Dealing with Japanese Beetles without Pesticides
The Japanese beetles are back. I do not like to use pesticides since the beetles are often feeding on the flowers where the bees would be visiting. Please help.
Gardeners who have been battling this pest for years often live with the damage. Healthy plants can usually withstand the feeding damage. The safest but time consuming control option is to knock the beetles into a can of soapy water. The soap clogs the air exchange openings (spiracles) on the insect’s body. Milky spore is a bacteria that kills the grub stage of Japanese beetles. It is applied to lawn areas and takes about three years to get established and provide significant control. You can NOT use any pesticides on the lawn when using this control option. The milky spore will provide some relief but keep in mind adult Japanese beetles may continue to fly in from surrounding properties. You and your neighbors may want to work together for better control. A soil systemic insecticide with the active ingredient imidacloprid is also labeled to control Japanese beetles on ornamental plants. A new formulation for fruit trees and vegetables is being released spring of 2010. The product is applied to the soil in fall and moves through the plant the following season. Be sure to read and follow label directions carefully. I am not a fan of traps. Research has shown that the traps draw more of the insects into your landscape.