Red Beetles all over my lawn

snakedocJune 28, 2010

Lately I have been feeling lots of bumps all over my lawn. It feels like you're walking on golf balls. They are little dirt mounds. Tonight I watered the lawn and then went out with a flashlight to see if it stirred anything up, and what I found were tons of red beetles! They are more or less the size of a Japanese Beetle.

My wife also ran into a slew of them while gardening when she dug up some dirt.

What are these? How do I get rid of them?


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I found it! Asiatic garden beetle.

So, what is the best way to rid my lawn and garden of these?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 11:43PM
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They're in the same family as Japanese beetles, but do less damage. They don't carry out mass attacks the way JBs do; the JBs apparently communicate to each other - presumably by scent - when they've found a really tasty morsel, so if you have one happy JB on a rose in the morning you'll have hundreds in the afternoon. This does not happen with AGBs, and unless you're planting corn you may not need to treat for them at all.

They are attracted to light, so people (apparently these are folks with time on their hands) sometimes set up traps for them. Or you could leave the outside light on for a few hours and then pick them off the screen door & drop them into a bucket.

UMass has a fact sheet on them, but I haven't read it yet. I have AGBs in my garden but haven't had much of a problem with them.

Here is a link that might be useful: UMass Ext AGB fact sheet

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 6:34AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

dtd, it is an interesting fact sheet on the beetles but there's no organic solution offered only chemical controls. I found one that is linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: organic alternatives.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:39PM
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Hi, PM2. Yes, I saw that page, too. It says that most infestations don't need to be treated, which I agree with, but then it recommends predator nematodes for heavy infestations - of any kind of white grub. There's at least one university study that says that Asiatic garden beetles are not very susceptible to nematodes, and that only one strain of nematodes has any effectiveness at all on this particular white grub. Whether that strain is available, I'm not sure.

Also, nematodes have to be applied just before the beetles come out of the ground... too late for the OP.

Personally, I've had pretty poor success with nematodes, but I've only tried them on black vine weevils, around some old rhodies that are suffering badly. After about 3 years following the nematode instructions very carefully, I really didn't see any improvement.

BVW are really tough to treat, almost nothing works on them, so maybe nematodes would work better on AGB, if you had the right strain and if you treated the lawn in the late spring.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 11:12AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks DtD for expanding on that information. It amazes me how specific and individual a solution has to be. I liked your suggestion about the light and the screen door. How are your Rhodies doing now? Do you have any particular sites that you visit to look for more information on organic solutions?

I personally have very little experience responding to insects or disease by using any kind of product. I normally will hand pick or ignore or if desperate pull a plant and get rid of it. I pulled out everything in the back five years ago and started from scratch and I'm finding the more variety of plants I add, the more insects and issues I see. Still quite manageable so far. This year, I've started to think I'm seeing some kind of balance out there. But, then again it could just be a good year. [g] I had a huge infestation of earwigs a couple of years ago. I have a lot of part shade and mulch. There were holes in everything and I had to go out trapping them at night for weeks. This year they seem to be under control. I went out 2 nights when they first started and that's it. I wonder if spiders or some other predator are eating them. Aphids seem to be getting a run for their money with lady bugs this year too. I am sure there is going to be something out there that upsets the apple cart so I'm enjoying while I can. [g] I am still dealing with winter moths, but I haven't responded to that yet either. I'm getting more birds in the spring that eat them and the trees seem less damaged this year, so I'm just leaving it. The other pain in the neck I have are red lily beetles. I hand pick but they seem to reappear every year. If I could find an organic product for those, I would try it!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 6:02AM
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Hi PM2 - there's one lab that sells named nematodes (no the individuals aren't named, but you order the exact kind you want, unlike the way GardensAlive! sells them).

My rhodies are a lost cause, I'm just ignoring the telltale notches cut into the leaves and hoping for the best. I may cut them way back this winter to make them less of an eyesore and to make it possible to trap the weevils (folded up burlap under the plant is supposed to work, the adults climb into the folds in the morning so you can dispose of them).

I'm with you on not reaching for a "product" whenever I see bugs!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 7:20AM
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scpearson(5 NE CT)

I had never seen these until 3 years ago. They didn't touch my lawn, but ate all my beautiful lilies. I dunked the bugs in soapy water when I found them. When they came back with all their friends the next year, I pulled all the lilys out. They are gone now. I don't know what you can do about your lawn. They didn't touch anything else in my flower, vegetable or herb gardens.
Susan in NE CT

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 12:59AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Susan: The red lily leaf beetle is a whole different scourge but can be defeated. See the FAQ on How do I keep the red lily leaf beetle from destroying my lilies?


    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 1:06PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I'm so hoping that the parasitic wasps released in states near me will flourish and wipe out the red lily beetles. Time will tell I guess.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 2:33PM
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scpearson(5 NE CT)

Thanks, Claire. I didn't know they were different. Since I got rid of their food supply, they moved on. I hope I won't have them again. They destroyed the plants in a blink of the eye.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 11:39PM
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I make nightly forays into my small garden and collect 2-3 dozen Asiatic garden beetles each night. Not a lot, but collecting them makes a difference. A couple nights ago I discovered that several beetles had gotten themselves trapped in an empty seedling tray with 2" deep sections with straight sides. Then this morning I discovered 3 more of them in a stainless steel 2-Tablespoon measure with straight up sides about 1" high. It was sitting in the grass. They couldn�t get out. Apparently, they need some take-off room to get airborne, and they couldn�t climb the slippery sides. To encourage the beetles to the tray traps I put a solar light nearby. Whether or not this method will catch a significant number of beetles, I don�t know, but it�s worth a try. Be sure to weight the seedling tray so it doesn�t blow away and dump the beetles.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 10:35PM
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