Battling the Japanese Beetle

Have you noticed strange things with your trees, perennials, veggie’s, and annuals lately? A scorched look, decimated leaves? We are in the middle of a Japanese Beetle outbreak. These sizable, green-headed, bronze-backed critters attack in numbers. The main symptom is a skeletonization of the leaves. As an aside, the word “skeletonization” means exactly what it sounds like. You will know it when you see it. There are many ways to control these pests…

1. Hand pick the beetles and drop them is soapy water. The beetles sense other beetles and attack in numbers, therefore, if you are able to get rid of the first invaders to a plant you may avoid the crushing stampede that resembles teenagers at a Taylor Swift concert. If a plant is already under mass attack, this method will be too little, too late.

2. Spray the infested plant with an insecticide that has some residual control. Luckily it does not take a potent insecticide to kill Japanese Beetles. Products such as Bonide Eight, which are labeled for use on vegetables up to the day of harvest, are effective.

3. Treat these pests in the grub stage of their lifecycle when they are under your lawn.  There are both organic and non-organic ways to do this. Find both here at Sargent’s. This can be effective, however, these bugs fly, so controlling the grubs in your yard will only go so far in controlling them next season.

4. Visit the U of MN Extension’s website for more great information on Japanese Beetle control


Lastly, Japanese Beetle traps are not recommended as the attractant attracts more beetles to your yard than it catches, only making the problem worse.

Stop in if you have additional questions and good luck with the battle!

Nick Sargent


Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Japanese_Beetles_on_Pasture_Rose,_Ottawa.jpg

Written by

"Jill" of all trades at Sargent's, Nina Sargent co-owns Sargent's with her husband and in-laws. She keeps communication going between the garden centers, landscape, nursery and the public. Nina loves helping connect people with their outdoor living spaces - especially while creating habitat for wildlife. She enjoys running, skiing (of all kinds) and reading.