How to control Japanese beetles organically

Posted on: August 5, 2019 | Written By: Doug Oster | Comments

Japanese beetles have been causing havoc this year. They usually emerge as the adults we know and feed on a variety of plants. After mating the female will lay eggs in the soil and then continue feeding.

Japanese beetles can be controlled with a variety of organic products.

Japanese beetles can be controlled with a variety of organic products. Photo by Doug Oster

The eggs will develop into larvae (grubs) and spend winter in the soil, then pupate into the adult and the cycle starts all over.

The first control for them is to knock the adults into a jar of soapy water. Go out in the morning when it’s cooler and the insect are slower.

If plants are infested, Capt. Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is a great organic control that’s not a poison. The beetle will ingest the product and that with be that.

To control the grubs beneficial nematodes can be applied to the ground when soil temperatures are 50 degrees or higher. They can be a leap of faith as they are microscopic. They are available at local nurseries or online here.

I find handpicking is a very effective tool for controlling the pest.

Doug Oster is editor of Everybody Gardens, a website operated by 535Media, LLC. Reach him at 412-965-3278 or doster@535mediallc.com. See other stories, videos, blogs, tips and more at everybodygardens.com.

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Doug Oster is manager and editor of Everybody Gardens with a passion for gardening and a love of sharing is experiences with other gardeners. You will also find Doug’s gardening contributions in the Tribune-Review each week. He’s an Emmy Award winning producer, television host and writer. Oster is co-host of The Organic Gardeners Radio show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. Oster’s Outstanding Documentary Emmy was awarded for Gardens of Pennsylvania, a one hour special he conceived and produced for the PBS affiliate WQED. Doug appears every Thursday morning on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today live at 9 a.m. “Gardening is fun, he says, enjoy every day spent outside tending vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.”