Milky Spore and Japanese Beetle Control?

Some say milky spore is very effective against Japanese beetles. But some beg to differ. So what is your experience?

We have a 3 acre lot, lawn, easement (small trees, wild grass) area and wooded area. A couple of neighbors have similar lots. Then we have a 100+ acre farmland waiting for some development, more and more.

My first concern is the cost. It is going to be about $500 to $1,000 to cover the entire lawn and garden area. What about the wooded area and wild easement area? It is also a pain to apply the powder.

Clearly my neighbors do not treat the lawn with milky spores. If I treat, would the JBs fly from my neighbors’ yard?

If no milky spore, what is an effective way to control the JBs? Some say no beetle traps. But JBs caused pretty serious damage on my sweet cherry trees and grape vines. Other fruit trees are attached, but survived just fine.

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All I know is it works for me. We started putting it down on the lawns about 12 years ago. I might see one or two beetles all summer.

I’m in same situation. I have 2 acres and that stuff costs a fortune. Not willing to spend that much

Once the bacteria infects a beetle grub underground, it reproduces itself a thousand-fold and causes the grub to rupture. In this manner, the milky spore spreads itself throughout the entire area by the millions. They say drop a spoonful of powder every 4 feet in a grid-like pattern, but you can cheat and spread the drops further apart to save on product and cost. It may take a few years to build up to full effect.

Yes, beetles could fly in from further afield, but your property and the immediate surrounding area is now “where JBs come to die!” When they burrow into your soil in August, they are doomed!

Apply the powder during a rain, or right before you are confident it will rain. Best time to apply is June through August, but it can be applied anytime the ground is not frozen.


When I read the Amazon product review, it appears some say it works and some day not. So confused. Do not want to throw $1,000 down to the drain.

So far, I do not have any grub damage to lawn, just some JB damage over summer.

If we are pretty sure that this thing works, for several years, then I may bite the bullet. If there is any doubt, then I do not like to spend the $$ to experiment.

The JB trap is also debatable.

Don’t go for the trap. You will bring the JBs from your Neighborhood to your yard. I made that mistake once. Never again.


If no traps, no milky spore, what is left? Do not think any spray works for JBs…

Like Matt said, go with the milky spores but spread a bit wider then 4 feet. The bacterias will multiples overtime all over your yard.


Gardens Alive is advertising a Bt product which supposedly kills adult JBs (and some related beetles) . Don’t have those pests here, so I can’t say anything about it, but it may be an alternative to the milky spore product.

Sevin definitely kills Japanese Beetles. Neem and soap seem to effectively control JB. None of those product have much residual power and must be reapplied after every rain. the peak season whereJB really do damage only seems to last about 3 weeks here.

I have several bottles of holticultural oil. I’ll try to spray it. It is mainly cherry trees. All the trees are without leaves now.

Soap is surprisingly effective on adults. Milky spore should be considered a lawn product, not necessarily a beetle control products.

Besides my orchard, I have about 80 rose bushes, which are JB magnets.
I used MS two years in a row, with great results. The problem with MS is that
it feeds on the JB grubs and after all of the grubs are gone, the food source
for the MS is gone also. Then the MS bacteria eventually dissipates and dies. JB’s then fly in from other areas, and the cycle starts all over again. I can control JB’s in roses, because they like to sleep and mate inside the blooms, so it’s very easy to go through the roses and squish them to death. But in the orchard, they are impossible to control. Sevin or any other insecticide is a contact chemical, and unless you have swarms of them like biblical locusts, they are impossible to kill, because you never see them, until the damage is already done.

This makes more sense now. It explains why some had success and some did not. For my cherry trees, JBs came after the fruit was already done. So no harm in spray with oil mix. I figure the sticky oil make JBs stick and finally die. But I see frequent spraying. This is fine for small young trees.

But this is bad for grapes since grape fruiting in late September or early October.

In an orchard just don’t trap the moles. The moles eat a lot of JB grubs. You don’t want the moles in your yard so you could spend your money on applying jb treatment on the yard.

Skunks dig up grubs in my yard.

“Navaho Pa” shows us how he applies Milky Spore!


That old fella did a very nice job of explaining how Milky Spore works and it’s a quite clever way of dispensing it.

Is it me though? But there is no way those are 9/16th inch holes in the bottom of that can. They appear to be pencil width which would be more like 5/16ths

I have a mole problem along with Japanese beetle problems but I’ve always been resistant to Milky Spore simply because of cost. But I didn’t realize that each dead grub releases that many spores. So maybe I’ll give it a try.

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The only thing Navaho Pa stated incorrectly was that “voles” would eat grubs. Voles are herbivores. They eat plant roots. It’s moles that eat grubs.

When I used milky spore 7-8 years ago, They sold a large tube that looked like a very large and long salt shaker (a cardboard tube about 1" diameter and about 4 ft long). There were holes at one end of the tube. I walked around and shook the tube filled with milky spores all over my yard…

So far, I have not seen many Japanese beetles after all these years so that could be why. I hope it lasts a few more years. It also helps that every house owner on my street cares about his/her lawn and maintains it well.

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I priced it at my local ag shop and noticed they have the same powder that was shown in the above video and they also had it in pelletized form for use in a drop spreader. Wonder if one is better than the other?

My biggest mole pressure is about 50 feet from my orchard. I’d like to drive them out for good. They are destructive. And the Jananese beetles do a number on my trees every year.