Green Thumb: Combating Japanese Beetles

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) - This time of year Japanese Beetles are plentiful throughout not only our gardens but also our ornamental plants and select varieties of trees, too.
While there are several ways we can combat these destructive pests, there is one method in particular that Grand McCarty, a local foods and small farms educator, recommends.

During the morning hours when the beetles are less alert, grab a bucket of soapy water and then gently shake the beetles into the bucket to drown them. While this requires a little more manual labor, in the end it is much more effective compared to using traps or pesticides for two reasons.

1) Traps contain a pheromone that is more likely to dramatically increase the population of beetles in your space, leading to even more destruction.
2) Pesticides will likely only temporarily subdue the beetles and in the end could end up harming more helpful/wanted pollinating insects that provide benefits to your plants.

Another method you can try for the next gardening season is a decoy plant, such as grapes or any other varieties that the beetles may be more attracted to in order to lure them away from your more preferred plants.

Have a gardening question you’d like me to answer? Send it my way! Andrew.stutzke@wifr.com or Facebook.com/StutzkeWX