Has milky spore worked for you? To reduce japanese beetles

gottagarden(z5 western NY)July 30, 2011

I've heard milky spore can be a good long term solution for JBs. Does anyone have a successful experience with this? How many years before you notice a difference?

Will it work well in cold zone 5?

I live in the middle of 45 acres, so all the JBs are mine, not my neighbors.


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No. It doesn't work. I used it last year and they were worse than previous years. If your neighbors don't use it, the beetles will just fly from their yards. I just spray my roses in the evening and kill them all. They seem to like to feast at that time. It also keeps me from spraying the bees and butterflies. They are almost gone now. Thank God...and Bayer!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 9:16PM
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I have a local friend that used it and I don't think it worked that well for her. It was a lot of work to put it down and very expensive since she has a large yard.

A few things that I've noticed regarding JBs:
1. Every year here is different in regard to their numbers. The year before last, there were so many of them, they were on literally all of my plants. Last year there were fewer and this year I only saw a couple. My roses look good and are breathing a sigh of relief!

2. I stopped using the traps that lure them in. It started to make sense to me that I was becoming a gathering place for them when I put out the traps. I've heard on gardening radio shows that the best way to rid yourself of them is to drown them in a can of soapy water, and to do this as soon as you see them. They supposedly put out a scent that brings more to your yard when they find a good food source.

We will see what next year brings. For gardeners, every new year is a new adventure in gardening!


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:34PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ah ha.. my pet peeve..

and i will yell ...


crimminey ...

the bEst way to use the lures.. is to gift them to all your neighbors upwind.. a nice xmas gift.. lol ...

jeeze .. lure they away from you.. not to you...

only took me 10 years to figure out that wisdom.. lol ..


    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 10:37AM
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I agree, milky spore will only help if all your neighbors use it also. It's not cheap, so I doubt that you would want to treat all 45 acres.

I don't like to use chemicals, but sometimes these *%*&*% beetles drive you to it. I will spray with insecticidal soap, but only when I can isolate the spray to what I am trying to kill. Or I spend hours trolling my yard with a bowl of soap infused water to knock as many as I can into it to drown. I delight in squishing these nasty things between my thumb and forefinger when possible.

Linlily...I am in western PA also. I too have had very few JB's this year. We had an unusual year so far in regards to weather. More snow followed by a much wetter and colder spring, followed by extreme heat and drought. If that is what it takes to get rid of this scourge that ruins so much of our cherished plants, then I hope every year is the same.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 1:35PM
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I am going to use it soon at my place. My neighbor uses it as well. I talked to the garden center guy, he indicated that it is difficult to apply. You want to apply it when there's moisture in the ground so that the spores survives, but not so much water that it washes away (recently, there was a really bad 7 inch per day rain fall). Supposedly, if it works the stuff stays around in your soil.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 3:38PM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

We have had very good luck with milky spore. Used it about 5 years back & have barely had any Japanese beetles since in our smallish zone 5 garden with very close neighbors - NONE of which actually grow much in the way of flowers.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 3:25PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Gotten less each year since using it. I don't know if it's just the Milky Spore or just seeing less this year. I figured, since it supposedly lasts soooo long after you put it down, then what the heck? lol I put it on once and let it do it's thing. That was about 3 years ago now.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:01PM
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franeli(z4 NH)

I used milky spore 3 years ago. Last year I had a large reduction in beetle numbers and this year I have only seen a few.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 6:10AM
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We used it years ago and it worked for about 10 years, then they started coming back so we used it again and it seems to have worked again. We only had a few this year. I also use the traps so I can prevent them from laying eggs and I go out in the evening and knock them into a can of water.
Since I have a large piece of property, this process is done over a 2 to 4 year period.
It takes a few years before the Milky spore actually works, at least for me.
One year we had so many I used the vacumn on them.
Their favorite plants in my yard are:
virginia creeper, malva, hollyhock, persicaria, raspberries, and the later flowering roses.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:11AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

It's useful to hear of everyone's different experiences, especially from those in the colder zones. Since it seems positive overall, I will give it a try and wait the recommended time. Hopefully we will have rain sometime soon to aid application, it's terribly dry here now.

The devour the same plants that Regina mentions, and leave most of the rest alone.

Hollyhocks MUST go, they are the honeymoon hotel for JBs and can never look good.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 4:02PM
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I've never used milky spore and I rarely see a Japanese beetle in my garden. This year...none. Maybe it's because I don't grow their favorite plants, whatever those are.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 7:06PM
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