weeping cherry invaded by Japanese beetles!

chueh(7B)June 17, 2008

Two days ago I found A LOT of japanese beetles on my weeping cherry. I don't know where they are coming from, but all at sudden, they have eaten leaves like crazy. Some branches turn brown. I did not have any japanese beetles last year at all. Why all at sudden they attack my tree? Also how do I make them go away, not necessarily kill them, to save my tree? My tree used to beautiful with every single leaf in lush color of green. Thanks

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Japanese beetles love cherries. See the link below for ideas on controlling them in Georgia.

For immediate help, I'd suggest getting a bucket of soapy water and catching what you can by hand and drowning them in the water. Eliminate the adults now to have fewer babies over the winter and fewer adults next year.

The babies overwinter in the ground as white grubs and can be diminished by the application of milky spore over a period of several years.

Here is a link that might be useful: UGA CAES japanese beetle control

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:11PM
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I have been having the same problem for the first time this year. I did some reading on it and many people recommend milky spore. I actually just started researching it the other day. I have read it is pretty effective but pretty pricey as well. The drawback that I can see is that if you live in a neighborhood with small yards and houses right next to you. It doesn't seem to me that it can work too well unless you neighbors use it as well. Run a search on it yourself but it seems to be the top remedy for japanese beetles and grubs. Supposably it lasts for 10 to 15 years.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:33PM
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Thank you. Good info

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:27PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

If you want to try the soapy-water-filled-bucket, then do it early in the morning, before the beetles are warmed up and able to fly well. They tend to simply drop down when disturbed, so be prepared for that, also.

Another trick, which is a lot messier, is to collect a handful of beetles, and using a blender you don't intend to use again for food - try a garage sale? - blender them with water. Strain the liquid into a sprayer, and spray whatever plants/trees/shrubs you want to protect. Seemingly, the smell of the dead/blendered bugs tells the others that this is not a safe place. I have yet to try this - I'm squeamish!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 5:07PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

I am not that squeamish, and I hate the %*#@$*%$^@#$&!!!! We have ALLOT again this year, and they are just starting. Though I will probable put them in a bag and mash the living %T(#&%R$&^ out of them. I think that would be more satisfying way to do it. :-)

With that said, I have been using Sevin (carbamyl sp?) for point attacks. As an instectide, it is about as innocuous as they come. It breaks down pretty quickly and does little or no harm to anything but insects. But that does not mean to spread it recklessly. It kills them in a short while when the fluid maintains contact with them. This for those that don't mind using insecticide responsibly, though I'm sure there are many that will say that any use of a "cide" is irresponsible. To those, I wish you well. On a side note, something with lots of caffeine might be helpful, as it is a alkaloid compound, and alkaloids are often employed by plants as a insecticide/inhibitor, but I don't KNOW that this will work.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:22PM
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dibbit's got a good point for the future, yet I cannot do it!!!! Is there any other way to PREVENT them coming back, even if I got all of them this time? They might come back every year!!!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:38PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

If you have them now, then your almost certain to have at least some every year until a truly effective control is found, as was the case with the gypsy moth. We had them BAD last year, and this is is not starting out well. I'm just trying to reduce the damage done until there are only eggs in the soil again.

Sorry to have to tell you that they are probable there to stay.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:56PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Why do people think that Sevin is relatively harmless? Any chemical that is a cholinesterase inhibitor needs to be handled with extreme caution. Sevin is also deadly to non-target insects, especially bees and other pollinators. It's lethal to earthworms, as well.

You might consider trying Neem oil. It works as an anti-feedant against those insects that either munch on the leaves or siphon the plant juices. It probably won't kill the beetles outright, but you should observe far less damage.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:38PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

chueh, I am sorry to say that this was one of the main reasons I got rid of my weeping cherry. It is possible to spray for JBs - Bayer makes a a spray that contains imidacloprid that is somewhat effective on adult JBs, but, as you suspect, it won't stop them from coming back next year.

If the tree is not very big, go over to Home Depot and look for a Bayer product called (I think) "3-in-1". This is not a spray. It's something you mix with water and pour at the base of the plant. I know it is considered effective on roses, but don't know whether it's labeled for trees, so read the label before you buy. One dose is supposed to last for about 5 or 6 weeks. Two doses ought to get you through JB season, but start in late May, well before the JBs emerge as it takes time for the plant to take up the chemicals.

