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One of the worst bugs for numerous gardeners, there’s no doubt that Japanese beetles are very damaging! They can trigger significant damage in the garden, and can be difficult to manage.

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If you have them in your garden, then this post is for you! Listed below you will discover lots of pointers for controlling Japanese beetles in your garden– organically!

Theeeeey’re heeeeeere … They are nasty bugs, and their sole function in life it to decimate your precious plants. They are Japanese Beetles.

Ok, ok, I’m being a little extremely dramatic here. I make sure that technically Japanese beetles have some other function in the circle of life … but it doesn’t appear like it.

During the course of a summer, I see countless Japanese beetles in my garden. Thousands! They are out of control.


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I remember the very first time I saw a Japanese beetle in my garden. I actually believed it was kinda pretty. But over the course of 2-3 years, the population blew up and they quickly became a HUGE pest here in Minnesota.

Adult Japanese beetles damage plants by eating holes in the leaves and flowers, and rapidly skeletonize the foliage. They can decimate a little plant in a short time.

During mid to late summertime, Japanese beetles are everywhere, and it’s hard to miss them. The adult beetles are oval with an iridescent brown/green body, and they are 2-3 times the size of a woman bug. The can fly, and are typically very active throughout the day.

The life-span of an adult Japanese beetle isn’t very long, grownups are generally present for less than 2 months. The beetles lay eggs in the soil, and the larvae (aka: grubs) hibernate deep underground during the winter.

This incredibly destructive bug can do double damage. Not just are the grownups a huge pest, however the larvae is too. Japanese beetles larvae are grub worms, which feeds on the roots of yards and other yards.

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The plants that Japanese beetles appear to enjoy the most in my garden (and therefore do the most harm to) are roses, hibiscus, zinnias, canna lilies, grapevines, beans, and my poor linden tree.

However there are great deals of other plants Japanese beetles will eat too.

In my garden, I’ve also found them feeding on coneflowers, squash, peas, and a few other plants here and there.

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The key to controlling Japanese beetles naturally is to stay on top of the issue. Once I start to see beetles on my plants, I get to work immediately. I attempt to get out in the gardens at least as soon as a day to do damage control.

The very best method to handle the adult Japanese beetle is to hand choose them off the plants, and drop them into a container of soapy water to kill them.

Gross, I know! However don’t worry, you’ll get utilized to it.

By the way, do not simply utilize water in your pail, make sure to put soap in there too. The soap will kill the Japanese beetles rapidly.

Otherwise, they can swim for a truly, truly long period of time– like days. It’s creepy! And revolting.

I’ve tried a few different kinds of soap in my pail, and I enjoy Dr. Bronner’s Infant Mild liquid soap the very best. It kills the beetles faster than other soaps I have actually used, which indicates there’s no other way any of them will escape my pail!

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The best time to hand choice Japanese beetles is early in the early morning, or in the evening.

Japanese beetles aren’t as active throughout these times of the day, so less of them will escape my rage. Plus, I can’t stand doing it throughout the day when they’re buzzing around and flying at me– EEK!


Hand picking the Japanese beetles sounds easier than it is due to the fact that sometimes they hang on tight to the plant and won’t release.

Either that, or they will drop off the plant as soon as you disturb it, so you have to be quick with the bucket. And do not stand straight under the beetles either … just believe me on this one (that’s a story for another day).

I find it much easier to clip off the leaf or flower they’re chewing on and drop the whole thing into the container, bugs and all.

To make it a bit simpler to hand choose the beetles, you can spray them with soapy water first.

The soap will eliminate a few of the Japanese beetles on contact, and the rest will be shocked and easier to drop into your container.

I utilize Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild liquid soap for all of my natural garden pest control, it works really well.

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It’s a little work to pick off the Japanese beetles and drop them into a container of soapy water, however it’s simple enough that pesticides aren’t needed … and it’s sooooo satisfying.


Hand choosing the adult beetles is just one of the methods I control Japanese beetles in my garden. Here are a couple of other ways that will help you fight them in your garden naturally …

Beneficial nematodes are a natural method of controlling grub worms in the soil (aka: Japanese beetle larvae). Beneficial nematodes are small organisms that eat grubs, and kill them before they can become grownups.
Scent traps are another terrific alternative for controlling the adult beetles without spraying hazardous pesticides. Read more about how to utilize Japanese beetle traps in your garden.
Spray a natural insecticidal soap straight on the adult beetles to kill them. I blend my own using 1 tsp of Dr. Bronner’s Child Mild liquid soap with 1 liter of water.
Sprinkle the adult beetles with diatomaceous earth to kill them. Diatomaceous earth gets under their shells, and as they move around it cuts them up, and eventually kills them (sounds bad I know, but it’s way much better than utilizing chemicals!).
Neem oil is a natural, plant based pesticide that assists to prevent bugs from eating your plants. Horticultural oil also works fantastic.