Japanese beetles

Japanese Beetles

10 tips you must know


Thank Japan for sending Japanese beetles to New Jersey as a present early in this century. They sure have messed up our gardens, year after year.


A pretty metallic green, these 3/8″ hard cased beetles, crawl out of the ground in May, fly up to 2 miles, to eat many of your plants in about 45 days. And then die…if you don’t kill them first…and feed them to the fish in your outdoor pond.

In case it is important, some folk call them jitterbugs although we don’t know why.

Here is that list of the 10 most important Japanese Beetle things to know:

1. Organic: How to get rid of the beetles naturally. Just plant some plants that repel them: catnip, rue, larkspur, cloves, garlic, tansy, and geranium. These natural ways to rid your outdoor plants of beetles and prevent beetle damage have been used successfully for years by farmers.

2. Have them eaten: How to kill them…why not get some chickens or guinea hens and turn them loose.

3. Use netting: To prevent them, you can put netting over your prized roses so they can’t get to them.

4. Apply Insecticide: To prevent them, you can treat your soil with insecticide available at local farm and garden stores.

5. Deter with their own odor: To prevent them, why not leave dead Japanese beetles around, but not too many…because… rotting Japanese beetle bodies really smell bad…really bad. That is probably why the live Japanese beetles don’t stick around very long.

6. Pick them off: To get rid of Japanese beetles, use your fingers to pick them off, one by one. This really works well. Drop the Japanese beetles in a can of soapy water or soap mixture, kerosene, or oil…or feed them to the catfish in your pond. Others say shake the plant before 7 AM (when the Japanese beetles are still half asleep and you should be as well) into your can of killing stuff to drown them.

7. Buy commercial traps: To get rid of Japanese beetles, you can buy a lot of traps (more is better) and don’t put them in your garden. Commercial traps, usually bags, use a virgin (sexual) beetle odor or a sweet fruit odor to attract Japanese beetles into a bag where they can’t get out. Very effective…but…these traps attract more beetles to that area than if you…never put out the trap. So don’t put the traps in the garden, put them in or close to your neighbor’s yard (of course we mean around the edge of yours).

8. Build a trap: To kill Japanese beetles, build a trap. Take a plastic soda bottle, cut the top, fill it with a water, sugar, rotten fruit, and yeast mixture and hang it from a tree. Works just like the retail models.

9. Spray them: To kill Japanese beetles, use soap and water spray, or insecticide soap spray, or insecticide you can buy locally.

10. Call a professional. The professionals have stronger strength insecticides that last longer…they have methods using biological control like fungi, parasites, nematodes…and other methods that you cannot buy without a license.