What's your best solution for Japanese Beetles?

sullicorbitt(z5 MA)June 28, 2008

It's that time of year! these nasty little bugs are shredding my flowers and salad greens. So far the only non chemical way (that I know of) to get rid of them are the attractant bags, or milky spore but that takes years to have an effect and even then not totally.

Does anyone have any other methods?

We expanded our veggie garden this year and do not want to use any chemicals in it.

Thanks for any suggestions :)


Also, If I use the bags, can I dump them into the chickens?

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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Hi Sullicorbitt. I haven't had any jap.beatles this year. I guess I am lucky, unless they just haven't arrived yet. I do know that my chickens were never interested in them. I think it is the hard shell,,I am not sure. I have a climbing rose bush that has absolutely nothing on it except a few bumblebees.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 11:09AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Are you talking about the big green & gold June Bugs that love fruit trees, or the little brown guys that hang out next to porch lights at night?

My chickens love to eat them both, and spend their summers chasing down the green ones, especially (the brown ones are mostly nocturnal here). They have some trouble catching & killing them, but the chase is hilarious. :)

I don't know if the natural soap sprays work on the green June Bugs, and if you spray them with anything, I'd just discard them and not feed them to the chickens.

Our form of natural control is the take a tennis racket out into the yard and whack them out of the air to the waiting chickens. Stuns them enough so the chickens have a decent crack at them.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 9:14PM
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They lay their eggs in tall grass and if you allow your chickens to free-range, they spend lots of time consuming the larvae in late summer and fall. No Japanese Beetles for us at all this summer.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 8:54AM
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We rescued a baby starling after a storm blew down the tree it's nest was in. I'm almost looking forward to the usual japanese beetle invasion this year. Sage needs to learn to catch insects. So far he will only "track" bugs he sees, like gnats and mosquitos. I figure he needs a bigger target and have to admit, I'd enjoy watching any bird gobble up Japanese beetles!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 1:32PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Tasymo, where do you live? If it is the US and you have a European starling then rescuing it is the worst kind of feel good thing you can do, starlings are vicious little guys and in the US are the avian equivalent of japanese the beetles that are doing so much harm.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 5:19PM
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Brenden, this little guy is a pet. He will not be terrorizing your neighborhood or mine, nor will he be breeding.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 5:41PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Thanks for the input. Velvet, we actually have both the brown and the greenish beetles, they seem to do the same damage from what I can see.

Tasymo, that's a cute little bird you have, glad you have a good plan for him.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 7:11PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Tasymo, if he stays indoors or cannot fly I think that that is just an awesome thing to do with a Starling.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 7:59PM
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Get guineas. They love japanese beetles and other bad bugs.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 9:33PM
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Unfortunately the bags actually attract more than you would have if you didn't have the bags.

My friend orders "beneficial insects" from Gardens Alive, and has had great success eliminating most of her Japanese beetles. But you need to start this in the Spring I think. The beneficial insects will attack the larva of the Japanese beetle that are in the ground.

Something I'm going to look into next spring, though I haven't seen the beetles yet this year.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 2:19PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Extension services know everything

"Japanese Beetle
Adult Japanese beetles eat the leaves of many different ornamental plants (both trees and shrubs), and the larvae (grubs) or this species feed on the roots of grasses. Can- or baglike traps for Japanese beetles contain a feeding attractant alone or in combination with a sex attractant. These traps are sold under claims that they will reduce beetle numbers and protect nearby plants from feeding damage. Although their lures are indeed very attractive to adult Japanese beetles, the use of these traps in areas where the Japanese beetle is prevalent has been shown to increase beetle numbers and damage to host plants in the area around the trap. This outcome apparently results from the fact that many beetles are attracted by the lure but not captured by the trap. In areas where the Japanese beetle is a serious pest, only very widespread use of many traps (several traps per homeowner by a majority of homeowners in an area) is likely to reduce damage to plant foliage. In contrast, in areas where Japanese beetle densities are low, traps placed several yards away from valuable plants can reduce the damage caused by adult beetle feeding on foliage or flowers. Additionally, these traps have been used at densities of one or two per acre to remove adult beetles from golf courses and to reduce turf damage caused by the subsequent generation of grubs. To monitor populations place lures at the perimenter of property. Trece, Incorporated manufactures a product called Japanese Beetle-3-way Lure. It containes a chemical (Eugen) that is highly attractive to adult Japanese beetles."

