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Jim Boxberger Jr.
Posted 7/9/21

Here comes the beatles. No, not those Beatles. Japanese Beetles, and they want to eat your roses, trees and perennials.

Come Fourth of July weekend every year like clockwork the brown shiny …

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Here comes the beatles. No, not those Beatles. Japanese Beetles, and they want to eat your roses, trees and perennials.

Come Fourth of July weekend every year like clockwork the brown shiny shelled beetles will appear out of thin air to wreack havoc on your garden. Some of their favorite plants are roses, raspberries and cherry trees, but you can find them on just about anything.

But the real damage they do is in the ground, when they are in grub form. The lifecycle of the Japanese beetle goes something like this, beetles will lay eggs in the ground in July and August. The eggs will hatch in late August, and the grubs will start eating your grass roots as they grow.

Through September and October the grubs continue to grow and eat your grass roots and then in November they start to go deeper to a depth of six to eight inches to form an earthen cell to protect themselves over the cold winter.

In March they will wake up from their winter slumber with an appetite that would make Yogi Bear envious. April is another feeding frenzy month and in May the grubs will form another cell as they prepare to pupate (start transforming into beetles).

In June the pupa will continue to change into the adult beetles and by July they will emerge from the ground and continue to eat your plants from the top down, instead of the bottom up. There are many ways to break the lifecycle of the japanese beetles and free your yard from their tyranny.

In their adult form there are sprays that you can use to protect your plants, but the best control is to get them in the ground.

There are many broadspectrum insecticides that will also kill grubs when applied heavily on your yard. These products should be used if you are looking to kill many different insects, like fleas, ticks and ants.

However these insecticides are also detrimental to earthworms and other beneficial insects like ladybugs and fireflies. With that in mind, there is one grub control that is unique.

Milky Spore is a genus specific bacteria that only affects grubs. Milky Spore powder consists of .02% of Spores of Bacillus papilliae. It will attack grubs of any species, but it will attack only grubs. This is the only product out that I know that won’t hurt earthworms and other beneficial insects.

The other chemical grub killers are detrimental to earthworm populations, even if they don’t say so on the package. They consider earthworms collateral damage.

Another way to control the japanese beetle population is the use of beetle traps. Traps consist of a chris-crossed piece of plastic that you hang a plastic bag under. The traps also come with a floral and a pheromone(hormone) lure to attract the beetles.

Beetles flying by thinking that they might grab a quick bite or get lucky, instead hit the plastic and fall into the trap. Every day or so you just go out and empty your bag into the toilet and flush your beetles away.

The only problem with the trap is that you have to wait for the beetles to come to them, and you don’t want to place your trap in the middle of your flowerbed. You want to draw the beetles away so traps should be placed ten to fifteen feet from your flowerbed or garden.

So if you want to be earthworm friendly go with Milky Spore or traps, otherwise there are plenty of insecticides to choose from to protect your flowers and gardens from these ravenous insects.

The most popular chemical spray is Sevin and the best organic is Captain Jacks Dead Bug Brew.

Treating for beetles may seem like “The long and winding road”, but “Don’t let me down”, if we “Come together”, “With a little help from my friends” and this “Paperback writer”, we can help “Get back” your garden like “Yesterday.”


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