Ask a Question forum: how to control japanese beetles.

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Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jun 15, 2015 8:19 PM CST
Would a mixture of dawn dish soap and rubbing achoal work if sprayed directly on the leaves or just dawn. I know they are not a problem yet - too early- but i want to get a jump on it before they come. or am i better off with rose x pour into the root mass and it kills for 6 weeks with an unknown chemical i cant pronouce. its nearly $20 and i want to keep things as organic as possible.


thanks Alex
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 15, 2015 8:52 PM CST
Wouldn't the mixture cause harm to the plant leaves?

If you have lots of Geraniums/Pelargoniums near the desirable plants, the Japanese Beetles will become temporarily paralyzed after snacking on the sacrificial plants and the 'sleeping' beetles can easily be flicked into a container of dish soap and water for easy disposal.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 7:57 AM CST
Greene - will the geraniums actually attract the JBs? I tried 4 o'clocks once just for that purpose but it didn't work. Seems when those suckers fly in to my garden from the west, they're at the 2ft to 5ft level and land on anything in that range and start munching. I cut down my porcelain berry because it was such an attractant to them - more than roses.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 16, 2015 9:17 AM CST
If you are trying to attract the Japanese Beetles, you can hang a trap that uses pheromones but that will have all the neighbor's JBs in your yard near the trap and closer to your plants. I guess if you had a decent amount of Geraniums/Pelargoniums surrounding the trap you maybe could make it work.

If you think about how ants work...they send out scouts to hunt for food, they 'mark' a scent trail and then other ants follow. Japanese Beetles do something pretty similar. At the very beginning of Japanese Beetle season, if you could sit in your garden all day and happen to be looking when the scouting party shows up, you may be able to catch and destroy the scouts before they can mark your plants.

Keep a pail/bucket of soapy water nearby. Pick each JB and drop it into the bucket. Leaves the bucket in place as the aroma of decomposing JBs will deter new beetles from snacking. If you have pets or small children you might add some hardware cloth to keep out the curious. Don't worry about the standing water attracting mosquitoes because the soap in the water takes care of that problem.

If you plan ahead you can apply milky spore which is a bacteria (Bacillus popillae or it is Pacenibacillus popillae? Shrug! ); it will kill the JBs at the grub stage and the bacterial will multiply in your soil... but (in my opinion) it takes a village...meaning that all your nearby neighbors should agree to apply milky spore at the correct time; over time this will destroy the JBs. The good news is that milky spore is effective for a long time. Initial investment seems high but the result is well worth it.

You could add nematodes to your yard and garden. Steinernema carpocapsae, S. glaseri, S. anomali, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and others. There are many kinds of nematodes and each works to some extent to destroy soil dwelling stages of JB and other grub thingies. But for the nematodes to work well the garden/yard/lawn needs to be watered regularly (like every day) and nematodes don't work as well if the soil is heavy with clay or extremely sandy. I think maybe scientists can understand how to make the nematode work effectively in the soil - it's all pretty complicated for my old brain. To my way of thinking...if I am gonna stand in the garden and water for 1 - 2 hours each and every day, it would be more effective to just hand pick the beetles and save on the water bill. Rolling on the floor laughing

You can make a homemade spray using Cedar oil. Eastern Red Cedar/Juniper virginiana if possible. If you buy the Cedar oil it needs to be diluted (sorry, I don't know the ratio yet). I found an article telling that you can buy some Eastern Red Cedar lumber, cut it into manageable pieces and place in a bucket; add hot water and allow to steep like tea for 24-48 hours. Pour the undiluted liquid into a sprayer and spray the Roses or other desirable plants. Too lazy to soak cedar wood or dilute the Cedar oil? There is a ready-to-use product available for purchase in the US and Canada which uses Cedar oil here: http://www.cedarbugfree.com/product_pages/yard_pages/lawn_ga...

Another option is to attract birds to your yard, specifically the type of birds that like to eat Japanese Beetles. I don't have a list for the birds, but maybe make a post over on the 'bird' forum and see which birds like to eat the JBs.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 10:11 AM CST
I don't necessarily want to attract JBs but maybe redirect them to a plant that will make them drowsy enough to knock into a bucket of soapy water (my basic method). I did put a birdbath in my sunny garden area so hopefully visiting birds will make a meal out of the JBs. We put milky spore down twice a couple of years ago - just recently heard that late summer/early fall is the best time to do this. I have lots of birds back by the birdfeeder in the shade. The JBs tend to stay in the sun. They always fly in from the sunny, open west side of the subdivision. When it's really hot and sunny, they hide under leaves which makes it hard to find them. They also like tall azaleas (like my Northern Lights) and will do a little munching on climbing hydrangea but they don't bother Clematis (which I have several of, growing on trellises). Yeah - I've heard that about catching the first few beetles of the season but no, I'm not sitting out there guarding the garden.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 16, 2015 10:34 AM CST
Shadegardener said:I don't necessarily want to attract JBs but maybe redirect them to a plant that will make them drowsy enough to knock into a bucket of soapy water...


