The Japanese beetle, also known as the jitterbug, is a beetle with a shiny copper-colored elytra and a green top for its thorax and head.
In Japan, this type of beetle is not destructive because its population is controlled by natural enemies; however, in the United States and other Western countries, it is a serious pest that destroys grapes, rose bushes, crape myrtles, canna, and other plants.
Japanese beetles damage plants by eating the surface but leaving the veins in place. This results on an alarming conclusion known to experts as the “transparent leaf” effect. Once this insect congregates, a swarm can destroy landscapes in days. Japanese beetles are voracious species of pestiferous insects.
While the adult Japanese beetle can destroy landscapes, the Japanese beetle grub is also adept at damaging properties, such as lawns and turfs.
Japanese Beetle Control
Japanese beetles even in large congregations are not impossible to eliminate. Primarily because of their destructiveness, experts have developed strategies for controlling them. The following recommendations are conventional but proven techniques for controlling and eliminating Japanese Beetles:
- Pick Japanese beetles off plants. During the early morning hours, when the beetles are cold and sluggish, you should try to manually collect adult beetles in your garden. Go to your garden with a bucket of soapy water and pick Japanese beetles off individually, then drown them in the bucket. This approach to pest control is particularly effective during seasons when Japanese beetles are fewer in numbers and less active.
- Use insecticidal soap to eliminate Japanese beetles. If the first technique does not suit you, try using insecticidal soap. The solution involves a very thin mixture of household soap combined with tap water. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and begin the prevention and elimination process.
- Spray both the top and bottom portions of the leaves to ensure a thorough pest control. Insecticidal soaps, however, can kill beneficial bugs and arthropods (mites) as well.
- Use netting devices to keep Japanese beetles away. During seasons when Japanese beetles are prevalent, use nets to cover ornamental and vegetable gardens. This is an effective way to protect plants from pests, especially from Japanese beetles that eat plants from top to bottom. Once Japanese beetles land on net-protected plants, they would often decide not to stick around and penetrate the covers but rather search for locations with a viable food source. Also, Japanese beetles do not release attractants if they cannot feed themselves, sparing you from an infestation.
- Use Neem oil products to eliminate Japanese beetles. If you feel like netting is unreliable, you can always try Neem oil to get rid of Japanese beetles. Neem oil acts in two ways. It is both an insecticidal soap and an antifeedant. The first usage eliminates Japanese beetles through direct contact, while the second usage transforms the plants to distasteful treats for adult Japanese beetles. Neem oil is a double prevention solution that is proven effective.
- Insecticides or pesticides kill Japanese beetles immediately and efficiently. Insecticides should be used as a last resort for pest control. Pesticides can cause negative reactions from humans and should be used carefully.
- Learn which products are best for your plants. There are various pesticides that can control both adult Japanese beetles and Japanese beetle grubs. It is important that you have sufficient knowledge on what product is best for certain types of plants. Ask hardware stores or gardening centers for advice and feedback. Just remember not to use pesticides on vegetable gardens.
Natural Japanese Beetle Control
There are several ways to adapt your yard so that you can get rid of Japanese beetles without resorting to chemical usage.
- Birds eat Japanese beetles. Attract birds to your property and utilize them as a means to eliminate Japanese beetles. There are several species of birds that readily feed on both adult Japanese beetles and grubs.
- Plant selection can prevent Japanese beetle infestation. Plant selection is often employed when landscaping the property. Japanese beetles are known to avoid certain plants, including Red Maple, Boxwood, Boxelder, White Ash, Green Ash, Dogwoods, Tuliptree, Holly, Magnolias, Red oak, White oak, White poplar, Scarlet, and lilacs. If in case you are having problems with Japanese beetles, consider these plants as alternatives to some of your existing ones that are favorable to the insect.
- Milky Spore can control Japanese beetle grubs. Milky Spore is a commercially available bacterium that kills specific species of insects, including Japanese beetles. It is specifically effective in controlling Japanese beetle grubs. However, spreading and cultivating Milky Spore will take about three to four years to fully comprehend its usefulness. Especially when dealing with large numbers of Japanese beetle grubs, Milky Spore may not eliminate the population entirely.
- Spike the lawn to eliminate Japanese beetle grubs. Spiking or aerating your lawn can eliminate and control Japanese beetle grub populations. By circulating chemicals over the landscape, Japanese beetle grubs cannot continuously reproduce within the area.
Japanese Beetle Traps
Japanese beetle traps are conventional, and somewhat controversial, devices used to capture the insect. There are two known types of these: (a) a type that mimics the pheromones of the female Japanese beetle, and (b) a type that mimics the scents of Japanese beetle food.
The effectiveness of Japanese beetle traps has been under scrutiny since their introduction on the market. The problem most people have regarding the devices is the tendency to attract more beetles than to actually trap.
Placement of beetle traps is an important matter, especially when dealing with plantations. As much as possible, try to keep the trapping devices downwind and far away from the plants to minimize risk and avoid accidents.
Japanese beetle traps are often considered best for community-wide control programs. Normally, traps are set about 200-300 feet apart around the perimeter to be protected. Try asking local experts and authorities regarding this matter to further understand the requirements involved.
Japanese beetles, both adults and grubs, are pests that can ruin plants and whole garden landscapes. It is important for those who encounter such insects to act quickly and efficiently. Try researching about Japanese beetles to further understand their habitat and behavior. A house without pests is a dwelling worth living in!
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