Posts Tagged ‘japanese beetles’

Double trouble: the Japanese beetle

Published by mrgrass on July 25th, 2013 - in Lawn Pests, Bugs & Insects

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.

Double trouble, the Japanese beetle.

Double trouble, the Japanese beetle.

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.

For more information on these services and more provided by Chippers, just call or shoot us an e-mail.    

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White Grubs in your NH or VT lawn

White grub damage on a lawn

I was just finishing up some yard work today and noticed some rather large, creamy color, C shaped grubs worms in a few sunny locations.  Given the current grub size, they are most difficult to control without some aggressive attention.  You have a few choices in May to knock back a grub infestation in your lawn.  Dylox is one of a few materials that will address grubs in a large state with generally satisfactory results.  There are only a few organic options worth reviewing like concentrated cedar oils, and capsaicin extract blended with other oils.  In either case, a repeat treatment can often be necessary given the mode of action, time of year, and size of the grub itself.  Trying to use standard Grub-X will not work because the active ingredient is designed for small grubs, not big boys like you see in May in NH or VT.

Another option is not to treat at all and wait until summer to apply a preventative treatment which not only means the ability to use less aggressive products, but in lesser amounts with incredible control percentages approaching 95-99% in total effectiveness.  Preventative products are usually required in fewer amounts, are much more effective, and are more environmentally friendly as a result.  Grubs and other insects are vulnerable in a smaller state or size.  Therefore, it only makes sense that less product and/or active ingredient is required when being proactive versus reactive.

For anyone experiencing grub infestations, look for annual grub control in the June-September time frame for maximum results.  The cost of not addressing grub issues in your lawn can mean expensive renovations, especially if you have an open, sunny lawn or a prior history of grub problems.  Rose chafers, European chafers, and Japanese beetles all pose a serious threat to your lawn and garden as well as your tree and ornamental shrubs.

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Lawn pests include grubs in NH & VT

The Japanese beetle will not only eat foliage, the grubs will eat your lawn!

There are about eight major types of grubs in NH and VT that cause turf damage, ranging from the classic Japanese beetle to a masked chafer.  Grubs will cause lawn damage plus the adults will devour ornamental shrubs and trees in your landscape.  The potential loss of your investment makes controlling the young and adult stage of these beetles a sensible decision.  Luckily, there are organic and new products available to help control these villains plus many others!

As always, the best defense is a good offense.  Healthy turf can withstand root pruning and even minor damage without a pesticide being applied – even an organic one.  Proper cultural practices, such as proper irrigation and a high 3” mowing height, also help keep your lawn cooler and less desirable to adult beetles.  Overseeding with resistant turf varieties makes the grass taste less desirable, not necessarily to grubs but to their buddies above ground like chinch bugs, sod webworm and such.

New and old research shows that compost tea actually helps grass develop its own immune response to reduce damage from both insect and disease activity. Although not an easy turf treatment, beneficial nematodes provide 100% organic control in the spring or fall.  Milky spore disease was developed a long time ago to control only Japanese beetle grubs, not the other seven.  Unfortunately, the spores take years to develop due to the cold New England winters.  As a result, Milky spore is not recommended by professionals as it simply does not work in NH or VT.

New organic pesticides that are ORMI certified contain capcaisin, the active ingredient in hot peppers. To obtain good results, and because the organic treatments are short-lived, multiple visits are required in the spring and fall to obtain predictable results.  Even organic pesticides require extensive licensing and certification in both NH and VT.  If you are considering “professional help,” be sure to ask for the company’s NHPC number in NH or license certification in VT before having any treatment done on your property- organic or otherwise!  The potential damage inflicted by an application remains substantial, even if the material used is 100% organic, with improper rates, training, and equipment.  In today’s economy, everyone with a pickup truck claims he is an organic landscaper but doesn’t have the credentials, insurance, or education to back up the temporary lettering.

For those ‘do-it-yourself’ folks, be careful what you purchase and use this spring.  For instance, “Grubex” is another name for Acelypryn, a great new product for controlling grubs and other harmful insects.  Unfortunately, if used at the wrong time, your application will not work due to the size and life stage of the pest you may desire to eliminate.  This factor underscores the importance of proper training and state certification where turf technicians must learn not only insect but local disease pests.

While the bag you buy at your hardware store may be well labeled for grubs, you may not be applying it at the right time or stage of the pest.  Said another way, just because the bag says it controls pests X, Y, and Z does not mean you are going to control them due to the time of year.  This type of activity would be the definition of a waste of money, time, and chemical.  Without the proper information on the life cycle of the pest you seek to destroy or reduce, applying home products is like shooting in the dark.

In summary, there are lots of ways to help your lawn look great, with the best and least environmental impact being the cultural and day to day upkeep of the turf.  Integrating resistant grasses during lawn overseeding/establishment and implementing organic or natural bacterial and friendly fungi are super tools with no harmful side effects.  In my opinion, pesticides should only be used as a last resort or when there may be a history of continual damage on a scale that would outweigh the omission of such products.  In other words, a $400 treatment outweighs a $5,000 renovation!

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