By: Lisa Briggs | 5/21/2020
It’s almost June and by the end of the month, many a gardeners’ most hated day of the entire summer will soon be here – the annual emergence of the dreaded Japanese Beetles. Not much has changed for treatment of adult beetles, but there are a couple of really good options for controlling the grub stage. And since a Japanese Beetle spends about 85% of its life underground as a grub, exercising control over them while they’re in your lawn is a very effective method to diminish the population.
Let’s start with organic control. Milky Spore Powder by St Gabriel Organics is a one-time application that is guaranteed by the manufacturer to control grubs for ten years. It isn’t harmful to humans, pets or the environment and only kills the Japanese Beetles in the grub stage making it safe for beneficial insects. The Garden Center carries Milky Spore Powder in several sizes, as well as the necessary applicator. St Gabriel also makes a granular version for spreaders that will require several applications over a two-year period to achieve the best results.
A second option is Bayer Advanced’s Season Long Grub Control. This product contains an ingredient that kills white grubs, including Japanese Beetles and June Bugs, along with several others. It is applied once every season, anytime from spring to late summer and kills any actively feeding grubs.
Of course, none of this matters when you see your roses and trumpet-vines crawling with beetles. Japanese Beetle Killer by Bonide is a great ready-to-spray product that allows you to treat your small trees as well as shrubs and roses. It is safe to use on edibles and ornamentals, and can be applied every 3 days if the insect pressure is high.
Finally, the old-fashioned methods like handpicking are really good options. Fill a small bucket with water and swish in a few drops of liquid dish soap. This will break the surface tension of the water, so that when you pop those voracious monsters in the pail, they will drown instead of float. A sharp fling onto a hard surface, followed by a quick stomp is also an effective, as well as satisfying method, though your neighbors may wonder if you’re practicing a new dance step.