How To Naturally Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are menacing little pests that wreak havoc on trees, vegetation, and flowers too.

In the Eastern states of the US, the Japanese beetle is a serious garden pest. Adult beetles attack the fruits, leaves, and flowers.

infestation of Japanese beetlesPin

The best way to deal with them is prevention. But if you’ve got a bad infestation, there are several natural remedies and ways to deal with them, which we will discuss below.

How Do I Get Rid of Japanese Beetles With Natural Remedies?

What are the natural remedies that will rid your garden of Japanese beetles? From strategic planting to creating natural traps, there are many routes you can take.

Depending on the size and type of your garden, there’s a method that will work best for your unique situation.

Strategic Planting

An effective way to keep Japanese beetles away is to avoid planting plants they find attractive in the first place. While Japanese beetles are attracted to many plants, these plants are more likely to attract the pests and should be avoided:

  • Grapevines
  • Elder
  • Roses
  • Bracken
  • Smartweed
  • Mallow
  • Morning glory
  • Grapevines

Alternatively, Japanese Beetles will be deterred by your garden if they encounter one of the following plants or flowers. Below is a list of plants that they don’t like:

Hand Picking For Japanese Beetle Control

Handpicking is a time-tested method that is incredibly time-consuming but effective nonetheless. Physically removing Japanese beetles from your garden requires patience, a keen eye and is most likely not the best method for a larger garden.

Prior knowledge of insects’ egg-laying patterns on the infested crop of choice is also useful for this approach. So if you’re armed with this knowledge, you could prove to be an effective hand picker.

As you pick the beetles off your plants, you can drop them in a bucket of water with liquid dish soap. The soapy water prevents them from flying or crawling away.

Row Covers

Row covers are versatile and protect your garden in many ways, but may also prove effective against Japanese beetles.

If you cover your garden during the beetles’ peak season (mid to late May, and again mid to late June), it may keep them away. These handy covers will keep insects out (including pollinators), so if your crops require pollination, this might not be the best choice for you.

Fermented Fruit Cocktail

Not only is fruit cocktail relatively inexpensive, but some gardeners have had luck with it to get rid of Japanese beetles naturally. 

Leave the open can out in the sun for about a week to get it fermenting. After a week, place the can on a pedestal in a pail full of water. 

The beetles are attracted to the rotten fruity scent but cannot get out of the bucket. 

Drop Cloths

Japanese beetles are most active during the morning. So another innovative way to get rid of these pests is to cover your garden with drop cloths during their most active time. 

Once the high activity period is settled, roll up the sheets and dispose of the insects. You can repeat this process each week during the feeding season until you have depleted their numbers.

Mass Trapping With Japanese Beetle Traps

Mass trapping is an incredibly effective way to get rid of large numbers of adult beetles. However, this method is a controversial one.

With the use of a double lure system and the addition of the Japanese sex pheromone, the beetles are lured in and then caught with the help of a clever catching device. These Japanese Beetle Traps are so powerful they attract beetles from all around, not just the present pests on the plants.

In history, 15.5 million of these beetles have been exterminated in a 6-year period, so it’s very clear that this is a proven method to reduce Japanese beetle populations, just not the right one for everyone.

Mass trapping makes an effective treatment for farms with a large amount of crops, but might not be the most ideal option for an average garden.

Neem Oil

Neem oil pesticide acts as a botanical insecticide and will diminish feeding. It is best to use Neem oil as soon as you detect Japanese beetle damage to your plants in the early stages.

Let Your Chickens Roam

Chickens and other fowl like guineas love to eat Japanese beetles and are useful at eliminating the population in your garden and in the yard. If you live in an area where you can have chickens, let them roam.

Setting up bird feeders or other features that attract birds can help improve the bird population in your yard to help reduce Japanese beetle populations.

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