Japanese Beetles

pyrmommaFebruary 5, 2006

Did anyone else have an influx of those pesky varmits last year? I've been living on this farm for 5 years and I'd never seen them till last year! What to do? They ate up my roses and lots of foliage from my trees and plants! Don't want them back! Any suggestions? I've heard that milky spore is a good thing? Has anyone used it? Thanks! Janet

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raven20(z7 NC)

Actually, I thought last year was better than usual with less japanese beetles. They appear in Raleigh right around July 1.

I've tried a little of everything over the years but what definitely doesn't work is those bags that people hang in their yards. It just attracts beetles from everywhere and doesn't diminish the attacks on your plants. Milky spore will work if you have a lot of land that you can treat or if you can get your neighbors to use it also. Otherwise, they'll just fly in from nearby yards. It takes a few years to have an effect.

If you're not adverse to using pesticides liquid Sevin works very well. It works extremely well on trees. I don't like spraying it on roses because I'm more afraid of poisoning birds that feed on them. I pick them off and put them in soapy water to kill them. Other years I just let the roses go for a month then trim them back a bit to stimulate new growth and enjoy them the remainder of the summer.

This web site provides a good review of the options for treating japanese beetles:

I'm afraid that once you start seeing them, they're there to stay.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 11:29AM
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In my weed area (where I haven't gotten to planting yet) I had what I think was a yellow loosetrife grow. It was a pretty plant so I let it stay. That plant was a Japenese Beetle magnet. Luckily the plant was in the back corner so I didn't mind if the JBs were there. It seemed to keep them off my other plants except for the wild blackberry bushes which are also back there. I hope another of those plants grows up in that area this year. As it is I took as many of the seeds off the plant (not wanting it to spread), so I might just put some of those out there and on the empty lot next door. I hate to spread weeds around but this one seems to keep the JBs from all my good plants.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 4:40PM
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efam(z7b GA)

I've used Sevin on my cherry trees when there are hundreds of them eating all the tender leaves. Sometimes I will pick them off, too.
My cannas where a little different last year...I put Sevin dust on the leaves to keep the beetles from eating them and they died and fell between the leaves. After a couple of rain storms, the sevin dust was gone and I didn't have any beetles on them for about a month. It seemed as though the dead beetles detered the other beetles from my cannas. (I think I saw that on a Georgia forum, too.)
This year, I plan to put a bird feeder in each one of my trees...and even though this is might be silly, I'm thinking about taking a thin piece of net and filling it with dead beetles and tying it to the branches of my trees (where you can't see them of course). I'll really put the dead beetle scent to test then...
I just hate to use Sevin b/c it kills all the lady bugs and butterflies.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:56PM
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I like the idea of the dead beetles, efam. It's certainly worth a try.
As for those bag thingies...we live in the country and I placed 2 of them far away (200-300 feet) from the house and plants. The idea was to 'lure' them away from the good stuff. They worked pretty well I have to say, so plantmomma, you might try this since you're also a country girl. You will have a bag full in no time which you can then drown in water with detergent & then re-hang the bag. It seemed like they flocked to those bags & mostly stayed away from my Jap maples, cannas, and garden ornamentals & flowers. The few that I had near the house & garden I could pick off & destroy. Raven is right about the bags not working well in a typical back yard.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 11:02AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

All of my neighbor's japanese beetle prone plants serve as my 'traps'. She has roses, dreaded purple plums, and other JB favorites. Her yard is picked clean during those summer weeks while I might see one beetle a day.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 9:19AM
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Rhizo, you may be on to something. We should just give our neighbors some nice stuff the JB's like.

By the way, did you ever find any bonsai supplies in Huntsville? I swear I saw a bonsai place in Owens Cross Roads as I whizzed through there Saturday. (Sorry to hijack the thread for another topic.)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 5:12PM
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I had a Japanese Beetle problem. 2 years ago I found a female Praying Mantis on a tennis court. I transplanted her to my rose garden and POOF No more Japanese Beetles. I also have had serious problems with Japanese Beetles on my Crape Myrtles..A Nursery worker told me to put down insect control granules all around the base of the plants in Fall and spring..I did this and no more Japanese Beetles..Apparently they lay their eggs near food. And they come back in greater numbers the next year...Putting down the insect control kills the underground larve...

I had tried seven powder, reapplying everytime it rained, insect spray, and those yellow "Japanese Beetle traps" The first time I put out a trap I actually was getting dive bombed by beetles trying to get to the trap...I later found out that the traps attract the Beetles by scent and the purpose of the trap is to get the beetles to fly inside where they fall into water and drown. The nursery worker told me that the trap attracts beetles and that many of them do not end up in the trap...They then lay their eggs in your yard because of the scent from the trap and make your beetle problem worse the next year..Putting the insect control granules on the ground in Fall and Spring and the Praying Mantis did the trick.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 10:11AM
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we had more last year than I have ever seen and stayed around for months instead of weeks. I put the bags on each corner of my yard and caught thousands of them. the bags would fill up in one or two days! they would look like hornets around a nest! It kept most of them off my roses and I sprayed Sevin on my peach tree. I read that they only fly about 30 feet (or yards - I know that is a big difference, but I don't remember which) from where they leave the ground so you could theoretcially space them apart enough to get a large percentage.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 12:32PM
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I've just found a Japanese beetle on my new raspberry canes. I've never seen this before and wonder what is the best way of dissuading from eating my soft fruit?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 5:07AM
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nina - hand picking and throwing into soapy water. they are easy to grab and/or knock into the bucket. That's what we have been doing.

Berries are a favorite along with zinnias, roses and really just about anything that has leaves to eat. Our wild blackberries are affected this year along with my zinnias and crepe myrtles.

4 o'clocks (and other plants) are a trap crop that is poisonous to them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Beetles

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:47PM
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LOL Rhizo, you could have been talking about me. Actually I just gave away my knockouts and don't miss them one bit. Nice plant but I had several issues, one of them being the beetles.

Before that, my preferred method was paying the kids ten cents a beetle to collect them in soapy water. They loved doing that and they made pretty good money.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 1:03PM
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I had to revisit this issue. I believe it was in 2006, the JBs filled up 27 of the bags in 5 days at my house. I used the bags, soapy water, and squished them. The next year one bag wasn't filled up (actually I used milkjugs instead of the bags). Since that time I have had very few beetles. I haven't had any this year although a friend is being terrorized by them in her yard. I figure I killed millions of future JB's that year. I probably killed them in the whole neighborhood!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 12:17PM
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