Japanese Beetles Eating Up Everything!

outlook_r30_headerJapanese beetles made a comeback especially in the mid-Atlantic region of the country. For every 1000 adult beetles you saw during the summer months last year, there may be up to 50,000 grubs come this spring. The best way to combat Japanese beetles is to attack them at their most vulnerable stage of their life cycle…the grub stage.

Proper education is key to eradicating the beetle. Most consumers don’t realize the grub is part of the life cycle of the beetle and don’t properly treat for the insect. We see adult beetles eating away lush vegetation during the summer months, including crape myrtle, roses, and Japanese plum trees. As fall approaches, the beetles lay eggs in the grassy lawn areas of the yard where they hatch into grubs. The grubs eat the roots of grass to build up body fat to survive the winter months. If a lawn has over ten grubs per square foot it begins to stress, ultimately browning out and creating bare patches in the yard. The following spring, the grubs reemerge to feed for a short period of time, before pupating into the adult beetle, whereby the process repeats again.
One of the most used and successful products to combat the Japanese Beetle is Milky Spore. A natural bacteria, first developed by USDA, it has been used for over 60 years. Milky Spore is applied to the lawn as the grubs feed on the roots and they ingest the bacteria. Once ingested, the bacteria begin to multiply, killing the grub. An infected grub turns milky in color as the bacteria multiply. (see picture) The grub decays and the bacteria is re-released back into the soil to work again. Milky spore has been known to be viable for up to 20 years. Milky spore is safe, not harming man, animal, or beneficial insects.
outlook_r30_body1There are two forms of Milky Spore, powder and granule. The powder is applied in level teaspoon amounts every four feet in rows four feet apart, making a grid pattern. The powder is concentrated and only requires one application. Once applied, it is watered in for about 25 minutes. It can also be watered in by rain if rain is in the forecast for the following few days. St. Gabriel Organics makes a dispenser tube for easy application of the powder. The granular product is used in drop spreaders and is a multi-step program. This form of the product requires three applications over two seasons. It should be applied in spring, summer, and fall for two seasons.
Whichever method is applied, milky spore is guaranteed to keep working for up to 10 years. If the Japanese Beetle grubs continue to be a problem, St. Gabriel Organics will replace the product at no charge. Also, if your customers are not sure they have Japanese Beetle grubs, St. Gabriel Organics provides a free service to assist in the identification of grubs. Please contact the company to inquire about this service at 800-801-0061 FREE.
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