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Japanese Beetle Control

Natural Solutions to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) feed on over 300 plant species including turf, fruit trees & ornamentals.

Gardeners and homeowners consider them to be one of their most devastating pests. They can cause substantial root damage in their grub phase, and also attract burrowing animals that dig up your lawn or garden bed searching for the grubs to eat. The adult beetles feed on plant foliage resulting in rapid defoliation and crop loss.

Not sure if you have Japanese Beetles? Use this ID Sheet to find out! Japanese beetle grubs overwinter 8-10 inches 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 with adults 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.

Japanese Beetles are highly mobile and continue to move west across the country. Click Here for the most recent Japanese Beetle distribution map from the USDA APHIS.

How To Control Japanese Beetles:

  • Treat with a combination of Milky Spore and beneficial nematodes (NemAttack Sr or NemaSeek Hb) in spring. This combination is the most effective treatment for prolonged control of the grubs. Nematodes help distribute the Milky Spore through the soil increasing infection rates. Apply Beneficial Nematodes once more in late summer or fall. Use this Life Cycle Diagram to time applications. Milky Spore Granules can be applied through a drop spreader.
  • Apply Surround WP to foliage and fruit to keep adult beetles off. It acts as a physical barrier and disorients beetles to deter feeding.
  • Beauveria bassiana sprays are used for biological control of Japanese Beetles and kill through infection. Spores of the fungus infect all life stages of Japanese Beetles and can be applied to foliage or as a soil drench. Use BotaniGard 22WP for sensitive crops.
  • Knockdown sprays of PyGanic or Azadirachtin products, like AzaMax, can limit adult feeding on foliage. Effects of these sprays can be limited due to the beetle's high mobility and hard shell.

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