Say Hello to Summer and Goodbye to Japanese Beetles
Ah, summer. If you’re like us, you can’t wait for summer to get here. Longer days and warmer nights make the summer months feel like a vacation—especially in the south!
Summer will be here before you know it. Which is why we want to help you stay proactive this spring by protecting your yard against Japanese beetles.
Get to know the Japanese beetle
So, what exactly is a Japanese beetle? And why don’t you want them in your yard?
Japanese beetles are about half an inch long with dark heads and metallic green and brown wing covers. These beetles love the summer months (even though they’re only around for six to eight weeks). In that time, they can destroy the look of your yard and garden by eating through your plants and leaves—not exactly the look you were going for.
But have no fear, Killingsworth is here! We know you want to keep your yard and garden looking beautiful all summer long, so we’ve gathered some tips and tricks for keeping these pesky beetles at bay!
Keep these Japanese beetle prevention tips and tricks in mind this summer:
Skip the Japanese beetle traps
You’ve likely seen Japanese beetles around your yard before. Maybe you’ve even set out a trap to try and catch them. While these traps are effective, they may be doing you more harm than good.
When you set up a Japanese beetle trap, the pheromones inside of the trap are used to lure the beetles in. Once they get inside, they’re stuck. After your trap has hit max-capacity of beetles, you simply throw it away and put out a new one! Easy, right? Not so much.
The problem with Japanese beetle traps is that you might be attracting more beetles than the trap can hold. When the beetles realize they can’t get into the trap, they’re bound to go exploring. This could lead to more beetles getting in your yard or garden and destroying your plants—all while never getting caught.
Watch your plants
Japanese beetles love to snack on leaves. If you start to notice the leaves on your plants are looking funny, chances are they have become skeletonized.
Leaf skeletonization is what occurs when pests like the Japanese beetle eat the tissue between the veins of leaves. While these beetles are not likely to ruin your plants’ health, they can definitely ruin the look of your garden.
Just like the traps used for catching them, these beetles secrete pheromones when they’re eating, attracting more beetles to come feed on the same leaf. If you’ve found a single Japanese beetle, you can bet your bottom dollar he’s not alone! So, it’s best to try to get rid of these leaf-eaters as soon as you see signs of one.
Monitor your local heat index
We’re not the only ones who enjoy the hot, sunny days of summer. Japanese beetles love the summer months—maybe even more than you do! When the temperature reaches 80 degrees and higher, you’re bound to start seeing Japanese beetles around your home.
We suggest you start preparing your yard for these hot, summer days ahead of time. Japanese beetles are most active on sunny days, and prefer to munch on plants that are in direct sunlight. If you stay proactive, you can protect your yard and plants from Japanese beetle damage.
Get rid of the “grubs”
Grubs are Japanese beetle larvae. Japanese beetles will lay their eggs in the soil, and once they hatch, you might notice these nasty pests squirming around.
There are plenty of products you can apply to your lawn or garden this spring to help fight off Japanese beetles. While insecticides can be effective, studies show that neem oil, or “antifeedant”, can be used to help deter them from feeding.
Not only can neem oil deter them from feeding on your plants, but also harm them if they eat it. The best part is, if the Japanese beetles injest the neem oil, they will pass it down to the eggs, preventing them from hatching. This way, you’re protecting your lawn and controlling the Japanese beetle population—win-win!
When applied to your soil early enough, grub-eliminating nematodes can help prevent Japanese beetle eggs altogether. However, knowing the right time isn’t always easy. When it doubt, contact a specialist.
Consider beetle-deterring plants
Did you know Japanese beetles are drawn to more than 300 plant species?
Some common plant types that Japanese beetles love to eat include:
While Japanese beetles love to munch on those trees and bushes, there’s also plenty of plants they can’t stand, like:
- Rose bushes
- Crape myrtle trees
- Linden trees
- Crabapple trees
- Birch trees
- Fruit trees (like apple, cherry, apricot, peach or plum)
If you have plants like roses or birch trees, consider replacing them with plants like poppies and dogwood trees to keep Japanese beetles away. However, if you love to garden, the thought of ripping out your favorite plants for a bug might be too much to bear!
If that’s the case, try planting Japanese beetle-deterrent plants around the trees and shrubs to protect them from damage. While this isn’t a fool-proof way to protect your plants, it can keep Japanese beetles at bay. And don’t forget your neem oil!
Even though summer may seem far away, there are plenty of ways to prepare your yard now for Japanese beetles. While these beetles won’t kill your plants, trees or shrubs, they can cause some damage. Taking preventative measures in the spring will help you have a beautiful, healthy lawn in the summer—free of Japanese beetles!
- Dogwood trees
- Lilac trees
No one knows pests quite like Killingsworth. Schedule a service with our pest control professionals today!