. I'm killing every one I see, except those w/ a white dot. Also about 1/3.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 7:48AM
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I'm getting about 8 per day now.None with spots(thanksM.M)I use an empty marg. tub to collect them,very easy no handling at all .Just put tub under the rose buds and tap the branch with the cover.Hey presto I have them.Josie

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 11:34AM
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daylilylady(z5 ME)

Josie, that's how I caught the JB's that finished off my 'Mallo' and were heading for my 'Rudbeckia'...just twist off the cover of a wide-mouthed jar and tap them right in. I do it so fast, they never have a chance to fly away.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:38PM
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Way to go!Day lilylady.I was worried that they would attack my wonderful new roses"Henry Nevard and Fredric Mistral"(from W.G.).These are gorgeous,fragrant,vigorous roses.NOT for the J.B's dinner.Regards Josie

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 12:57PM
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daylilylady(z5 ME)

Well, unfortunately, the JB became more vigorous and plentiful since I posted last. They ate through my Mallow, Butterfly bush and Monarda...I just couldn't keep up with them. Regretfully,I did resort to spraying the lawn, won't help this year but hopefully will decrease their numbers next year.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 8:02AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


I'm sorry to hear that the JBs became such a problem for you. I find only about 6 a day here, but unfortunately none with parasite eggs for the last week or two.

Just out of curiosity, what did you spray your lawn with? Some people use a Milky Spore biological spray for grub worms, which should include Japanese Beetle grubs.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 9:53AM
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I had loads of them,too much for the marg tub method so I used the bag a bug thing.Well that worked till I had approx 200 bagged and then they hit the roses again.I guess they knew dead buddies were in the bag.Its now replaced with a new one,and I am back to the tub method.I must get some of that Milky spore stuff.Regards Josie

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 6:20PM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

I quit using those bags a few years ago. They have to be placed correctly regarding the prevailing winds, otherwise they may even attract beetles to the garden.
Where I live the wind goes tends to switch around a lot.
My DH started using Scott's seasonal plan for his beloved lawn a few years ago because of grub damage. We've been getting less and less flower damage now too.
I have to tell my neighbor about grubs and Scotts. I happened to look out at her lawn last week...lots of grub damage. Those JPs will be all over my flowers again coming from her yard.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 8:25AM
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