Here is a link that might be useful: U florida source for the quote

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 3:34PM
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sweetgreen(z5 MI)

I second the advise to get guineas. I walk along my grape arbors and call the guineas over, then either knock the beetles off, or gather them up by hand and feed the guineas. They love 'em.

I also think that they, and possibly chickens too, eat them as they emerge from the ground after the larval stage. I used to see lots of beetles climbing up tall plants, like ornamental grasses, I think to get in the sun so they can dry and harden and fly off to find our tender plants.

I also have heard that traps just attract more beetles. But I've also heard of folks putting the traps inside the poultry run, then dumping the bugs out occasionally for the birds. Or even running a tube from the bottom of the bag to ground level so when the bug falls all the way out, it can get snapped up.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:44PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

FYI about the suggestions for Guineas, I've had them before, they got kind of aggressive w/my turkeys and took up too much space in my coop. Other than that and the noise they were great. I think if I ever have a home w/more property I would get them again but for now they aren't a good fit for us.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 3:34PM
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ginni77(z 5)

Or get a jar of soapy water and start picking them off and dropping them in the jar. That's what we do!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 9:45AM
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You could put an attractant bag in your neighbors yard!!! Christy :)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 8:58PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

While attractant bags may make damage worse this year they will remove reproductive adults from the population and as a result can reduce the number of beetles that you have to deal with next year, if you catch a whole lot of them that is. And combined with other methods attractant bags can help you clear out your immediate area rather than just your property.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:46AM
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As it turns out, Sage is not a Starling after all. He is a common Grackle AND an excellent Japanese Beetle hunter! He decided life in a cage was not for him, and he flys free. For a while he returned to us regularly to be fed, but for the last couple of weeks he has been basically fending for himself. He still spends most of his time in our yard and usually comes to us when we call him. He will land on our heads or shoulders and let us handle him. He will take treats from us, but really prefers the variety of bugs he finds in my Garden. Alot of people don't like Grackles. They consider them "trash birds", but Grackles are native to the U.S. and protected. Sage is a very cool bird.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:22PM
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The giant green june bugs and Jap btls both enjoy their final moments in traps in which I place vinegar, brown sugar/molasses and water. Bits of fruit/banana peel are good additives. A few days ago, I placed several traps in the red razz and a day later, the one liter bottle was half full. I try to use half gallon or one gallon plastic containers which I attach to posts at fruit height. It seems the dying carcasses add to the lure-though to me it is funky.

In a gallon container, I use 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup molasses and 6-8 cups of water. Hope it works for you.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 9:56PM
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As someone mentioned, there are camps of people who believe in having the baited traps and those against. I'm against. Well, having them on MY property, that is. Several years ago in KY when the Jap Beetles were coming in full force, I suffered a lot of damage. My neighbors then for two years decided to garden and use the traps. Those two years were the best for me!! They struggled with infestations and I had minimal damage. When they moved, my beetle problems came back. Mind you, I was never without the pests, but it just seemed they all went to my neighbor's yard ;P Lori

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 11:58PM
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I have been fighting Japanese beetles for more than 30 years. The method of knocking the beetles off into soapy water works not too badly: that is if you have time to check your plants multiple times every day, and they often have destroyed leaves and buds by the time that you get to them. I used to believe that traps were a waste of time/money until I tried the kind illustrated by the attached picture. They need to be put up before beetles attack but they have reduced a dreadful beetle problem in our yard to a minor nuisance. I wouldn't bother with the flimsier traps.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:24PM
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