Japanese Beetle Control

Natural Solutions to Control Japanese Beetles
Japanese Beetle Adult
Japanese Beetle, Popillia japonica
Japanese Beetles feed on over 275 plant species including deciduous fruit trees, vegetables, grasses, and ornamentals.

Many gardeners and homeowners consider them to be one of the most serious pests they face. They can cause devastating root damage in their grub phase, but also attract various burrowing animals that dig up your lawn or garden bed searching for the grubs to eat. The adult beetles feed on plant foliage and it results in rapid defoliation.

Japanese Beetle Life Cycle
Photo Credit: UNL Entomology Department.

Japanese beetle grubs overwinter 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) deep in the soil. As spring arrives and temperatures increase, the grubs move up in the soil to feed on plant roots. They pupate in late May to June and adults start emerging in late June to mid-July. Adults live from 30 to 45 days and feed through late summer or early fall with females constantly laying eggs.

Control Japanese Beetles with a comprehensive plan of attack:

  • Treat with a combination of Milky Spore and NemaSeek Beneficial Nematodes in either the spring or the fall. The nematodes help to distribute the Milky Spore. This combination of organisms also works synergistically to most effectively control the grubs. In warm climates you will achieve excellent long-term control after applying Milky Spore once per year for 3 years. In colder climates it may take up to 5 years to achieve long term control.
  • Apply quality humus and essential soil additives to improve overall soil health and bioacivity. John & Bob's Soil Prep Kit is an excellent choice along with Nitron Humic Acid. Grubs don't attack healthy roots.
  • Use a Neem Oil product like Monterey 70% Neem Oil to control adults that elude your traps and also to discourage them from feeding.
  • Treat again with NemaSeek Beneficial Nematodes six months after your first application to further distribute the Milky Spore and to eliminate newly developing grubs.

Japanese Beetle Occurrences Map
Click on the map above to view the full size image.
Japanese beetle damage
Japanese Beetle damage.

Identifying Japanese Beetles:

  • Adult Japanese beetles are 3/8-1/2 inch (8-10 mm) long, metallic green to greenish bronze with coppery red wings and small white tufts on the sides and tip of the abdomen.

Japanese beetle grub
Japanese Beetle grub.
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