japanese beetles - Knowledgebase Question

Bells, Te
Question by pagee150
June 30, 2010
I have 20-25 crape myrtles and many roses.What is the best way to get rid of these bugs? I've used Neem oil and it works but washes off after rain.


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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It often takes a two-pronged approach to control Japanese Beetles. You are seeing the adults which were grubs in your lawn and garden earlier this year. So, you'll want to control both the adults you're seeing now, and any grubs that may overwinter in your soil. Here's a variety of options: Protect plants with floating row covers in late spring/early summer as adults emerge. (Be sure to check under covers anyway.) Beetles are sluggish on cool overcast mornings or evenings. Shake them off plants onto sheets of paper to squash them or into containers of soapy water. You can also handpick them. There are Japanese beetle traps that have a sex attractant to lure males and a floral lure to attract females and males. These are not a cure for a big infestation however and there is concern that they attract the neighbors? beetles to your yard. Attract birds and insect predators which love to feast on the beetles. Plant pollen and nectar plants to attract parasitic wasps and tachinid flies. (Note that if you spray chemicals you are also killing the beneficial insects that help keep others in check.) If that doesn?t control their numbers, try neem oil (Bonide Bon-Neem or Green Light Neem Concentrate) or cyfluthrin (Bayer Advanced Garden Power Force Multi-Insect Killer Concentrate) or permethrin (Spectracide Bug Stop Multi-Purpose Insect Control Concentrate). A new product called whole neem oil is different than standard neem in that it is a stronger concentration of this organic spray.

Japanese beetle grubs in the soil are best controlled by spraying beneficial nematodes on the lawn and garden area. These microscopic worm-like creatures attack only the grubs in the soil and not plants, animals or humans. Spray them in spring when the soil temperatures are above 55F and you should see a difference in summer. It's important to maintain soil moisture to keep the nematodes viable and so they can move easily through the soil. I suggest that you moisten soil well the day before you apply them, or wait until after it rains.

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