How to Treat & Protect Your Lawn From Japanese Beetle Infestations in Missouri

Japanese beetles are beautiful insects that can do a lot of damage – so much so that homeowners need to eliminate them as soon as they can. These beetles came to the US like so many other bugs do: through shipping containers and goods that came from other countries. The official story is that they came through New Jersey in the early 1990s.

It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that Missouri started having problems with Japanese Beetle infestations. Now, they are seemingly everywhere. Almost every county in Missouri has had problems treating this pest. The damage that they do has been seemingly endless and their numbers keep growing every year.

So how can you keep your yard safe and free of this scourge? Here are a few tips and tricks:

5. Do Not Use Traps

  • Yes, they collect bugs
  • Yes, they collect a large number
  • They may attract more

Have you seen one of those Japanese beetle traps hanging in someone’s backyard? Chances are if you look inside you will see hundreds of beetles in there. Most people think this means that the traps are working – but that might not be the case. Instead, you could be attracting them to your yard.

According to Mike’s Backyard Nursery, “Most traps use both a sex lure that attracts male beetles and sweet smelling lure that attract both sexes.  Without a doubt these traps attract a lot of beetles, but some research indicates that they attract more beetles to the area of the trap than they actually trap. That means that plants in the path of the trap might suffer more damage.”

If you really want to use the traps, put them around the perimeter of your yard.

4. Pick Them Off Individually

  • They do not bite
  • Picking them off reduces chemicals
  • Better for smaller infestations

One of the best ways to quell a Japanese beetle infestation? Pick them off by hand, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. This may seem like tedious and time consuming work, but it actually does the best job at keeping them away. Pick them off of your trees, grass, and shrubs one by one.

When you have the beetle in your hand, put it into a bowl of soapy water. The beetles will drown. You can easily pick hundreds of these off in a day. You may have to do this for a few weeks, but it is the greenest way to control the population. Many of the chemicals you can use are also harmful to good insects like bees and spiders, so avoid them if possible.

3. Plant Plants They Don’t Enjoy

  • Will naturally keep Japanese beetles away
  • Tend to be hardier plants
  • Easier to take care of as well

If you are just starting out in your landscaping journey, one of the best things you can do is simply not buy the plants and trees that Japanese Beetles tend to enjoy. There is an entire list of these plants available at the University of Missouri Integrated Pests website.

Don’t worry about losing the beauty of the plants that you already have – if there isn’t enough to keep the  Japanese beetles there, they will simply leave your house alone and move onto another house. You can also look through the list on that website and find the plants that they really do like, and eliminate them from your yard if you’d like. It might take some time, because the roots will still be there, but you’ll see improvement over a few weeks.

2. Drop Cloths

  • Means you don’t have to touch them
  • Easy to use
  • Eliminates large numbers

If touching the Japanese beetles doesn’t seem like something you want to do, there is another option provided by the Old Farmer’s Almanac. They suggest that you “Put down a drop cloth and, in the early morning when they’re most active, shake them off and dump them into a bucket of soapy water.” This enables you to get a large number of Japanese beetles in one fell swoop.

If you have crops or a lot of garden space, this is the method that makes the most sense for you. It isn’t always practical if you would struggle to get the drop cloth into place. Remember that you can use any kind of drop cloth, so you can even cut them down to size for smaller gardens with the plants that are really near and dear to your heart.

1. Chemical Control

  • Typically only available to professionals
  • Can be extremely dangerous
  • Only for most serious infestations

If you have an extremely serious Japanese beetle infestation and you don’t know where to turn, using chemicals is a method. Many people don’t recommend this method because it can lead to the death of your plants, dangerous chemicals for your pets, and even loss of grass. It is something that you really have to weigh, which is why chemicals should only be used by professionals.

The University of Kentucky explains more on how to use the chemical products: With all products, foliage and flowers should be thoroughly treated. The application may need to be repeated to prevent reinfestation during the adult flight period.

Once again, really consider working with a professional team before buying chemicals and using them yourself – you could do more damage than good.

If you believe that you have problems with Japanese beetles or you have a Japanese beetle infestation in your trees or lawn, give Go Green Tree & Landscape a call today. We are well versed in using tools of all kinds to treat infestations and diseases that impact our yards. Our team can work with chemicals safely and can even recommend ways to keep the infestation from coming back. We hope to be your Independence, MO option for tree care of all kinds, including tree diseases. To stop those destructive and disgusting Japanese beetles in their tracks, give us a call today at (816) 520-4864.

Header photo courtesy of Laura Wolf on Flickr!
By | 2018-12-03T16:08:11+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Landscaping|0 Comments

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