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The Beetle Battle - Controlling Japanese Beetles


About 3 to 4 weeks after the last frost date, the battle of the beetles begins. The most damaging of all  beetles is the Japanese beetle. They feed on a wide variety of plants (about 300 different species). Watch for them on your vegetable crops such as green beans. When they first appear, handpick them off the leaves and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. Early morning or late evening seem to be best for handpicking, as the beetles are least active at that time.

JAPANESE BEETLE TRAPS are effective, but must be located a good distance away from crops as they include an attractant to lure them into the trap. If you have a small yard, the traps are probably not advisable as they will be nothing more than an invitation to have a beetle party in your yard. You may end up attracting more beetles than you had before. However, when located at the perimeter of a large yard, they capture a lot of these pesky bugs and draw them away from the garden.

One of the best spray controls is a product called NEEM OIL, an organic natural insecticide derived from Neem trees. Neem oil products act as insecticidal soaps, killing Japanese Beetles on contact. In addition, they act as antifeedants, making the plant that is sprayed with Neem oil a less tasty treat for adult Japanese Beetles.

Covering crops with FLOATING ROW COVERS can also be an effective control.

PREVENTION – always worth a pound of cure! Applying a product called MILKY SPORE powder will dramatically reduce the number of Japanese beetles the next season. Only one application is necessary. The natural bacteria in this product kills the white grubs, or beetle larvae, that feed on grass roots. Apply the powder to your lawn, and after killing the initial grubs, the spores actually multiply in the soil, becoming more effective over time and remaining viable for many years. Milky Spore Powder can be applied any time the soil is warm.

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