Japanese Beetles

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Japanese beetles emerge in late June in Illinois after over-wintering in the ground below the frost line as grubs. In the spring they move upwards feeding on the roots of your lawn and by the summer they are fully grown adults. When they emerge as adults, Japanese beetles feed on the leaves and flowers of over 250 species of plants and your garden is like a Mac Kelly’s to them.

Roses are said to be a favorite of Japanese beetles and in my garden in the summer that is where I will usually find one or two having lunch. Fortunately, I’m not much of a rose gardener so I only have a couple of generic roses but I can imagine the frustration of rose lovers when these beetles emerge in the summer. They can eat entire rose petals and even entire rose leaves  and shoots when they’re young and soft. If you’re wondering what is eating leaves on your plants and leaving them looking like skeletons, the culprit is probably a Japanese beetle. 

At most garden centers you’ll find products you can apply to your lawn to kill the grubs and sprays to kill the adults. I’m not sure how well these will work in the long term because adult beetles can fly and if you’re bound to get someone else’s Japanese beetles in your garden. I prefer to take a more natural approach and encourage natural predators like birds and parasitic wasps to visit my garden. When I find an adult Japanese beetle I’ll catch it and squish it between by gloved fingers or under my shoe. 
Hey, it works. 

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