Bye bye Japanese beetle!

A new bacterium has been developed to combat Japanese beetles. It is a BT bacteria, BTG. Gardens Alive has exclusive rights for a few years. A product that works on grubs with the BTG was developed, and it doesn’t work super well, not as good as say Merot. But it works. The other product is for adult beetles. You spray it on your plants and if they eat it, they will die. it doesn’t hurt bees. Product should be on the market soon.

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Drew, link? And btw, I’m going to get your scions cut this week.

Thanks for posting. Hope it works well.

If Gardens Alive has exclusive rights to it is is doubtful to me that it is very effective. The person or group with the patent would seem to stand to make a heck of a lot more money with distribution to commercial growers through a major agricultural pesticide company.

Organic is big business- Garden’s Alive is a tiny supplier. I don’t think many farmers go there as a supply source. I guess there’s a chance this is a move by the company to change its model.

The suggestion that BT can be effective at all against a beetle and not just worms and grubs is very interesting, though. If it worked you’d probably have to spray trees every day during a JB infestation. New ones just keep coming and BT breaks down extremely quickly. For a home orchard it certainly would beat crushing them with your fingers.

Gardens Alive owns Guerney’s and Henry Fields. Plus their own product lines. The product Auburn linked to is not the beetle one. I heard it’s going to be called BeetleJUS (Pronounced Beetlejuice) I heard about it from a testing facility that was hired to run field trials. They were very impressed with the beetle product, not so much with the grub control product. It worked but not as well as current grub control products.

Drew. Sorry about posting the wrong link. Bill

Hey thanks Bill, I didn’t know it was already available. Man it’s super expensive! We are going to have to wait 2 years before the price goes down! Still this is good news, they are a problem for me.
What’s cool is it works, is organic too. We need a BT now against SWD! I heard that this was sheer luck as tens of thousands of strains of BT were tested. Only this one (BTG) was found to be useful.
The grub control is useless for me as my neighbors do not use it. But here, any beetle that feeds in my yard will die. Very useful as they can fly in for miles. This is at last a very effective control.

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Drew, why do you assume it works?

I just spent 15 minutes searching for some source of verification and the only thing I could find support for was the soil applied formulation, besides that from Garden’s Alive. Can you find anyone but the seller that verifies the efficacy?

I used to buy a lot of B.S products from Garden’s Alive that didn’t do what they said they would, and organic suppliers are no more ethical than other businesses in my experience.

The last snake oil I purchased was an organic spray that was claimed to repel stink bugs. The stuff had a strong odor but I could see absolutely no affect on my stink bugs that were all over my ripening tomatoes.

Results from field trials by Dr. Chris Williamson. I heard an interview with him about his various projects.
Dr. R. Chris Williamson
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Entomology
1630 Linden Drive
246 Russell Labs
Office: 608-262-4608
Fax: 608-262-3322

From the UW website:

Chris’s research program is designed to support his extension (outreach) programming. Consequently, much of his research is applied field research that requires replication over a minimum of two years. As an extension entomology specialist, his mission is to provide various constituency groups including the turfgrass, ornamental, Christmas tree, greenhouse, cranberry, and grape industries with current, relevant, effective, and environmentally sound information that will enable them to successfully manage respective insect pest problems that they experience.

The primary emphasis of his applied research program is to develop Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for insects with major emphasis on cultural control strategies and plant resistance. The goal of his research program is to develop alternative, non-chemical management strategies for insect pests which will reduce reliance on conventional pesticides.

Dr. Chris Williamson is a Professor of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is an extension/research entomologist (70% extension/30% applied research) in urban landscape entomology including turfgrass (golf courses, lawns, athletic fields, and sod farms), ornamentals (nursery and landscape), Christmas trees, and greenhouses. Dr. Williamson recently expanded his Extension responsibilities to include cranberries and grapes in Wisconsin.

Dr. Williamson received his B.S. degree in Agronomy (Turfgrass Science) from the Ohio State University in 1989, his M.S. degree in Entomology from The Ohio State University in 1993, and his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Kentucky in 1998.

OK, so I just searched for information on his research about the product and can’t find a speck- through the U. of Wis or his own name. Can you find me a link anywhere?

No, I heard it from the horses mouth, I didn’t read it anywhere. I heard a radio interview. Feel free to email him about it. The research might be so new, nothing is written about it.
I heard him, and believe him, so I’m good with the info I heard.

I don’t blame you for that, but I’m always skeptical of a mother’s claims of the extreme talent of their children.

If I had a product like that I’d want to market it through Home Depot, Walmart and the rest as well as sell it to landscape companies in commercial size batches. I’m pretty sure the market is out there if the stuff is effective. The volume that would be used just by home growers of roses would be huge if it is effective.

But not all professors are great businessman, or maybe he wants this to grow slowly in a manageable way.

He just field tested it, he does not own it, nor does the University. I also have no idea of the market strategies, it very well could be marketed to farmers as well, Garden’s Alive has only the retail exclusive, the commercial rights may be elsewhere?

In the interview , Chris was a skeptic but was surprised by the test results. He said he had no input on distribution. Although I think he developed the spray? The interviewer knew the name of the spray but Chris did not. He has no input, only did field tests.

Since he has no horse in this race, he has no reason to hype it, which makes his conclusions valuable to me anyway. BT and BTI work well, so I see no reason why BTG would not fall in line with the others?

Anyway, thanks for bringing it to my attention and not being offended by my skpticism.

I wonder if it might work on pc?

Cornell has discovered a couple of beneficial nematodes that are native here that aggressively feed on PC larva. There is an article about it in Good Fruit Grower magazine this month. They are showing some commercial growers how to colonize their own batches and I suspect in a couple years they will be available commercially.

Unlike BN’s commercially available now, these should easily survive our winters and be a long term solution to PC pupating under the trees.


I guess it depends how they feed? You want to spray plum and peach trees for J beetle. I guess it depends when the insect is around. My only concern is lady bugs eating spray covered aphids, will they also die?
The nematode discovery is good news too.

I’ve used Milky Spore for JB’s with good success. It feeds on the grubs
and multiplies exponentially. A lot of rose growers use it. JB’s used to
infest my rose gardens every year, but after applying MS two years in a
row, I see very few of them.