The flurry of June planting has slowed. But, did you know that you still have time left to plant a row of beans in a sunny spot and enjoy the fruits this season? And, certainly fast-starter greens like kale, lettuce, chard and spinach will sprout and grow in the shade of tomato plants during our hot summer days. Just keep everything very well-watered!
Early July is when we start to see Japanese beetle and Asian beetle damage.
Japanese beetles (unique in armor of iridescent copper and green) will skeletonize foliage, leaving a lacy leaf ‘doily’ that is not so attractive. Beetles may start in the center of flower buds and eat their way out! These bold pests can defoliate your plants in broad daylight. Asiatic Garden Beetles feed mostly at night chewing irregular holes in the blossoms and foliage of host plants. Asiatic Garden Beetle damage is especially prevalent around the leaf margins.
Fighting the Japanese Beetles
At the first sign of Japanese Beetle Damage, start spraying the affected plant foliage with Japanese Beetle Controls that include Pyrethrin or Neem Oil.
- Pyrethrin-based insecticide is a safe and effective way to control these pests on vegetables, grapes, raspberries, flowers, roses, trees and shrubs. In addition to controlling Japanese beetles, it also controls cucumber beetles, flea beetles, cabbageworms, Colorado potato beetles, and more. Be cautious and do not spray around bees or on bee-attracting flowers.
- Neem oil comes from a tree; when sprayed on plants, it reduces feeding. Scientists call it an anti-feedant. Important: Neem works best when applications begin at first sign of attack.
Pick them off: Japanese beetles are slow. You can easily pick them off plants with your hands and toss them into a bucket of soapy water. Do it in the morning or evening when the beetles are less alert. Note they often drop or leap down when startled off a leaf. Hold your soapy water below where you are picking and you’ll catch a few more.
Prevent and you will be better off next year. In August through September, apply the bacteria known as Milky Spore, which infects the grubs as they start to feed at the roots of grass. It takes a year or so to get established in your soil, but it keeps working for 10 years or more.
Trap: A beetle trap is recommended only if you have a large yard, and can place the trap away from your garden. If you have a small yard, you’ll just be inviting all the neighborhood beetles to your house. If you use a trap, put it out for a day or two at a time every couple of weeks.
Fighting the Asiatic Beetles
You aren’t likely to see the Asiatic Garden Beetle on you plants, but to confirm, visit your garden at night and shine a bright light down onto the soil. Adult beetles will be attracted by the light.
Protect plantings with Pyrethrin, Neem Oil or spun-bonded fabric row covers (Remay)
Prevent overwintering of the beetle by cleaning up the fall garden, tilling under or composting all weeds and plant debris. Scattered at different soil depths and feeding on the roots of almost all plants, Asiatic Garden Beetle larvae are not as destructive to turf and lawns as Japanese beetle grubs.