Sounds like you have it right. Thumbs up
To redirect the JBs, I would use a one-two punch.
One: Put a JB trap near your sacrificial plants (the ones you don't care about) and knock the sleepy beetles into the soapy water.
Two: Place the bucket with the decomposing bugs close to your desirable plants to deter the JBs.

I am hoping that all this information will be of use to @Plantsmylove who started this thread. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 11:09 AM CST
Buckets of decomposing JBs don't deter the live ones but smell awful in the sun.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jun 16, 2015 11:28 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Four o'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) attracts japanese beetles, but the plant is poisonous to them. So they'll eat it and then all die. We used this technique with much success back when we lived in Tennessee.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jun 16, 2015 1:20 PM CST
dave said:http://garden.org/plants/view/77809/Four-oClocks-Mirabilis-jalapa/ attracts japanese beetles, but the plant is poisonous to them. So they'll eat it and then all die. We used this technique with much success back when we lived in Tennessee.


I didn't know that about the 4 o'clocks. I always have 4 o'clocks in my garden. I also have lots and lots of roses. But no Japanese Beetles. Years and years ago used to have afew beetles but they got less and less until there are none.

I am not sure any of our backyard songbirds enjoy eating any of those nasty beetles.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 3:08 PM CST
I did try 4 o'clocks in pots year before last when my porcelain berry was still attracting them but the JBs weren't attracted to them. I did place the pots off to the side but maybe they were too low and not on the flight plan.
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jun 16, 2015 4:24 PM CST
Thanks for the subjestions guys I will see if I can get plants to deter them, as well as try the treatment, my species roses are done blooming so no worries about harming bees.


right now- my visions kinda blurry- just went to see the eye doctor.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 5:53 PM CST
Good luck with your JBs. What do they attack in your garden?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jun 16, 2015 6:10 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Another anecdote on the four o'clocks: I grew the both yellows and the magenta blooming varieties. The yellow ones were completely ignored while the magenta blooming ones seemed to attract all the beetles. Shrug!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jun 16, 2015 6:16 PM CST
Very interesting. I wonder why that would be so?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jun 16, 2015 7:13 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I never figured it out.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jun 16, 2015 7:41 PM CST
dave said:I never figured it out.


Humm. Thanks.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 16, 2015 8:33 PM CST
On the original question about the soap and rubbing alcohol mixture, that sounds like something that would only work if you actually sprayed it on so it hits the bugs. Putting it on beforehand won't help at all.

Personally, I'd never spray rubbing alcohol on any plant anyway, no matter how much it was diluted. I've used it on a Q-tip to dab on mealybugs, but that's the extent of my use of alcohol on plants.

Soapy water kills a lot of bugs, but you have to actually hit them with it. It didn't help with my Sri Lanka weevils, though. They're another bug that hides under the leaves in the daytime and feeds on the plants at night - but since they're almost white, I got to them by going out with a flashlight once it got dark and just picking them off the plants by hand.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jun 18, 2015 8:03 PM CST
Well I brought some milky spore it was very $$ and applyed it to the lawn. The lawn depenser broke so i sprinkled it by hand onto the soil. i also watered it in well with the hose and will do it again this fall, september...... i will also buy some herbs to plant among the roses and try the dish soap knocking trick..
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jun 18, 2015 8:48 PM CST
I hope it works!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 19, 2015 8:07 AM CST
Plantsmylove said: Well I brought some milky spore it was very $$ and applyed it to the lawn.


This is a bit late, sorry, but last year I attended a seminar at which one of the topics was white grub control (there are several species of white grubs that attack turf, and Japanese beetle grubs are just one of them, and the only one affected by milky spore).

It was stated by the entomologist that milky spore appears no longer to be effective against Japanese beetle grubs, at least in some areas, and that the nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora was recommended where use of conventional pesticides was not desired.

Since you're in Minnesota I checked the University of Minnesota Extension pages for Japanese beetle info and they seem to concur as their article says:

"In trials in Ohio milky spore disease (Bacillus popillae) has not been as successful in killing JB grubs as was reported in the 1960's. A beneficial nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, attacks JB grubs............ Nematodes need to be applied to soil at night and the soil must be irrigated daily to keep it moist so the nematodes stay alive."

This is quoted from Japanese Beetle Management in Minnesota:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/japanese-be...

Of course any treatment of your lawn presumes there are, or will be, JB grubs there and that the adults you have aren't instead/also flying in from elsewhere in the neighbourhood.


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