GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- Asian beetles and boxelder bugs are pesky insects to get rid of. But another bug in town is creating quite the buzz. Japanese beetles have become a major problem in the metro. The pests can destroy gardens and even kill your lawn.
Thankfully there are ways to fight back! Home and garden expert Chris Johnson joined us with some tips for managing the pests.
Q: What is a Japanese beetle?
· It’s an insect that’s easily identified because it has an iridescent green head with copper colored wings.
· They feeds on more than 300 species of plants. Everything from roses, shade trees, shrubs, many different vegetables and especially plant parts exposed to sunlight. (Source if you choose to use stat: University of Minnesota and Farmers Almanac)
· The adults feed on foliage. You can identify their damage because they leave a lace like pattern in the leaves.
· While the adults cause the most damage, the grubs or larval form of the beetle, can cause serious lawn problems because they feed on the roots of grass.
Q: So how do we get rid of them?
· I have four ways to help fight back against the pest.
1. Hand Pick
· Japanese beetles release pheromones into the air meaning one can become many very quickly. So getting rid of the beetles before they can tell their friends about your garden is important.
· The good thing is they’re very slow. So you can easily pick them off plants. Do this and just toss them into a bucket of soapy water.
· The best time to do this is in the morning when the bugs are less alert.
· You can also trap the bugs, but this is only recommended for large yards where you can place the trap away from your garden.
· This is because the traps use pheromones to attract the beetles and they could bring more beetles to your yard than the trap can catch.
· At True Value we have a Japanese beetle trap, it costs about $10 and covers a 5,000 square foot area.
· There are many sprays out there for Japanese beetles. One thing to look for, is if the spray you plan to use is registered for use on the plant you plan on spraying. You don’t want to damage your plants.
· Also, if it’s a food crop, make sure you keep track of the number of days you need to wait after spraying the it to harvest the crop.
· But, they are very easy to use.
· Getting rid of the adult beetles is only half the problem. You want to make sure the same infestation doesn’t happen again next year.
· Brown or easy to tear up grass along with an increase in critters like raccoons or skunks are all signs you have a grub- or young Japanese beetle-infestation in your lawn. And those grubs are going to hatch next year and you’ll have to start the process all over if you don’t kill them now.
· There’s a lot of grub killing products that are really effective at getting rid of the pests. The best time to apply them is in mid-July through early September. Also irrigating the lawn after applying it will help. After 10 days if there’s still an infestation, try a different product.
· You can also try organic methods like beneficial nematodes which are microscopic roundworms. They target more than 200 species of insect pests, but leave ladybugs, earthworms, and other helpful garden insects alone.
· While there’s no guarantee the beetles will never come back, getting rid of grubs this year will help keep the beetle population at bay for next year.
Q: What else should we know about Japanese beetles?
· They tend to be the most active in warm weather when temperatures are above 85 degrees and there’s not much of a wind. So, be on the lookout for new bugs coming into your yard during these times.
· There are also some plants Japanese beetles tend to avoid. So, you might want to think about planting those.
· Vegetables like cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and spinach are not their favorite. They also avoid certain trees and bushes like Lilac, Oaks, and Red Maples.
· And they usually don’t like geraniums because they can be deadly to the beetle.