The Japanese beetles have descended with a vengeance, helping themselves to your backyard buffet. But you don’t have to let them destroy your beautiful shrubs and prize rosebushes! By being aware of their presence and being proactive, you can keep your garden looking great.
Though they are truly beautiful insects with shiny metallic shells ranging from hues of green, gold, and blue, they can do a number on certain types of plants.
Japanese beetle damage can be identified by skeletal-looking leaves, and it’s not uncommon to catch them in the act of snacking. Japanese beetles absolutely love roses (they nestle in the center of their blooms, eating them from the inside out!), so if you have them in your garden, they’ll tend to go for those first. Other plants they tend to go for are lindens, fruit trees, and maples.
Though there are several Pyrethrin-based insecticides on the market, there are also less toxic ways to control them such as good old-fashioned hand-picking (pick beetles off plants in the morning when they are less active and place them in a bucket of soapy water). Some gardeners have cited success by incorporating beneficial Tiphia Wasps into their garden, which keep beetle larvae at bay. Additionally, natural Neem Oil has shown to be effective when sprayed on plants as a preventative. Diatomaceous earth, which is a single-celled algae that harms insects exoskeletons, can also be applied around selected plants to destroy beetle larvae.
There are plants Japanese beetles dislike like garlic, rue, catnip, chives, leeks, onions, marigolds, and larkspur. Planting these in among plants they like can help lessen damage by deterring their presence.
Lastly, be wary of Japanese beetle traps – the bait that’s used can actually attract beetles to your yard, giving you a bigger problem than you bargained for.
By being proactive, you can happily say bon voyage to these little buggers!