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Japanese Beetle Control- Full Guide & Methods To Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles

Summertime brings a host of joyful outdoor activities and events but it also brings the warmth and moisture that Japanese beetles thrive in.

Thus creating the need for Japanese Beetle Control for many homeowners who struggle in knowing how to get rid of Japanese beetles.

Along with the emerald ash borer, Japanese beetles are some of the most damaging pests for the beautiful lawn, trees, and landscape you’ve built and cared for! At Ryan Lawn & Tree, we’re always on the lookout for anything that can destroy your sacred outdoor living space — whether you’re in Tulsa, St. Louis, Wichita, Kansas City, or Springfield — so we’re offering this quick rundown on how to get rid of Japanese beetles as well as FAQs about them.


About Japanese Beetles And Why It’s Important To Control Them

 Japanese Beetle Control

The Japanese beetle eats from the top of the plant down, leaving a skeleton of leaves.

Japanese Beetles are one of the most destructive garden pests a plant lover can face. First arriving from Japan about 100 years ago, these pests feed on more than 300 species of plants, ranging from roses to poison ivy. They are particularly destructive to linden trees, fruit trees, crepe myrtles, and many flowering and vegetable plants.

How To Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

Our plant care Pros at Ryan Lawn & Tree are scouting and Inspecting for these nasty beetles every time he/she visits your property, but the beetles could be actively feeding on your plants between visits. If you have special plants that you don’t want to see get destroyed or if you’ve had a history of Japanese beetles feeding on your property you’ll want to be on the lookout as well and call for insect and pest control services from a reputable company like Ryan Lawn & Tree. You can also sign up to get on a preventative suppression program.

A Pyrethrin-based insecticide is a safe and effective way to control Japanese beetles on flowers, roses, trees, and shrubs. In addition to controlling Japanese beetles, it also controls other types of beetles and pests. It’s also possible and advisable to hand-pick the beetles off smaller plants and shrubs if you have only a few beetles each day.

While applying grub control as part of Ryan Lawn & Tree’s Signature Lawn Care program, either separately or in combination with summer fertilizer application, will protect the lawn throughout the season against the damage grubs can do in the lawn, it does NOT protect your plants from the voracious Japanese beetle. These beetles will fly long distances to find your yummy trees, rose bushes, and other plants.

RYAN Pros also do not recommend popular Japanese beetle traps. The pheromones used in these traps draw way more beetles to your trees than the trap can capture. So in a sense, you are drawing more beetles to your beloved plants….like a shining lighthouse telling all the neighborhood beetles where your treasured trees are.

The Life-Cycle Of A Japanese beetle

Japanese Beetles start as white grubs about 5-6″ below the surface and move nearer the surface as spring arrives. In late June, the grub turns into a pupa, maturing into its flying beetle form, and then begins feeding on landscape plants. Females live for a few weeks feeding on trees, shrubs, and roses in the morning, returning to the lawn in the afternoon to lay more eggs. Within the first 48 hours of feeding, the females will lay 40-60 eggs just below the soil’s surface. Once laid, the eggs will hatch within two weeks and the process will begin for the next season.

What Does A Japanese Beetle Look Like?

The adult Japanese beetle is about 1/3” to ½” long and has a shiny, metallic-green body and bronze-colored elytra (wing covers). The beetle has six tufts of white hair under the edges of its wings. Japanese beetles produce one generation each year and can burrow up to 12 inches below the soil in the winter to survive. Japanese beetle larvae, or white grubs, have a brown head and grayish-black rear end.

What Do Japanese Beetles Eat?

Japanese beetles are considered pests to over 300 species of plant in the United States. When it comes to their diet, adult Japanese beetles are not picky and will eat almost anything. However, their favorite foods include roses, beans, grapes, and raspberries.

Japanese beetle larvae consume the roots of lawn grasses and garden plants. This may cause seemingly unexplainable brown or yellow patches of dying grass or struggling plants. Plants with extensive damage from Japanese beetle larvae are easy to pull out of the ground because their roots are severely weakened.

What Damage Do Japanese Beetles Cause?

Japanese beetle is one insect that can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden at both life stages! In their grub stage, Japanese beetles can chew the roots of your grass inducing dormancy or causing lawn death. But mammals like raccoons, skunks, and moles digging for grubs in your lawn are so much worse than the grub damage alone. The mammals destroy the surface of your lawn, requiring much more physical labor to get your lawn-area/surface even ready to be reseeded.

When mature beetles emerge from the ground in late spring to midsummer, they often fly in from nearby areas and target stressed plants. Beautiful garden roses and other beetle favorites are soon left with skeleton-like leaves and blossoms.

Do Japanese Beetles Bite?

Although Japanese beetles may try to pinch you with their mandibles, they are extremely weak and cannot damage human skin or hurt you. There is no evidence that Japanese beetles bite, and while they are one of the most damaging pests for your garden, they are completely harmless to humans. However, if you hold one, you will notice that they feel prickly. This is due to the rough spines on their legs, which may be uncomfortable but are also harmless. 

What Eats Japanese Beetles?

Some species that eat Japanese beetles include:

  • Wild birds like robins, catbirds, and cardinals
  • Mammals like opossums, raccoons, skunks, moles, and shrews
  • Parasites like nematodes, milky spore bacterium, tachinid flies, and tiphia wasps

Japanese beetles are native to Japan and considered an invasive species in the U.S. While there are many wild animals and parasites that feed on Japanese beetles in both Japan and the U.S, there are not enough predators in the U.S. to keep these insects in check.

How Long Do Japanese Beetles live?

There are several stages to a Japanese beetle’s life. First, the beetle is laid as an egg. When it hatches in midsummer, it eats for a short while. Then, it simply exists as a grub in its larval stage burrowed under the soil. It matures in a dormant state underground for about 10 months. In early spring, the grub returns to the surface, feeding on roots until the end of spring before pupating into an adult. Adult Japanese beetles live for 30-45 days.

Throughout its entire life cycle (from egg to adult), a Japanese beetle lives for about one year. However, the adult beetles you see are only alive for about a month.

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