Japanese Beetles Don't Just Show Up, They Invade!

Japanese beetles don’t just show up.  They invade! What can you do to protect your precious plants?
These metallic green and bronze beetles are happy to dine on dozens of different plants, but they seem to have their favorites, including roses, Virginia creeper and grape vines. And because they forage in such large numbers, it doesn’t take long for them to strip a plant bare.
Japanese beetles have a remarkable ability to skeletonize their favorite plants in just a few days.  All the more reason to make regular scouting trips through your garden looking specifically for these brilliantly colored beetles and their damage.


If you find any of these unwelcome guests, don’t delay!  Arm yourself with a small bucket of soapy water.  Knock the beetles into the water to drown, but be quick!  As soon as you touch them, the beetles will let go of the leaf or flower they’re parked on.  Make sure they fall into your bucket, not onto the ground, where they can skitter away, to eat another day.  Beetle hunting is best done in the cool of early morning or evening.  The bugs are settling in, and are a bit slower.

By the way, Colorado State University is revising its long-standing warning about the dangers of crushing Japanese beetles.  It’s been thought for years that squashing a beetle would release a pheromone that would attract still more beetles.  Research out of the University of Kentucky dismisses that warning. Squash if you must, but drowning will take out more bugs in the long run.

Chemical options against Japanese beetles?

Top recommendations are “BioNeem” for organic gardeners or Eight for non-organic use.

Both products feature pictures of Japanese beetles on their label.  As always, both should be used exactly according to label directions.

The experts at your local independently owned garden center are knowledgeable about all garden pests and can advise you of your best options.

Credit for this content & photos goes to Tagawa Gardens Summer Bugs Blog

Allison Gault