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How To Stop Japanese Beetles From Destroying Plants, Trees & Bushes

Without a way to stop Japanese beetles, they can quickly decimate an entire landscape in just a few days.

Japanese beetles are voracious eaters. And unlike many pests that attack only specific plants, they chew and devour foliage from nearly any species.

That includes vegetable plants, flowers, bushes, trees – and even ornamental grasses and shrubs.

But with a few simple and natural methods, it is possible to control their population, and the damage they cause.

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Why Pesticides Cause More Harm Than Good

Although pesticides can be effective in controlling beetle populations, when used, they also kill a whole slew of beneficial insects as well.

Honeybees, butterflies and a whole host of other critical pollinators are destroyed when pesticides are applied.

And, there of course is always the concern of personal safety and health with pesticides as well.

Pesticides that kill beetles also kill beneficial insects like honeybees.

But, believe it or not, you can effectively stop Japanese beetles and control their population with a few natural methods. And, in the process, still keep beneficial insects alive and healthy. See : Attracting Beneficial Insects

It simply comes down to timing, persistence, and the right approach.

How To Stop Japanese Beetles

What Not To Use – Avoid Beetle Traps / Lures

Unfortunately, beetle traps & lures create more of a beetle problem in your yard, not less!

Beetle traps use a scented bag or liquid to lure beetles into a confined space to trap them.

beetle trap
Beetle traps can cause more harm than good, bringing in beetles from surrounding areas directly into your landscape.

Unfortunately, the scented bag or liquid used in the trap attracts beetles from a wide area. In many cases, that means multiplying your problem many times over.

And, of course, all of those extra beetles don’t always end up in the trap. Instead, they end up on all kinds of plants around the trap, causing additional harm to your landscape.

A Bucket Of Soapy Water – The First Line Of Defense To Stop Japanese Beetles

The first line of defense against Japanese beetles may sound old-fashioned, but it works wonders.

Hand-picking beetles off of plants and disposing of them in a bucket of soapy water is one of the most effective long-term solutions for control.

The majority of the Beetle population emerges from the ground to feed and mate over a two to three week period.

Japanese beetles mating
Beetles will emerge and mate on plants. And they can easily be removed by hand to greatly control the population.

By simply walking through and hand picking Japanese beetles into a pail of soapy water during the period, you can surprisingly control a majority of the population.

And since they can’t complete the cycle by laying eggs back into the ground, you help control the following year’s population as well.

Neem Oil

When it comes to effective natural sprays that stop Japanese Beetles without harming other insects, Neem oil is at the top of the list.

Neem oil is made naturally from the seeds of neem trees.

And when mixed with water and sprayed onto plant foliage, it is fatal to beetles. And more importantly, not to bees, butterflies, ladybugs and other beneficial insects.

neem oil

To make, mix 4 teaspoons of neem oil with one gallon of water and a few drops of dish soap. The dish soap simply helps the mixture adhere to the foliage of plants.

Apply the mixture with a sprayer in the morning or early evening hours.

Spray weekly and re-apply after rains for maximum control.

Controlling Grubs With Dish Soap And Water

Since beetles emerge as grubs from the soil, eliminating the grubs will eliminate the beetles.

And one of the best ways to do this is with a simple solution of detergent and water.

Japanese Beetle grubs
A Japanese beetle grub in the soil.

By mixing a few teaspoons of ordinary dish soap with a gallon of water, you can create a solution that can then be sprayed on your lawn.

The soapy water forces grubs to come up out of the ground. And, when they do, they become easy targets for birds to feed on.

Here it to controlling Japanese beetles in your landscape – naturally!

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