The Japanese Beetle, A Beautifully Disguised Trouble Maker

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First Encounter

When I pulled into the driveway of our new house, I was delightfully surprised by the beautiful plants that surrounded every nook of the yard. Edged along the long and winding path were the most beautiful red-leafed bushes. And just bordering the lush green grass in the backyard were several yards of black-eyed susans, standing proudly around a small willow tree with the backdrop of tall pines and a few evergreens. A breathtaking view lay before me, and I hadn't even gotten to the house yet. I knew at that moment, that I would be spending more time outside than in, so I lingered. As I walked down the meandering brick driveway, I ran my fingers along the leafy bushes and instantly these almost iridescent, sparkly-winged bugs sprayed out from the branches. How pretty, I thought. Upon closer examination, I realized there were hundreds of these glitzy little creatures all over the bushes.


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40 ounces, $78.22, It REALLY works By CJ on July 11, 2007, "I have been infested with those Jap Beetles for years. After one application of Milky Spore, the nex

What I Discovered

Little did I know that these enchanting little fliers would do drastic damage to the gorgeous trees and bushes that filled my yard. A few weeks after first spotting them, I began to notice most of the foliage on the red-tipped bushes had been completely ravaged. Only the outer edges and veins of the leaves were still intact. Because our yard is mostly filled with pine trees, the majority of the damage was visible on the bushes. There was one very attractive, smaller tree, however, that I had not yet identified, but I soon discovered that it was practically dripping with the beetles. I would shake the branches and a swarm of them would take flight, like tiny helicopters buzzing over my head. I tried to spray them off with a powerful water hose spray nozzle, but it would only make them leave temporarily. A few years later, I would finally see the fruit mature on this tree (without being eaten by beetles first) and know that it is a plum tree.

Milky Spore 40 Ounce by St. Gabriel Organics

(Spoiler Alert; to continue with my story, skip this section and come back to it at the end of the story.) But if you just want to know how to fix the Japanese Beetle problem in your yard, then read the rest of this section now.

A little too late for my plum tree, I discovered Milky Spore. An organic product that kills the Japanese Beetle in its larva stage of its life cycle while still in the ground, milky spore is what I had needed all along. Now we use milky spore and rarely ever see a Japanese Beetle. Product Description: "Benefits of Milky Spore: Grubs do damage to your lawn and attract digging vagrants such as moles and voles. Milky Spore is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium (Bacillus

A little too late for my plum tree, I discovered Milky Spore. An organic product that kills the Japanese Beetle in its larva stage of its life cycle while still in the ground, milky spore is what I had needed all along. Now we use milky spore and rarely ever see a Japanese Beetle. Product Description: "Benefits of Milky Spore: Grubs do damage to your lawn and attract digging vagrants such as moles and voles. Milky Spore is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium (Bacillus

Product Description: "Benefits of Milky Spore: Grubs do damage to your lawn and attract digging vagrants such as moles and voles. Milky Spore is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium (Bacillus popillae-Dutky). This product is lethal to a familiar destructive summer-time pest. It targets and discriminately works to attack the white grubs of Japanese Beetles. Milky Spore is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets or man. Milky Spore will not affect wells, ponds or streams."

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Things I Have Learned

After talking to neighbors, I made it a point to buy some beetle bags. I was told to put these in my yard to attract the beetles to the bag, which has a pheremone; once in the bag, they would be unable to escape. The bags worked great; so many beetles flew into the bag, as if there were a beetle plague in my yard. What I didn't understand was why there seemed to be even more of them on the bushes and leafy trees in my yard, then there were before. That's when I did some reading and found out that by putting the bags in my yard, I had just invited every beetle in my neighborhood to my house. While some people swear that if you put the bag in a different yard (other than your own), the beetles will leave your yard and go to theirs - I think they will go to the surrounding plants in the yards that are around it. "Research performed by many US extension service branches has shown pheromone traps attract more beetles than they catch." (Wikipedia). It has also been suggested that a mixture of soapy water sprayed on the infected plants can be effective, if there are a small number of beetles present.

The damage doesn't stop there. Japanese beetles begin their life cycle as larva under the ground where they feed on the roots of grass and destroy it. During this stage, they can be killed with something called Milky Spore. According to Purdue University, "Adult Japanese beetles may feed on more than 400 different trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, and crops. Unlike the adults, Japanese beetle grub damage is primarily to grasses. Eggs are laid in the soil, and when they hatch, the grubs prune the roots off of grasses, including both turfgrass and corn." The beetles emerge from the ground from May through September, depending on the climate. Then they wreak havoc upon fruit trees and vines, corn husks, and leafy shrubs and trees.


Are They From Japan?

Yes, Japanese beetles originated in Japan. They are thought to have first come to the United States in an imported goods shipment. According to Wikipedia sources, "...the beetle larvae entered the United States in a shipment of iris bulbs prior to 1912, when inspections of commodities entering the country began." Still today they continue to be transported to the the United States, mostly by cargo planes. Their numbers increase every year, as they love the lush grass and large variety of food available to them here in the United States. In Japan, their numbers remain manageable due to the lack of grassy areas and the presence of natural predators.

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Comments 2 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

What an incredible hub on the Japanese Beetle. You did a great job researching it and I appreciate it as I get some of these in the summer. I have a vegetable garden and I saw a few of them but not too many. I did hear from a friend that his problem with the beetles got worse after using the beetle bags. He said just what you did-He got beetles from not just his yard but his neighbors. He unfortunately lost most of his green beans because of it.


Rosie writes profile image

Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia Author

Thanks for reading my hub and for your gracious comments. I haven't seen the beetles in the numbers I did before, since we stopped using the bags. We have to treat our yard yearly for these guys and we also have a tic problem due to the deer that visit us daily - but I wouldn't trade seeing them.

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