Monday, March 9, 2009

Prevent Japanese Beetles

Watch out for Japanese Beetles this spring/summer they are o.5 to 1 inch long with a dark brown head and the body is shiny bluish-green. The wing covers are a metallic copper, which shines various colors in the light and the head is bluish-green. It will eat most anything: flowers, fruit trees, roses and all berries...endless damage in the garden. My goal for this year is no more Japanese Beetles damage; I will catch them early before they destroy all the plants.
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Predators: Starlings love Japanese beetles as snacks! Native birds will feed on the larvae. You can help the birds along by turning the soil in autumn to expose the larva. Chickens will be another option, but it won't be allowed in the community with HOA :-(

Repellent plants: Catnip, chives, garlic, tansy and rue. Plant garlic around garden area to repel Japanese beetles.

Control Methods:

* Good plants for trap crops include: evening primrose, soybeans, wild grapes, African marigolds, borage and knotweed!

* Make bait traps of water, mashed fruit, sugar and yeast. Place on the perimeter of the garden at least 1 inch off the ground in plastic jugs with an entrance hole cut at the top. Choose sunny spots and strain the bodies out of traps every evening.

* For easier handpicking : In the morning spread out a sheet under infested plants. Shake the plants and the beetles will fall onto the sheet. Dump them into a bucket of soapy water. Dew on their wings in the morning keeps them from flying away. The cooler air also makes them more lethargic.

* Use pheromone traps keeping them at a distance from victim plants so you won't attract new beetles.

* Use interplantings of four o'clocks (Mirabilis), larkspur, white geraniums, red (and dwarf) buckeyes whose flowers attract and poison the beetles. The leaves of the castor bean plant also poison them. These plants are poisonous to people to so be careful using them around children or pets!

* Milky spore disease known as Bacillus popilliae can be used against the grub stage as a most effective long term control. This is best done on a wide scale treating entire infested areas in neighborhoods or grasslands. Complete control may take a few years. Once it does take effect the control can last up to 15 years!

* Japanese Beetle Trap and Bait
The following bait and trap method is to be used during the height of the Japanese Beetle season.

1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 mashed banana
1 pkg yeast

Dissolve sugar and yeast in the water. Mix the well maxhed banana into the sugar water. Put all ingredients in a gallon milk jug. Place the jug (with the top off) in an area where Japanese Beetles gather. The fermentation and odor of the bait attracts the beetles which get in but not out.

* Trap crops for the beetles are African marigold, borage, evening primrose (oonthera), four o'clocks, knotweed, soybeans, white roses, white and pastel zinnias, wild grapes and blackberries.

* Nematodes: Another control for the grub stage is to apply beneficial nematodes to the infested area. These are applied at a ratio of 50,000 per square foot of targeted area.

* Botanical Control: Pyrethrin, ryania or rotenone.

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
GREAT articles posted by Sara's "the herb gardener blog":
According to Sara, the best way is to catch Japanese Beetles early "Trap and kill these first beetles and place them in a bucket of water to which you have added a couple of tablespoons of dish soap. The rotting beetles will send another scent indicator to other beetles: STAY AWAY, and the soap will discourage mosquitoes and other pests from using the water as a breeding ground."

How to Make Your Own Japanese Beetle Trap from

Get a one-gallon plastic milk jug and cut the top off. Not too big of an opening. Leave the handle on too. Now mix 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of sugar and a packet of yeast (a teaspoon will do.) Mash a banana and stir that around in there too. Hang this adorable contraption from the infested tree about 3 feet off the ground.

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