How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

2 Materials
30 Minutes

Japanese beetles can wreak havoc in the yard and garden. Find out some natural ways to get rid of them and keep them from over-wintering in your soil.

how to get rid of japanese beetles

To learn how to get rid of Japanese beetles, you have to first understand how they live. Once you begin to see them on your precious roses, the truth is they have already been around for a while. In fact, Japanese beetle larva over winters in the ground. (They look a lot like grubs.) In the summer, as the weather begins to warm, they slowly make their way up to the surface and emerge early to mid summer. And your plants and flowers are ripe for the eating. (photo credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

how to get rid of japanese beetles

Japanese beetles can inflict double-damage. The larvae can feed on the roots of plants beneath the ground, and once the beetles emerge, they can devour leaves and fruit in no time. In fact, Japanese beetles can simply leave skeletons of leaves after they’re finished snacking. So now that you know that Japanese beetles can be year-long pests, what can you do to take care of this problem without covering your yard with harsh chemicals and pesticides?

  1. When you begin to see the Japanese beetles on your plants and flowers, apply Neem oil spray. Neem oil is a natural product from the neem tree, and if you can spray the bugs early enough, you can prevent them from being able to complete their life cycle and go into the ground. The bugs must come in contact with the neem oil. 

how to get rid of japanese beetles

2.Another technique that you can use to try to get rid of Japanese beetles is to use companion plants to repel them. Never underestimate the power of companion planting. Several plants that seem to repel Japanese beetles are catnip, garlic, garlic chives, and chives. In our front flower bed where we have several rosebushes, I actually planted onions and garlic this fall. It was more of an edible landscape plan than a pest control plan, but it has worked double duty. We haven’t had any issues with Japanese beetles so far, and the garlic growing in the front flower bed actually looks attractive. Chives are a beautiful herb to grow, and it’s a bonus that they repel multiple varieties of pests. They blossom with a beautiful purple blooms that would complement any shade of rose. So consider these companion plants as a method of preventing Japanese beetles. 

how to get rid of japanese beetles

3.Finally, you could hand pick the beetles. This is time-consuming, but virtually guarantees the beetles are unable to lay eggs in the ground. Keep a bucket of soapy water nearby, put on your garden gloves, and simply pick up the beetles and drop them in the soapy water. This definitely prevents them from being able to reproduce and go back into the ground.

Be on the lookout for my book natural pest control for the home garden which is coming out at the end of May. Go ahead and get on my mailing list to stay in the loop for its release, there will even be a sweet discount and some extra bonuses for subscribers! I love the fact that there are so many options available to gardeners to help us control pests and can do so in a way that doesn’t hurt pollinators, our soil, and other animals that are a benefit in the garden. 

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Courtney |The Kitchen Garten

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