Did you know that Japanese beetles only come out about 6-8 weeks out of the year for a feeding period?
Who would have ever thought that those little creatures could do so much damage in only a few short weeks?
But they do! I dread them every year because they can absolutely ravage a harvest.
Yet, it seems there is very little that can be done to stop these tiny pests. Well, I’m here to share with you different ways to rid your garden of Japanese beetles this year.
Hopefully you’ll find one method that works well for you.
How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
1. Sevin Dust
Okay, let me say, I try to keep an organic garden. But truthfully, after losing my harvests a couple of years in a row because of Japanese Beetles, I have been known to throw in my organic towel and pull out the Sevin Dust.
So if you are battling Japanese Beetles, and you feel that they are winning, then you might want to consider pulling out this trusty insecticide and sprinkle it on your plants. Those beetles will be dead in no time.
However, remember that you will have to re-apply. Unfortunately, Japanese Beetles come out in high numbers. So just because you killed the beetles that were on your plants today, doesn’t mean there won’t be a ton back on them again tomorrow.
2. Bag a Bug
This is usually my first go-to when I begin seeing Japanese Beetles hanging around my garden. These neat little traps consist of bags and a little metal pole.
You place the bags on the pole, and there is something that comes inside the bags that draws the Japanese Beetles to the bag instead of to your plants.
So the beetles then fly into the bag and can’t get back out. You just leave the bags hanging out around your garden until they are full. This is a great way to keep insecticides off of your plants while also keeping the bugs off of your plants too.
3. Guinea Fowl
Japanese Beetles are the whole reason I invested in guinea-fowl. I shared my honest experience with raising guinea-fowl here.
Personally, I love them. I also don’t have nearly the issue with Japanese Beetles in my garden since we’ve added guineas to our homestead. They just walk around and eat as many Japanese Beetles as their little stomachs can hold, and I enjoy a great harvest at the end of the year that hasn’t been munched on by beetles.
So if you live in a location where you could add guinea-fowl to your set-up, I’ve had great success with them and hopefully you can too. The only downside to having guineas for Japanese Beetle protection is that they can’t always reach the beetles that are really high up.
For instance, I have large grape vines. The guineas protect the bottom and the middle part of those vines like crazy because they can eat the beetles on them.
But I still have to watch the top of the grape vines because the guineas can reach them without flying. So I still use alternative methods on battling Japanese Beetles in special instances such as this.
4. A Cup of Soapy Water
With this method, you’ll just need a plastic cup that is filled half-way or a little more with water and add dish soap to the mix.
Then you’ll walk around your yard or garden and grab Japanese Beetles by the hand full. Next, you’ll toss them into this soapy water. The Japanese Beetles will not survive the cup of soapy water.
Now, this isn’t a quick hands-off fix, but it will help you to battle Japanese Beetles effectively if you stay on top of your plants.
5. Cover Your Rows
So the Japanese Beetles are wearing you down. You can’t have guineas for one reason or another, and you are really tired of having to walk around your garden with soapy water or sprinkling dust all over your plants.
What can you do?
Well, you can purchase row covers. Then you simply cover the rows of plants in your garden. This will cause the Japanese Beetles to land on top of the row covers instead of your plants.
Therefore, protecting the plants from being nibbled on and saving your harvest and flowers for the year. It is also a great option for those that want to strictly garden organically. You won’t have to introduce any pesticides to your garden with this method.
Then when the beetles have passed, you remove the row covers. But don’t feel like you’re purchasing row covers for a single use. You can use them again when the weather gets colder to protect your plants from freezing. They also help keep your plants protected from pests such as leafhoppers. If you grow carrots, then you have to be on the lookout for them.
So row covers can come in handy for many things, but especially for battling Japanese Beetles.
6. Neem Oil
Neem oil does not mix well with Japanese Beetles. You can make a neem oil spray to spritz on your plants.
Then when the Japanese Beetles eat your plants they will ingest the neem oil. Which then impacts their offspring.
So what happens is the adult Japanese Beetle ingests the neem oil spray, then they lay eggs, and the neem oil carries over to their babies. The neem oil harms them and will cause the Japanese Beetle larvae to die before they can become adults.
Which all equates to you lessening the Japanese Beetle population in your garden. In turn, it gives your plants a greater chance to thrive with less pests trying to feed off of them.
7. A.M. Coverage
Did you know that Japanese Beetles are most active in the morning? Well, they are.
If you don’t want to invest in row covers you could do the following. Drop big sheets over your garden or plants in the morning, this way the plants are protected from Japanese Beetles from being able to land on them and feed.
Then when the morning activity has settled, you just roll up the sheets with the Japanese Beetles inside.
Next, you’ll want to fill up a big bucket of water with dish soap in it. Next, you can shake out the sheets into the soapy water. The Japanese Beetles will not be able to survive the soapy water.
Then you just repeat the same thing the next morning until their 8 week feeding period has ended.
8. Fermented Fruit Cocktail
I’ll be honest with you, I try really hard not to eat canned anything that came from a store. The reason is because of all the preservatives they use to give those foods a longer shelf-life.
So occasionally I’ll have people give me store bought canned food. I don’t ever turn it away. Instead, I only take certain items that I know I can use in a different way.
Well, fruit cocktail happens to be one of those items. You just open the can and leave it sitting out in the sun for about a week. This gives the fruit enough time to ferment.
Then you create a stable base made of bricks, cinder blocks, or wood blocks. Next, you’ll place a small pail on the sturdy base and then place the fermented fruit cocktail (still in its can) inside the pail.
Finally, you’ll place water in the pail until you have almost reached the brim of the can of fruit cocktail. Place this set-up about 10 feet or so from the plants that the Japanese Beetles are destroying. What this will do is send off a sweet smell that will cause the Japanese Beetles to bypass your plants and go for the fermented fruit cocktail.
However, because of the water in the pail, the Japanese Beetles will never be able to get back out of the bucket and instead will be drowned.
My final suggestion is for you to plant geraniums in your garden. Japanese Beetles absolutely love geraniums. They think they are the best tasting treat.
However, they have a really nasty side effect to Japanese Beetles. When they eat them, they cause the beetles to become dizzy and disoriented. This in turn, causes them to fall to the ground.
Well, that happens to be a great thing for you because you can then sweep them up off of the ground and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
Again, they will not be able to survive the soapy water so this puts an end to your Japanese Beetle problem. You’ll just need to go around regularly and collect them because they won’t stay dizzy and disoriented forever.
As I mentioned earlier, I actually use a variety of these methods to best stop my issue with Japanese Beetles (because I have to battle them every year.) For myself, I use my guineas to take care of the majority of the problem.
However, for whatever I have leftover that I have to deal with, I use the cup of soapy water to drop all of the Japanese Beetles down inside, and we try to cover our plants whenever possible. I have to be careful how much I leave them covered though because of our climate.
See, we have really warm summers, and our plants will cook if we aren’t careful. Which means I can’t leave them covered for too long of a period, but I do what I can while I can.
So hopefully you can find a concoction of these suggestions that will help you to rid your garden of Japanese Beetles this year as well.
Well, now you have my suggestions on winning ‘The Battle of the Beetles.’ I know how frustrating it can be to work so hard on a garden and have these little pests come in and ruin your hard work in a matter of weeks. It can actually feel quite demoralizing.
So I want to hear from you. Do you have to battle Japanese Beetles? If not, can you tell us why? If so, what do you do to battle Japanese Beetles each year? Have you found anything that works particularly well for you?
We’d love to hear from you all so please leave us your thoughts and comments in the space provided below.