Where are the Japanese beetles?

July 19, 2012 in Outdoors by Carol Michel

Where are they? I looked at all the usual plants that they like to feast on, including roses, zinnias and grapes, and could not find a single Japanese beetle in my garden. Purdue entomologists told us this spring to expect to see the beetles earlier than usual this season because of the warm winter and early spring, but I haven’t seen one yet.

I suspect that this year’s low number of Japanese beetles is due to the dry conditions last year when they were attempting to lay eggs in the lawn in July. I would assume and hope that with fewer Japanese beetles this year and another dry summer, I’ll see fewer of them next year, too.

The lack of Japanese beetles is one positive aspect of these dry summers. While my plants struggle to survive in record heat and under extreme drought conditions, at least they don’t also have to endure their leaves being eaten up by these pests.

Because there are so few Japanese beetles this year, skip the beetle traps. Traps might just entice those in the vicinity to come over to your garden to feast. Even in years when we have an abundance of Japanese beetles, you should place any traps as far away from your garden as possible if you decide to use them. I also discourage anyone who wants to use an insecticide to kill off any Japanese beetles, especially if they don’t see many in their gardens. Spraying for beetles can inadvertently kill off bees and other beneficial insects. If I see any Japanese beetles, I just pick them off by hand and drown them in soapy water.

Fortunately, now that it is time for the Japanese beetles to lay their eggs again, my lawn is once again dry, dormant and a lovely shade of tan. Any adult Japanese beetles should find it difficult to lay their eggs in the sod this year, too. I will remind myself again that this is a positive aspect of the drought. If we have normal amounts of rain next year and plants are thriving in July, then the lack of Japanese beetles would be at least one consolation prize for enduring the drought this year.