If you are searching for the best Japanese beetle trap, check out this article for some tips and tricks on that topic. To better understand how you can get rid of this nuisance from around your home, you need to know what Japanese beetles are, where they live, how long their life span is and why they come close to our homes.
The Japanese beetle is a species of the scarab beetle. The average adult beetle measures around 0.6” in length and 0.4” in width. It has a green thorax and head and iridescent copper-colored elytra. In Japan, the place that this beetle is indigenous to, it does not represent a threat because its population is being kept under control by its natural predators.
However, in North America, it has been declared an invasive species. The first written evidence of this beetle appearing within the United States territory dates back from 1916, from a nursery in the state of New Jersey. It kept on spreading around the world, reaching Canada and Europe. In Europe, it was spotted for the first time in Milan, Italy.
The life cycle of Japanese beetles
A female beetle will lay individual eggs or a small cluster of them near the surface of the soil. It takes about two weeks for the eggs to hatch, and the emerging larvae will start feeding on fine plant roots and other organic material available. As the larvae continue to grow, they become c-shaped grubs that feed on thicker and stronger roots.
This may cause economic damage due to the loss of crops. As the winter approaches, larvae will start hibernating in small cells in the soil. They will emerge in the spring when the soil temperature rises again. Most of a Japanese beetle’s life is spent as larvae, with an adult life span of approximately 30 to 45 days.
Adult beetles feed on leaf material above ground, eating the leaf part in between the leaf veins. They use pheromones to attract other beetles on the same plant, this way overwhelming the infested plants and feeding on the leaves from the top of the plant downwards. The female beetle may lay as many as 60 eggs in the entire adult life.
For most beetle species, the full life cycle will take up to one complete year. However, there are a few beetle species that take up to two years to complete their life cycle. The majority of this time is spent as larvae, in the soil, feeding on roots and other organic materials. Since emerging the soil as adults, the daily activities of adults are feeding on leaves and mating.
Japanese beetles feed on a wide variety of plants, from flowers to fruit trees and garden vegetables. This type of feeding made it very easy for them to rapidly spread across the world and become so invasive in certain areas. Their favorite plants are roses, tomatoes, strawberries, plums, peaches, and corn.
How can we control the Japanese beetle infestations in plants?
There are a few ways out there that you could use in order to keep this under control in your yard. Since technology has developed so much in the past decades, new types of pest control solutions are now available on the market. The main thing is to get informed and make sure you are making the right choice for you and your family in terms of pest control solutions.
Beetle traps are definitely an option. They are made out of two parts that are connected. The top part of the trap is impregnated with pheromones and a floral scent, a combination that has proved to be irresistible to beetles. The bottom part consists of a bag in which adult beetle will fall into, without the possibility of ever getting back out.
One of the downsides of this method is, as recent research showed, that the chemical pheromones used to make the trap attract more beetles than natural beetle pheromones do. So, instead of decreasing the number of beetles in your yard, you may attract many more, and also catch about 70% of them. This is a case of doing your neighbors a favor.
You could also choose to use chemical pesticides to get rid of these annoying beetles. However, if the Japanese beetle infestation in your garden is not massive, then you may do more damage to your yard than actually helping it. Why is that? Well, chemical pesticides also kill beneficial insects from your garden, not just the targeted beetles.
Where should the traps be placed?
There are a few guidelines to be followed when choosing to use a Japanese beetle trap. First, you need to place them as far away as possible from the plant or group of plants you are trying to protect from them. Make sure you install the traps downwind from your garden, in such way that the beetles following the trap’s scent do not fly directly over your garden.
It’s never a good idea to be tempting beetles to stop for a snack in the garden you are trying to protect. Since beetles can travel across many miles, getting the community involved is a very smart thing to do. Strategically placing traps across the entire area will definitely work better and be much more efficient than a few isolated traps in a couple of yards.
Make sure you are keeping the traps fresh and clean. If the bag gets full of dead bugs, it may cause the trap to stop working. The bag needs to be replaced every few days, this way ensuring the trap is working at its maximum potential. Usage instructions available on the traps are to be followed.
And last but not least, timing is everything. Adult Japanese beetles are most active in June, July, and August. Since they are the trap’s target, it is advisable to start using them in the last week of May, to make sure you get to catch as many beetles as possible before they get the chance to do much eating and laying eggs.
What other ways are there against Japanese Beetles?
If you are that kind of person that just happens to have a lot, and I mean a lot of spare time on your hands, you could choose to go out there in your flower garden and pick them up from your flowers by hand. This way you keep a close eye on the infestation degree in your garden and also get rid of them without using pesticides.
If, however, spare time is not your best friend or even setting out traps takes too much time for you, then using chemical pesticides could be the way to go for you. The huge downside of this method is that it also kills other beneficial insects in your garden. The less you choose to use chemical substances in your garden, the better for the small ecosystem.
If it ever crossed your mind to simply not grow anything in your garden this year to avoid this pest, we have bad news for you — Japanese beetles feed on grass and grass-roots as well. So, unfortunately, the only way to go is to choose one of the pest control methods, if you are lucky enough to be living in an infested area.