Update (2011). Here’s the solution: feed the birds! We’ve been filling our birdfeeders consistently for about 2 years and we haven’t had any Japanese beetles.
Many of us have the Japanese beetle plague. They’re attracted to roses, and go on to consume our flowers and trees. So, how do we get rid of these nasty creatures? I’ve searched for some natural remedies, and this is what I came up with:
- They arrived here by boat. In Japan, they aren’t a problem because they have natural predators that don’t exist here.
- They’re here to stay. We can’t kill them all, so we have to find a way to avoid them.
- Japanese beetles are originally grubs. So, you could start by getting rid of grubs.
- “Beneficial nematodes, insect-eating nematodes, microscopic parasitic roundworms, seek out grubs in the soil.” Milky spores also target grubs. – source
- Plant greenery that Japanese beetles don’t like (list here)
- Don’t plant things they do like (roses, Japanese Maples, etc)
- Plant a lot of garlic – Mother Earth News
(Garlic will ward off many predators, and is also great for cooking)
- Make a spray out of garlic and water. Let the garlic soak, and then spray the bugs. If you need it a little stronger, add cayenne pepper
- White-flowering geraniums and zinnias are also good. Yarrow also repels bugs, and can help other plants grow
- Consider an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. “IPM uses biological, cultural, mechanical, and chemical controls to keep pest populations below levels that cause economic damage.”
- Use traps (the bags they sell at Lowe’s, etc). They attract more beetles, but most will end up in the trap. Change it frequently because they start to smell bad.
- Plant catnip near roses to repel Japanese beetles (this is my plan for next year – lots of catnip and garlic)
- More ideas and list of plants here.