The Q&A Archives: japanese beetles

Question: I have a ton of japanese beetles every year on my rose of sharon bushes and my blackberries. I have tried many products and methods from hand picking in the morning to putting powder on them. I have heard of the milky spores????? Not sure if that is what they are called but it seems like I would also have to treat my neighbors yard and the huge lot behind my property for it to work

Answer: Japanese beetles are difficult to control, in part because they fly long distances. The pheromone traps are not recommended because they seem to attract more than they catch. You can try to repel the beetles using a spray containing neem, or you can handpick them (they are sluggish early and late in the day), or you can spray with spinosad or with carbaryl (the active ingredient in Sevin) but this is a contact insecticide with no residual action. You can also use beneficial nematodes or neem sprayed on the lawn in late summer to early fall to kill them at the grub stage. Milky spore disease in granular form is applied to the lawn and a treatment lasts in the soil for many years, but it takes some time to see results. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the label directions on any product you use. Unfortunately, most gardeners find they have to tolerate a certain amount of damage, and some years are more severe than others depending on the weather and other conditions.

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