The Japanese Beetle is the sluggish and deceptively destructive pest chewing its way through your foliage, flowers, and fruit. Although most prevalent in June, you can still find these beetles leaving their mark in late summer as well.
To protect your yard from these ruthless beetles, there are 3 primary solutions: chemicals, traps, and removal.
While some chemicals are labeled for use against adult Japanese Beetles, the permitting states and appropriate plants vary making a general recommendation difficult. Plus, natural methods for removing them are just as effective.
Alternatively, you can find Japanese Beetle traps at your local garden centers, but often do more harm than good. Their potent and alluring scents are so effective that it may draw Japanese Beetles from far that may prey on innocent by standing-plants along their route.
Our favorite (and essentially free) method is easy and incredibly effective. Using a disposable water bottle fill ¾ with water and a good squirt of dish soap. We prefer this to the standard bowl of soapy water because it is easier to catch and trap with certainty…and easier to move around the garden.
These sloth-like beetles are not skittish. You can easily grab the plant where the beetle is resting and direct the bug into the bottle without fear of them flying away. They’ll plop right into the suds where they are instantly trapped.
With the cap on, give the bottle a shake and they’ll be stuck beneath the suds with even more certainty of no escape.
The extra bonus to this low-maintenance method is that once the cap is on you can keep with your gardening supplies (and out of the reach of children) until the next time you spot a beetle. After you make the bottle the first time, it’s as easy as grabbing it and sliding the beetles in for the rest of the summer.
In the meantime, as we progress into fall, our little friends have already laid eggs into the ground to become a white-shrimplike-larva and ultimately an emerging adult in June. If you come across any of this larva during landscaping or yard projects this fall, there’s no time like the present to start proactively protecting your garden by removing them now.