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Play Defense When it Comes to Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetle

If you’ve never heard of the Japanese Beetle, it’s time you made their acquaintance. Chances are they are already burrowed deep in your lawn, or heading there eventually, as they especially thrive in Virginia and Maryland and the surrounding areas.

These small beetles have shiny, metallic-green bodies and copper-colored wings. But don’t let their size fool you—they have voracious appetites, and, if left unchecked, they can do severe damage to your lawn and yard.

Here’s what they do: When temperatures cool down in the fall, Japanese Beetle grubs that have been feeding on your grass will burrow down 4-8 inches in your yard and stop feeding as they overwinter. Then, when soil temperatures begin to warm again, the grubs will wake up and begin feeding, working their way back up to the surface. Beetle grubs grow to full size by May or early June and pupate. Adult beetles emerge a few weeks later.

The danger is that the damage is done long before you’ll see any Japanese Beetles on your plants or grass. If you have grubs in your yard waiting to munch on your plants come spring, you won’t see them until they’ve already damaged your yard’s roots. They’ll eat plant and grass root systems under the soil surface, which means those plants will have a hard time surviving once summer heat arrives. If you’ve had brown patches of grass that can be pulled up—similar to carpet—this is a sign of Japanese Beetle root damage. They also like eating the soft flesh of leaves, so you may see lots of small holes on plant foliage, which can cause the entire plant to die.  

Trees and plants that are especially susceptible to the Japanese Beetle include the Linden, Apple, Crabapple, Japanese Maple, Norway Maple, Birch, Pin Oak, Crape Myrtle, and rose bushes. Lawns are also a big draw for the pest, and large yards are particularly vulnerable.
The best treatment for this invasive beetle is proper insecticide and a fertilized and aerated landscape. Because the threat level from Japanese Beetles is high and eradication requires a multi-part attack, it’s recommended you call in the professionals. These winter months are the perfect time to have an expert from Green Pest Control come and assess your pest control needs, making sure you’re doing all you can to protect your property from all harmful pests.