I Hate Japanese Beetles!

Garden Pest

Japanese Beetle © 2008

The Japanese beetle has invaded my gardens and yard. They have been voracious this summer and really inflicted a great amount of damage. The beetles eat the surfaces of the leaves, but avoid the vein which remains intact, and therefore the foliage looks lacy. However, it is not a pretty sight to any gardener.

Lacy Leaf Damage

Lacy Leaf Damage on Filbert Tree © 2008

The beetle was first discovered in the United States in 1916, and it is thought it was accidentally introduced in New Jersey in imported Japanese iris. The beetles are controlled in Japan by natural predators, but are unchecked in the US. They are found in every state east of the Mississippi River, except for Florida.

The best defense in my smallish garden is removal by hand – yuk! There are traps using pheromones, but some studies show the traps can actually attract more beetles than they catch. I’m not one to use much in the way of chemical control if possible, but I”ve been using Bonide from Garden Naturals in the worst areas and that seems to have helped.

Anyone else fighting these pests successfully with other means?

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I can attest to the fact that the traps can bring on more beetles. Too late, I found out the best place for the traps is in your neighbor’s yard…..

    I haven’t tried it yet, but my wholistic son uses Pyola for all manner of pesky critters, says it gets them all.

  2. It’s interesting that your post reads ‘I hate beetles!’ and directly below is a rather lovely, vivid color of one of the transgressors.

    It sounds as though he didn’t deserve such an attractive tribute.

    Here in Oregon, all the Pine Trees are doomed, thanks to a horrid little parasite called the Mountain Pine Beetle. It has spread out now, and the most dense pine forests- those consisting of Lodgepole Pines may no longer exist if Parks, naturalists, environmentalists do not soon brain-storm an idea to eradicate the pests.

    It’s frightening to see the destruction they’ve wrought. I don’t know if it’s the same parasite that’s come to Yellowstone, but our Tour Guide said all the trees in this endless stand we were looking at were essentially dead trees, because ‘the predator had arrived’.

  3. amuirin – thanks for pointing that out – I’ll amend to say “kill if found”

  4. Sorry about your garden, but sure is a lot of pretty color you captured in that bug and plant.

  5. I hate bugs of all sorts. But why do such horrid things actually look a bit pretty.

  6. Bo- lol, that ought to do it.

  7. Cool colors, but a dastardly pest. Very sad to hear about the Lodge Pole pines out west.

Leave a Reply