Controlling Japanese Beetles

Our gardening expert dispenses practical advice on controlling Japanese beetles to reader with infested rose bushes and grape vines.

  • controlling japanese beetles - beetles on leaves
    Japanese beetles can feed on over 300 plant species.
    Photo by Barbara Pleasant

  • controlling japanese beetles - beetles on leaves

Has there been any improvement in the technology for controlling Japanese beetles? We have rosebushes and a large grapevine, and by August we are inundated with Japanese beetles. When my father had them, it was our daily duty to pick them off and put them in a can of kerosene.

Dave Harvey
Swanzey, New Hampshire

Your father had the right idea by collecting Japanese beetles every day, because it stops signals given off by feeding beetles that attract more beetles: Handpicking can reduce overall feeding by half. Soapy water will work as well as kerosene. First thing in the morning, hold it under the leaf or bough where the beetles are feeding, and brush them down into it with your hand. The beetles won't bite you, and as long as temperatures are cool they will fall into the water rather than fly away.

Other organic pest control measures include applying beneficial nematodes or milky spore disease to lawns to kill white grubs (Japanese beetle larvae), and growing plenty of flowers that provide nectar for Typhia miniwasps, which attack the beetles.

Research shows that commercial traps often attract more Japanese beetles than they catch, so they should not be placed near cultivated plants.



Fall 2021!

Put your DIY skills to the test throughout November. We’re mixing full meal recipes in jars, crafting with flowers, backyard composting, cultivating mushrooms, and more!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters