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Organic Methods of Getting Rid of Japanese Beetles

There are two words, when used together, create a deep, guttural groan in vegetable and ornamental growers alike: Japanese Beetles. These guys swoop in all at once, eat our plants, then disappear, leaving gardeners angry and frustrated. Perhaps the worst thing about Japanese Beetles is that they seem impossible to get rid of but there are organic methods of getting rid of Japanese Beetles.

A few years ago Japanese Beetle bags were introduced on the market as a way to lure and trap beetles. Well, they certainly work to lure them! However, if you want to get rid of your beetles put one of these in your NEIGHBOR’S yard. The smell of the bags attract the beetles from all around, which will certainly snack on your plants on their way. I have an agreement with my neighbor, we won’t do that to each other.

Keep Japanese Beetles Off Your Crops

The key to preventing damage is to keep an eye out for the first signs of Japanese Beetles, often around early to mid-June. These pests are most active in the heat of the day so be sure to check your garden for them during that time as well as the lace-like leaf damage indicative of their eating pattern.

1. Smash! If you are lucky enough to find only one or two beetles at a time, just smash them or place them in a bucket of soapy water. This is nothing to worry about, as they cannot do great damage alone. If you see increased numbers, move on to step 2.

2. Fabric Row Covers- This product can be a lifesaver if you are faced with large numbers of beetles. Simply cover the plant for the few weeks the beetles are in town, then uncover for the remainder of the summer. Keep in mind that pollination will halt while the row cover is on since you won’t only be keeping out Japanese Beetles, but every other insect as well. Consider pollinating by hand if necessary.

3. Birds- Attracting and feeding birds in the garden will keep them around to eat pests, including includes Japanese Beetles. In fact, when I asked my grandpa, the most experienced gardener I know, “What can I do about Japanese Beetles?” his simple reply was, “Blackbirds.” Feed them and they will come.

When planning your organic methods of getting rid of Japanese Beetles, the best thing to do is be prepared. Have a plan in place and keep a close eye on your garden for damage, but don’t stress. They will be gone before you know it, just make sure they don’t take your plants with them! 

Do you get Japanese Beetles in your garden?


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