Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Japanese Beetle? Infestation - Popillia japonica - male - female

Japanese Beetle? Infestation - Popillia japonica - Male Female
Orrick, Missouri, USA
June 8, 2008
I have what I think are Japanese beetles, making their home in my yard. There are literally hundreds of them, eating my leaves to nothing but the stems and veins. They are reproducing like crazy (they aren't shy, as they have demonstrated in the photos) and I am really concerned about the welfare of my flowers and butterfly bushes. I have a lot of planting left to do this summer and now I am afraid these guys are going to ruin anything more I plant. Most pest places have just recommended spraying...but I am a huge fan of my insects and butterflies and want to nothing to compromise the desirability of the my yard to the rest of the insect population. Any suggestions???

Japanese Beatles.
Indeed they are Japanese beatles. I have roses and the beatles eat them.There usually are a lot in the summer. They also always go into my pool!!!

These are definitely Japanese beetles. Nice image....I know there are commercial traps for these pests, but I cannot attest to their effectiveness. I'd almost be tempted to do what they did 'back in the day,' which is to hire the neighborhood kids to handpick them, then drown them in a bucket of kerosene (I'd use something less flammable:-). There are also fungal treatments that are fairly specific (Neo....something), so there are alternatives.

Good to know there may be something I can do
I have heard the humane traps tend to attract more than they catch. I don't need that! But I may look into this fungal thing. If I could find a way to control them, and yet spare the rest of our critters, that would be perfect.

It's for the same reason that I haven't sprayed for wasps yet. We have a major wasp problem around here. But I have found over time they really are not aggressive and no one has gotten stung, so I am inclined to just leave them be.

These little beetles however, as pretty as they are, are going to eat my entire garden! So I need a quick fix. Thanks for the tips, and for the compliments on the images! I appreciate it.

I used Milky Spore in the gro
I used Milky Spore in the ground to kill the grubs but not harm any other worms, etc. I use soapy water in a large cup and go around the garden knocking them in. I deadhead my fragrant roses (which they love) to try and keep the number down that are attracted to my garden. I have the numbers down but I do still have them. I don't want to spray insecticides if I can help it. A couple of years ago I noticed the house sparrows had started to eat them.

Oh you know I think I read about Milky Spore
Being an option! I should try that. I don't know if there will ever be a way to completely eradicate them without spraying. Which, just like you, I do NOT want to do unless it's a VERY specific spray.

I'll give it a shot, thanks!

Hopefully someone else will come along with the secret to a completely Japanese beetle free yard!

Definitely Popilla japonica,
Definitely Popilla japonica, Japanese Beetle. To kill the adults I'm afraid insecticides would have to be used, but the larvae are in the soil and can be attacked with non-chemical means.

Ahhh well I suppose even getting the larva
would help some if I found a safe way to get rid of the adults.

I'm surprised, because we are surrounded by crop fields (corn and Soybean) and yet all the critters choose my yard. I worried that the products the farmer used on his crops would deter bugs from the area, but apparently they just use my yard as a sanctuary. It's virtually a butterfly conservatory outside. About as many kinds of swallowtails as you can imagine and even some Red Admirals and red spotted Purples. At dusk the painted Ladies come out in droves.

It's really spectacular. And to see that disappear all because of some Japanese Beetles would break my heart!

Japanese Beetles
Don't despair. They come in cycles. After little or no activity several years, we had a terrible infestation last year. Used the bags at the perimeter (only) of our property and collected thousands. Held Ziplock baggies to cup a leaf at a time, knocking the bugs into them. (The beetle always drops down before flying and is easily dropped into the bag which I then seal until I open it for the next beetle.) I hired several neighborhood youth to help with this, paying a pennie a piece. This worked surprisingly well. After a while, we recognized the bugs peak in the hottest part of the day, so we could catch them easily.

I used a high-powered hose to spray them out of tops of a favorite old birch tree. I fertilized the tree and deep-root watered it (Buy the simple tool for doing this at a hardware store.). In the wintertime, I pruned back the tree to reduce the stress from defoliation.

This year, we are having much lower numbers.

your ID is correct

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.