Landaff Gardens: Japanese Beetles

by Florence Webb

If the lacy leaf on the left makes your stomach drop in familiar dismay, you may have Japanese Beetles in your garden.  They adore raspberry plants including ripe berries, Rugosa roses, green beans, and are particularly fond of asiatic lilies.

You’ve surely seen the standard advice to pick them off and drown them.  In my raspberry patch there were thousands of them, and they flew away on approach.  There were more I other areas.  It seemed hopeless.

Based on nothing more useful than Amazon reviews, I bought a box of the product on the right, a Milky Spore Powder.  According to the University of Illinois Extension, Milky Spore is a natural bacterium that only infects beetle grubs.

I applied it in midsummer, after the darn beetles had hatched, and it didn’t make any difference that summer.  But the next summer my beetle population was a small fraction of what it had been, especially around the raspberries which they had overwhelmed the previous year.

So I’m a believer for now.

Question for all Landaff gardeners: do you get Japanese Beetles?  Have you found a way to control them?  (DO NOT say you pick them off.  I don’t want to hear it.)

Have you used Milky Spore?  Does it work for you?  Are there specific conditions of application to make it work best?

Hit the comments button and fill us all in.  We want our lilies back.

One thought on “Landaff Gardens: Japanese Beetles

  1. By the way, I found a thing on the Internet that says the soil has to be at least 65 degrees for the spore to work in killing off the grubs. So it is likely not too late to apply this year if you’re wanting to try it. -Florence

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