Each year about this time the JB start to appear. First one or two shows up and a few days later they look like a swarm of bees attacking almost every plant I have. Most years they go after my apple, roses, and hazel. In a couple of weeks my muscadines will start to bloom and they will congregate and damage the leaves and flowers. I now have about 280’ of vines and my current control methods only give me partial control and involve a lot of effort. I mostly spray them early each morning with neem/dawn/water. I thought this was a good time to discuss your methods of control and how effective these procedures work. Any comments and input are welcome. I read through most of the current post and it would be good to get updates. Thanks
This is one way The Ultimate Japanese Beetle trap
At my place they primarily attack hazels and strawberries. I spray nematodes, to completely unknown effect. I would certainly say that the nematodes do not control the beetles. I bought neem and was planning on trying your soapy neem spray method.
I had a huge JB problem then the mole’s moved in and now I only get a few each year. I just hope voles don’t move in behind.
Neem oil/soap has not worked at all for me, not at all from what I can tell. (2oz DynaGro neem to 1 oz castile soap to 1 gal water); I tried it all last season and used 2 different batches of oil. I had to resort to Sevin (which I hate to do).
I’m onto a potential new method, but don’t know much yet/am just exploring – wintergreen oil. I’m reading that [wintergreen + ginger], [wintergreen], and [spearmint] oil(s) (order of effectiveness respectively) show promise. i.e. these are supposedly best natural oils – I’m just onto this but haven’t found much real world testimonial… so not sure if it reduces them enough to be worth it or not…
Clark this contraption will do but put a sturdy trash liner in it and change in a few weeks. The dead beetles smell badl in the heat.
Yes they smell awful! Great fish food or fertilizer!
My goal right now is to get through my muscadine pollination without major damage. The beetles like these leaves and they also like congregating in the open flowers. This pollinating period is mostly for about four weeks and I don’t like to apply any sprays during this time. During this time period I’m still walking around the vines every morning and again late afternoons with a container of soap water for them to drop into. I don’t get all of the beetles but it appears to reduce the damage. Each trip takes me about 15 minutes to cover both sides of 280’ of vines.
I’m on such a small plot of land (i.e. small suburban yard); I’m afraid traps would cause more harm than good since I can’t get them more than 10 feet from my plants.
Walking the plants and vacuuming (with a stick vacuum and nozzle attachment) worked better for me than picking/soap water. But probably looks really weird to the neighbors. In past couple seasons I was able to walk the plants 2x to 3x day. I’d try DE but afraid that would kill bees too. (If I spray, I spray on non flowering only to hopefully avoid killing bees).
But now I have to be back to office since Covid restrictions have eased up, so I can’t be home to do this any more (until 4pm+ daily). I will probably try that wintergreen and see if it yields results. But it’ll probably be spraying Sevin again unless I get lucky. (I really don’t want to spray – because, toxic --, but if I can’t walk the plants and nothing natural works, then not sure what alternative is).
Last year I had good, not great, success controlling them with commercial traps like https://www.amazon.com/Bonide-1971-Japanese-Beetle-Bagger/dp/B000I1R1DU/ref=sr_1_15?crid=V4YFXPL5E0Q3&keywords=japanese+beetle+traps&qid=1653581288&sprefix=japanese+beet%2Caps%2C801&sr=8-15. Advantages: no spraying, set them up and then just empty occasionally, not expensive, not time consuming. I still had some damage but the vast majority of the beetles went from my plants to the traps. I’ve only seen one beetle so far this year, and it died a quick crushing death.
I put down milky spore almost ten years ago and that ended my JB battles. Before that I used Surround, it works well but requires regular refreshing.
I’m tempted to go the heterorhabditis bacteriophora route later this warm season to catch the young grubs, but I’m always hesitant to try it with my numerous free range chickens. I know they’re supposedly safe for animals, but anything parasitic worm-wise gives me paranoia.
Scott, did you see any change in lightning bugs post milky spore?
Not that I noticed…
I just bought two of the traps at Home Depot.
You might want to read some of the reports on traps actually making things worse, e.g.
It seems like there are some variables which decide whether the trapping will work or not… and I have no idea what those variables are. Maybe having a big enough piece of property so you can put the traps well away from where the vines/trees are.
I’m going to keep a close watch and If the traps cause an influx of the beetle to my plants I will remove them. I can get the recommended 30’ distance on one side but I will need to go past my property line for the other one. Great to hear that your problem with the beetles is solved and appears to a permanent solution.
The fruit cocktail traps is what i will try this year. Last year i handpicked.
Neighbor put out several of the pheromone traps and attracted them… from afar…not good.
great! Will give it a go then.
Well, I took the plunge and ordered some wintergreen oil since I can’t really find anybody using it/trying it. Would be nice if it worked, not much lost if it doesn’t work – don’t have real super high hopes, but hey, never know. Idea based on: