2013 Japanese Beetles

mark_roeder(4B IA)June 13, 2013

I hand-spaded my vegetable garden this year, which was watered last fall and mulched. I encountered only 2 JB grubs. In past years I would encounter 2-5 in a shovel full. I also planted roses and found no JB grubs in the rose beds.

The 2012 drought took its toll on Japanese Beetles. Is there anything else we should be doing right now to control them so they do not come back in 2014? I put down Milky Spore in my yard last year, and again this year. Last year the infestation was devastating to landscape trees, fruit on trees, and roses. None of my roses bloomed from the end of June until September due to J-Beetles eating them.

Can I somehow keep the momentum from Mother Nature's 2012 drought going? In 2013 we are getting record rainfall.

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I guess there is a silver lining to drought. They haven't reached here yet.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 3:00AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Trap them before they can reproduce.

I get my traps and replacement baits from Biocontrol from over south of Nashville.

I haven't seen JBs since we trapped heavily and then got two years of drought. I expect them back, but with the huge rainfalls we got in March and again in early June (when the grubs are moving up, as my first appearance date was always June 7) may have drowned them. I do see 'June Bug' grubs (big healthy ones), but no JBs again this year.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 8:45AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

We have had massive rainfall here in Vermont since May (9"), and since I live in a filled swamp, water has been sitting on the lawn for days at a time. I have high hopes of a low JB season this year. They usually show up July 4th, so I don't know yet, but I hope a lot of the buggers drowned.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 8:53AM
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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

They're here! Presently chomping away on some blooms, they've been here a couple days so far I'm ignoring them. Fortunately I'm inbetween flushes, so there aren't a whole lot of blooms for them to eat. I may go out and handpick some this evening, bus so far I'm just hoping they get bored and fly away. Last year was my worst year, this year we've had alot of rain and either they are light because I"m inbetween blooms or the heavy rain has something to do with it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:08AM
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I've only seen two so far...fingers crossed that it is going to be a light year for them. I have squashed quite a few grubs in my digging this year, but nowhere close to the amount I normally find. The last few years I've had literally thousands by this time. In years past, we had hundreds daily for a full four weeks, but the last few years it turned to thousands and for at least 2 months...usually closer to 3 months. The combo of last year's drought and this spring's monumental rain took it toll on some of my plants, but if it killed the beetles...well worth it!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:54AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Wait a minute--drought and drowning are the natural defenses against Japanese beetles? I don't mean to be insensitive since I rarely see any in my area, but is this wishful thinking? Not that I blame anyone who has been inundated with them in the past--the horror stories I've read on here make that understandable!

I am curious though how scientists/specialists account for the rise of Jap. beetles to plague proportions and then, in a couple years, the drastic decline. Has anyone studied the phenomenon? I'd be interested in hearing.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:10PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Kate, Your county extension agent should know when the beetles are moving up in the soil about to emerge. The agent from Knox Co (TN) was the one who said to hope that a certain drought continued for an additional week in that county because it would set the beetle emergence back. I adjust his time because my garden plants are usually ten days later than his county.

If you've great soil, drought won't help. But I (typed proudly) have a clay that is a step or two from pottery, and that's where mine overwinter, not in the fairly shallow top soil.

Today, the 13th, I decapitated two beetles intent on making their 20 offspring this year. The first beetles I've seen in four years here. I will put a trap out tomorrow.

It's up to each of us to make a decision as to what if anything we'll do. But regardless of your decision, each female can lay 20 eggs a year, and do the math if you do nothing for five years.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 6:14PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I've seen one each day for the past two days. I hate them with a passion! I hope they aren't bad this year. I think my moles may have finally eaten off their grubs in my yard, anyway. I have moles everywhere.

I forget whether it's OK to just squish them? Do they still attract others if they are lying dead in the garden?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 3:41AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Like Ann, I have seen very few JBs in the past few years. One year, I did use the traps and my yard was infested. I was able to trap and kill many, but I also had more in my yard and I did have to resort to sevin on some cherry and crepe myrtle trees that were being defoliated. They were not in bloom, so there were no bees on them. I literally had piles of dead JBs all over the yard.

Since then, almost none. Granted we had the drought and I did put down Milky Spore a few years ago. We've also had a lot of rain this year. I haven't seen any JBs yet. I don't have any rose blooms right now, but my magnolias are blooming and I usually see a lot of JBs hanging out in the flowers making new JBs. But the don't chew on the magnolia blooms.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 6:47AM
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No JB's yet here. Last year was horrendous for me. I don't miss those nightly June JB genocides I had to administer! I like my roses and crape myrtles, just like those dang JB's. They're never in my lawn though, they travel.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 8:09AM
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We had threefold anti-JB weather conditions: drought last year, lots of rain this winter/spring, and it got cold, cold, cold this winter without any snow on the ground for insulation. Fingers crossed it is a light year. I am also experimenting with herbals and have planted rue in two of my rose beds as I've read that it will deter beetles.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 8:30AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

From what I have read, drought has the greatest effect in August and the fall months, because the tiny grubs from eggs laid in July are not able to move through the hard soil to feed. So it's last year's weather that has the biggest effect on this year's JB population. I haven't seen any scientific source describe them drowning in heavy rains, but maybe so.

In affluent suburbs and on golf courses, the vast acreage of irrigated turf creates a perfect environment for JBs regardless of the weather.

There is not much turf in my neighborhood, so beetles have never reached the horrific levels that others suffer. Still, at my current house I had substantial JB damage most years for nearly 30 years. However, three and four years ago we had severe drought. My garden has been nearly free of JBs ever since. But they'll be back eventually.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Put up starling birdhouses

Here is a link that might be useful: links for starling references

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Got my first one today (suburbs of Chicago) on my Pope John Paul. I ordered my potassium silicate is a little late, it will be here next week. :(

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:25PM
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rosetom(7 Atl)

OK, here's another one, Henry -
Did you not realize that Starlings are one of the worst birds? They're not indigenous to North America.

According to the IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) they're on the list of the World's Worst 100 Invasive Species. More to the point, they're responsible for the reduction in chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, purple martins and other swallows (great mosquito controlers).

I love the way their beaks turn orange in the warm seasons, but other than that, they're a trashy bird we'd be better off without.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:44PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

It does seem odd that I have seen only a few following the horrific infestations experienced three years ago. I trapped many thousands in those years. It had to have had some effect, but the weather may have been the biggest contributing factor.

Home made beetle trap. Soup for everyone!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 10:45AM
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