The Japanese beetle posses a double threat, both as a ravenous adult beetle chewing on ornamental trees and flowers as well as its juvenile stage as a white grub damaging lawns. Given the unpopular disposition of this outdoor pest, it may come as no surprise that many homeowners look to reduce its damage both above and below ground. How can a regular citizen stop sand cherries, crab apples, and roses from being defoliated by this hungry pest? If you listen at night, in the quiet you can almost hear the crunching as the adult Japanese beetle feasts on its favorite plants in your landscape. I almost forgot about the lawn! White Japanese beetle grubs enjoy chewing the roots off your lawn, especially in the spring and fall. A grub population will sever grass roots turning grass brown and attracting skunks and crows that do even more damage. The Japanese beetle is truly double trouble above and below ground to any home owner with a sunny lawn and some plantings.
Effective control measures target the grubs in the ground, reducing them while still small in size with a variety of treatment options from standard to organic in composition. Controlling the larvae or young version of the beetle is not only the most effective means of reducing damage to your lawn and landscape, it is also the least expensive. Treating the adult beetle is difficult because they are strong fliers and enjoy going out to eat. Spraying your plants after the adults emerge with successive treatments will reduce population levels and damage to your foliage. An added benefit of treating your lawn for Japanese beetle grubs is also controlling other pests who can also inflict harm, such as rose chafers. Even the best looking lawn is no match from the younger form of the Japanese beetle and other white grubs.
A quick word on pheromone traps, the classic “bag a bug” solution. These things work well, real well, so well in fact that they call in adults from miles around . . . all to your property. Like a good BBQ, they will come, eat some shrubs, mate, lay eggs in your lawn, and then fall into the trap. If you are determined to use one of these pheromone traps, at least put it in the woods or far away from your lawn and landscape as possible. A better solution is to consider treating your lawn or doing a few spot sprays on susceptible plants as necessary to keep them healthy and with some leaves before fall arrives.
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