The names of the Bayer products are really confusing. There's 3-in-1, all-in-1 and several others. Look for the one that does NOT have fertilizer in it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:50PM
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chueh, don't forget the milky spore application to kill the grubs before they hatch. Convince your neighbors to do it too. Do it on the recommended regular basis and you will hopefully see few beetles each year.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 3:33PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

In my post I did not say that it was completely safe, just that it was better than most "insecticides". I also stated "point attacks", and advised against recklessly spreading Sevin. Yes it will also kill beneficial, but again I said point attacks on the Japanese Beatles, not wholesale broadcast. "use insecticide responsibly" was the phase used. Sevin (carbaryl) does not accumulate in the environment, or in tissues, nor is transmitted up the food chain. All preferred characteristics. I also suggested that caffeine solution could possible be useful. As far as earthworms go, I reviewed again several sites such as the one linked below from Cornell, and earthworm toxicity is not mentioned, but perhaps I missed something.

As for myself personally, I spread 20 pounds of "Milky Spore" last fall on our lawn, and may very well do so again this fall. I do not wholesale broadcast any "cides". I use them "sparingly". Those I do use, I research as to their impacts, and attempt to choose wisely and use carefully. I hand pull most weeds from the lawn. I allow many other plant species to stay in our lawn besides the grass. I do nothing to grasshoppers, or most other insects. Our lawn is healthy and green, and composed of a mix of cultivars so as to reduce possible disease pressures, and also a drought resistant species. We have earthworms in our lawn soil, and their numbers are increasing. I use slow release chemical fertilizers, and leave grass clippings lay to increase organic matter, and reduce the need for those chemical fertilizers. Chemically it's all the same. I have lots of ladybugs running around looking for aphids, various wasps hunting in the plants, moths, dragonflies, and bumblebees. All of which are appreciated, and facilitated where possible. The neighbors are constantly asking what I'm doing and why, as they like the results. And so I get to coach them in responsible/careful use, instead of the wholesale broadcast that they do when they take it upon themselves or feel preached to by someone that they see as unrealistic.

I do, and will continue to KILL Japanese Beatles. They are NOT native, they are invasive, and they wreak ecological havoc defoliating native plant species that are not adapted to resist them. Native plants who's survival, and competitive ability is impacted by this defoliation. I will not try to simply move them elsewhere to do their damage elsewhere. I want them all dead or at least greatly reduced outside of their native range.

There is much more to being responsible than whether you use a "cide" or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carbaryl

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:11AM
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I always wonder how did those beetles get here in my yard anyway? I did not have them before at all. Where are they come from. Do they just decide that they want to visit this neighborhood, smell the weeping cherry tree, and decide to stay?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 10:31AM
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Japanese Beetles eat my nectarines. They are also great flyers so I also don't see how milky spore would do much good unless everyone within a a half a mile used it. I have fun sometimes standing next to my nectarine tree with a badminton or tennis racquet and see if I can swat them in the air and hit a home run by sending them over the fence. Makes the most pleasing splat sound when I get one. I also use the soapy water in a bucket method but most of them are too fast for me and get away or I end up knocking nectarines into the bucket. They always eat my best, ripest nectarines, sometimes three or four of them will be on one fruit.
My soil and mulch are full of grayish white grubs about 3/8 to a half an inch thick and about an inch or so long. Would these be Japanese beetle larva? I must have killed about 30 of them while digging in the garden.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:15AM
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I just answered my own question as to what those grubs were. I was just digging a planting hole in my garden and I see some bright green shiny object in the dirt, a Japanese Beetle. I thought maybe it was a dead one from last year but no, it was alive. I promptly cut it in half with my shovel. Looks like my Nectarines will start ripening in another week, and the Japanese Beetles must have some inbred trait that tells them time to emerge and chow down on my Nectarines.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:55AM
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I have a plum and cherry tree and my neighbor has cherries as well. I have a love hate relationship with the trees. In spring they are beautiful and the cherries attract many birds; however every July they become jb magnets. There are thousands of these monsters invading the foliage and the only way to get rid of them is to spray. For this reason I am seriously considering cutting them down. I have never been comfortable using pesticides in my yard and this approach contradicts the idea of supporting a natural balance in my garden. Any suggestions on small, upright ornamental trees for zone 5 that are resistant to these sex crazed, gluttonous freaks are welcome.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 7:40PM
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