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Have Japanese Beetles ruined your lawn and garden? You may never be able to eradicate them but you can control them with this Natural Japanese Beetle Control method. P.S- your chickens will LOVE it!
Where Did The Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) Come From?
Japanese Beetles are one of the major insect pests in the Eastern and Midwestern United States, causing monumental damage to crops each year. Japanese beetles are small bugs that do a massive amount of damage to gardens, trees, and plants.
The Japanese beetle is probably the most devastating pest of urban landscape plants in the eastern United States. Japanese beetles were first found in this country in 1916, after being accidentally introduced into New Jersey. Until that time, this insect was known to occur only in Japan where it is not a major pest.
While they originated in Japan and have since settled here in the eastern part of the United States, they are slowly making their way out west. If you live in the mid-west or the west side of the United States and noticed a beetle infestation, please contact the MDA here. This link will also allow you to observe their migration to see if the beetles have been spotted in your area.
What Do Japanese Beetles Eat?
It would be easier to list the things they won’t eat (see chart below) than to list the things they will eat. Japanese Beetles eat flowers, trees and shrubs, grass roots, fruits, vegetables, and field crops.
From ENTOMOLOGYat the University of Kentucky
Japanese beetles feed on about 300 species of plants, devouring leaves, flowers, and overripe or wounded fruit. They usually feed in groups, starting at the top of a plant and working downward. The beetles are most active on warm, sunny days, and prefer plants that are in direct sunlight.
|Least Favored By Japanese Beetles||Most Favored by Japanese beetles|
Euonymus sp. (burning bush, etc.)
Northern red oak
Red and silver maples
Tulip poplar (tuliptree)
American and English elm
Japanese* and Norway maple
Malus spp. (crabapple, apple etc.)
Prunus spp. (flowering cherry, etc.)
How To Identify A Japanese Beetle
Before you attempt to treat (or eat) for JP’s, you first need to properly identify them.
- Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 inch long.
- Metallic green head and thorax (the area behind the head) with copper-brown wing covers.
- Sides of the abdomen have five white patches of hairs, and the tip of the abdomen has two patches of white hair.
Larva (white grubs)
- C-shaped, white to cream-colored grubs with a distinct tan-colored head.
- Legs are easy to see.
- From 1/8 inch up to about one inch long.
- Japanese beetle grubs look like other white grubs and can only be positively distinguished by examining the pattern of spines and hairs on the underside of the tip of the abdomen.
Beetle grubs spend their winter underground in the soil. During the spring they move towards the surface of the soil where they develop into adult beetles. They will emerge from the soil in June and July to begin feeding on your beautiful garden and plants. The adult beetles will feed on your plants throughout the entire summer into the early fall.
During feeding, the female beetles release a pheromone that attracts more beetles for mating. After the female beetles have mated, she will crawl into the soil where she lays eggs. These eggs will go through three stages of development during their pupae stage. Each phase of development, they bury themselves further in the soil to be protected during the winter.
Natural Japanese Beetle Control- Chicken Treats!
We do our best to implement organic practices whenever possible, this includes pest control. Since we plan on eating the food that we grow, using toxic chemicals to treat our plants and soil is out of the question. This natural pest control method for removing Japanese Beetles is tried and true.
Other than having a supply of fresh eggs, many homesteaders and farmers have chickens to help with pest control. Chickens are carnivores by nature, they love eating bugs. Insects, such as beetles, are a high-protein food source for your feathered friends.
Generally, free-range chickens will do a good job all on their own at biological control pest control. However, if your chickens are unable to free range forage, this is a fantastic way to provide them with bugs to snack on. Chickens, ducks, guineas, and other fowl enjoy this buggy treat too!
The best part about this method, all you have to spend money on is the beetle trap, a bucket and the chickens do the rest. Rest assured, if you don’t have chickens, you can still use this method. Just use a bucket of soapy water (we use Blue Dawn) under the Japanese Beetle trap.
The supplies are very simple really, all you need is:
- Clean, Five Gallon Bucket
- Wire or Rope
- Beetle Trap
- Hungry chickens, ducks or other fowl
Natural Pest Control Instructions
- Fill your clean five-gallon bucket with water
- Hang your beetle trap above the water, making sure it doesn’t come in contact with the water in any way.
- Wait for the bucket to fill with beetles
- Remove the beetle bait
- Let your chickens or other fowl enjoy their high-protein snack!
If You Can’t Beat Em’, Eat Em’
Yep, if you can’t beat them by giving your foul a nutritious snack, consider serving them up for your next family gathering. In Thailand, Asia and other parts of the world, they consume insects daily. Some are considered a delicacy and are highly nutritious and delicious. Among those most commonly consumed are beetles, ants, grubs, and crickets. Japanese Beetles are not toxic or poisonous and are a great source of protein. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and would like to try a recipe eating the bugs that have eaten your plants, check out the recipes here. Please make sure to email us and tell us how you liked it, I’m dying to know.
Beetles aren’t the only critters that are after your garden, rabbits, moles, raccoons, and deer also like to reap the rewards of all of your hard work! Learn how to protect your harvest with our tips in this article, Read More.
We also have a recipe for a DIY Critter Ridder Spray that works great at deterring garden pests. Check out the recipe here.
What about the biting pests of the mosquito variety? We offer a great list of mosquito-repelling herbs for you to plant around your home and garden. See the list of herbs here.