The garden is easily one of my most favorite spots outside. However, that can change rather quickly if it is invaded by the Japanese Beetle. They may be kind of pretty to look at with their iridescent shell but, they can easily (and fairly quickly) ruin your beloved garden. Thankfully, there are many ways to remove them from your garden so you can continue to enjoy your flowers (or vegetables).
If using chemicals isn’t something you prefer to do, here are some organic ways to eliminate Japanese Beetles from your garden.
Avoiding growing their favorite plants can help to keep the number of beetles you see to a minimum. They will eat over 200 species of plants so that can be difficult or even impossible. Be that as it may, keeping their favorites to a minimum will help your garden immensely. Since the number of plants they love is so large, try and place them in various places throughout the yard instead of all in one place.
Overripe and rotting produce in your garden can and will attract more beetles. Be sure to keep all produce harvested in a timely manner. If you do happen to miss a harvest, it may be best to remove the items and place them somewhere else instead of leaving them in the garden.
Bag a Bug
Japanese beetles are attracted to pheromones which is what these bags give off in order to attract the beetles. The trouble is, the amount of beetles that are attracted to these bags are way more than the bags can hold. This can potentially leave you with way more beetles than you started with. If these bags are a method you would like to try, I suggest leaving them quite far from the plants they have invaded. Constantly checking the bags to make sure you are removing full bags and replacing them with new bags. Get bag-a-bug here.
This method is a bit more hands on so it may not be for everyone. All you need is a plastic cup filled with water. Add a little bit of dish soap and you are on your way. Take a walk around your garden and brush all the beetles you see into the cup of soapy water.
You can purchase a set of row covers and cover your plants for the duration that the beetles are out in full force. The beetles will then land on the covers instead of your plants. These are generally reusable and can also be great when the weather gets cold and you need to cover your plants. Get row covers here.
Canned Fruit Cocktail
Yes you read that right. Open your can of fruit cocktail and leave it in the sun to ferment for a week. After the week is finished, go at least 10 feet from the plants they are bugging and build a sturdy base either out of bricks or cement blocks. Take a bucket and place it on top of your base. Place your fermented fruit cocktail (still in the can) in the center of the bucket. Fill the bucket with water to the brim of the can. The Japanese Beetles are drawn to the sweet smell instead of the plants they were invading. Once they are in the bucket they won’t be able to get back out because of the water.
Try planting things like garlic, tansy or rue next to some of their favorite plants. Planting plants they repel Japanese Beetles next to plants that they prefer can help to deter them.
Bring in Predators
To try and deter Japanese Beetles you can try to bring in (or introduce) some of their natural predators. This can be something as small as special species of bees up to larger species of birds (like the Guinea Fowl).
Geraniums actually attract Japanese beetles. Seems weird that this would be on our list right? Well, here is why: The adult beetles eat the geranium which makes them dizzy and they fall to the ground. Simply sweep them up and put in soapy water.
Using Neem Oil won’t help with your adult beetles but, it will mess with the larva so they won’t be able to grow into adulthood. Get neem oil here.
There is a product on the market called ‘sevin’ or, ‘sevin dust’. It is a powder that you sprinkle directly onto the leaves of your plants. This one needs to be reapplied several times to keep the beetles at bay. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves and that kids and animals stay away from the plants until the dust settles. Get sevin here.
Japanese Beetles are a very invasive species. Keeping the Larva under control will really help to keep your beetle population at bay. Any of these other options can help you manage and or deter the adult beetles that are already in your gardens.