How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles are one of the larger insects in the garden and feed directly on fibrous foliage similar to a grasshopper or snail, rather than the sap-sucking aphids and mites.
Beautiful and unmistakable for their metallic green and iridescent bodies, Japanese beetles are one of the most problematic pests in the eastern United States, as they are known to feed on just about anything from rose, bean, grape, and nearly any ornamental flower and fruiting tree.
Leaf damage from the Japanese beetle is just as recognizable as the insect itself, as host plants become “skeletonized” after having eaten away their leaves, leaving behind the skeleton of the vascular system.
First introduced to the United States in New Jersey 1916, the Japanese beetle is still fairly new to the country as its widespread in the east and still yet to truly make its way west.
What Are Japanese Beetle?
What Do Japanese Beetles Look Like?
The Japanese beetle is a type of scarab beetle and unmistakable when compared to smaller, more common pests in the garden. Japanese beetles are about ½” long and just about the same width, sharing the same general hardshell features as all other scarabs.
Synonymous with their metallic sheen, the Japanese beetle is exclusively iridescent bronze and metallic green and can be easily differentiated from other scarabs and pests. The Japanese beetle has six legs, two antennae that extend forwards from the top of their heads, and a large pair of wings on their back that makeup the iridescent bronze color of their body.
Japanese Beetle Damage
What Do Japanese Beetles Eat in the Garden?
The Japanese beetle is an invasive insect first recorded in the United States in Riverton, New Jersey nursery in 1916. Within just 4 years later the Japanese beetle was considered invasive as it had become too widespread to contain throughout the eastern half of the country.
They’re known to directly feed on the foliage of more than 300 different species of plants including just about any rose, grape, fruiting tree, fruiting crop, hollyhock, and ornamental flower.
Japanese beetles are still found exclusively in the eastern United States with some scattered throughout the Midwest and periodically some reported as far west as Wyoming and Colorado.
Japanese Beetle Larvae
How To Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
Although much larger than some of the more popular garden pests, the Japanese beetle can be treated very similarly to aphids and mealybugs when in the soft-bodied larval stage.
Because Japanese beetles are a little bigger to eradicate, it is recommended to begin with a two-step process by first spraying infested hosts with an organic pyrethrin. Follow up with an application of either neem oil or a homemade dish soap-based solution.
To help prevent eggs and grubs, add milky spore powder to your lawn available at just about any nursery. Milky spore is specifically made to kill Japanese beetle grubs and only needs to be applied to the lawn no more than once a year.