Watch Out! Japanese Beetles Are Now Active!

Japanese beetle

For those who may not be familiar with Japanese Beetles, they are native to Japan. However, they are surprisingly not a major insect pest in Japan. Japanese Beetles were accidentally introduced into the US around 1916 in the northeast. The climate and plant diversity that greeted the Japanese Beetles was perfect for their development and expansion. By now, Japanese Beetles, both at the grub and adult stages, are one of the worst insect pests in most states east of the Mississippi River.

Japanese Beetle damage

Japanese Beetle grubs, which is in the larva stage of the life cycle, feed on the root systems of all cool-season grasses as well as many other lawn weeds and other plants. The adults feed on the leaves and flowers of over 300 plants. Some of the trees that they prefer to feed on include Lindens, Black Walnut, Norway Maples and Flowering Crab-apples. They also feed on garden beans, grape vines and both the leaves and flowers of roses.

The adult Japanese Beetle is easily identified by the tufts of white hairs on the back end of the abdomen. Their wing covers are copper colored and the body is metallic green. The grub stage looks like a typical white grub with a c-shaped body and reddish-colored head.

Each species of grub can be identified, by the pattern of hairs on their raster (the pattern of hairs and spines in front of the anal slit) or anal slit. Japanese Beetles have two rows of hairs that are arranged in a V pattern on their raster.

Females live for about 30 to 45 days and will lay about 40 to 60 eggs. They prefer moist, loamy soil in well-manicured turf in which to lay her eggs. Eggs hatch in about 2 weeks and the tiny larvae begin feeding on fine root hairs and organic matter. By late summer the grubs will be fully grown and can feed on large sections of turf. Turf can easily be pulled up, like a carpet, to expose the grubs.

Japanese Beetle – Control Damage to Your Lawn and Landscape


More damage is often caused to the lawn by the animals that feed on grubs than by the grubs themselves. Grubs are like mini-sod cutters and will feed on anything in front of them – soil, roots and other organic matter. If the lawn is being watered and fertilized, it is sometimes hard to tell if grubs are active. Skunks, raccoons, opossums and even crows will dig up the turf looking for a tasty treat. This will cause more damage to the lawn than the feeding by the grubs.

beetle damage

If you see the adults feeding on your plants, it is a good idea to take steps to control them. The adults usually feed from the top of the tree and move downward. The adults have the ability to defoliate a tree in a short time. Minor populations can be hand-picked and thrown into a bucket of soapy water.

The adults are more lethargic in the early morning and you may be able to shake them into the soapy water. Large populations may require the use of a commercially available insect control material.

One word of caution, female Japanese Beetle adults can fly upwards to a mile, so even if you control the adults in your landscape, there is still a possibility of facing grub damage in your lawn in September. Applying a preventative grub control treatment to your lawn at this time of year is a good idea – especially if you have adults feeding on your plants.

If you have Japanese Beetle adults that are feeding on your garden plants, shrubs or trees, contact your local Spring-Green office and have your landscape evaluated and receive a price to control these destructive insects.

Controlling and Getting Rid of Grubs in the Lawn

grub up close

If you had a problem with grubs in your lawn last year, this is the time to apply a preventative grub control treatment to keep them from becoming a problem again this year. Waiting until activity is seen to start getting rid of the grubs in your lawn could mean you need a major lawn overhaul. In some cases, it is not as much from the grubs feeding on the root system of your lawn, but from raccoons, skunks, armadillos, or other foraging animals digging through your lawn, looking for an evening snack.

What Are Grubs?

Grubs are the larval stage of a scarab beetle. There are at least seven different species of beetles that produce grubs that damage lawns to varying degrees. In the Midwest, Japanese Beetles and Northern Masked Chafers are the most prevalent. In the South, Japanese Beetles, Green June Beetles and Southern Masked Chafers are the most common species.

In the Northeast, Asiatic Garden Beetles, European Chafers, Oriental Beetles, Northern Masked Chafers and Japanese Beetles as the most common culprits. The Pacific Northwest usually does not have a serious need for grub control, but May Beetles will show up every now and then. Some of these are native to the US and others are imported.

The beetle that seems to cause the most damage is the Japanese beetle, as the adults feed on many trees and flowering plants. The female adult lays her eggs in turf areas, which then hatch into lawn-damaging grubs. The Japanese beetle adults will start hatching soon and begin feeding. In some southern areas, the adults may already be active.

What Do Grubs Eat?

Grubs act like mini sod cutters and feed on anything that is on front of them. They eat soil, roots, thatch, and other organic material. If a lawn is being watered on a regular basis, you may not even know that they are a problem until some skunk, raccoon or armadillo comes along and rips up your lawn.

skunk and raccoon damage

How Do I Prevent Grubs?

In order to get rid of grubs in the lawn, the best defense is to apply a preventative grub control now, before the eggs hatch, to prevent them from becoming a problem. The insect control material has to be watered well in order to move it into the soil where the insect can come in contact with it.

Contact your local Spring-Green office to schedule this important preventative application before it is too late.

A Second Emergence of Japanese Beetles – Japanese Beetle Control

Leaf damage from Japanese Beetles will usually appear as lots of small holes in close proximity to one another

I know discussing bugs and diseases is not at the top of most people’s lists, but sometimes something happens that I find fascinating. I am not sure anyone else will have the same opinion, but finding out weird things about critters like Japanese beetles that feed on lawns or landscapes can be interesting.

I subscribe to several newsletters from major universities and one of them is the Ohio State Buckeye Yard and Garden Line. In the issue that came out on August 29 there was a reference to a second emergence of Japanese beetles. Normally, these voracious feeders come out in mid-to-late June and feed until early August. The article reported that there seemed to be a second hatching in late August of Japanese beetles this year.

Dr. Dave Shetlar, Extension Entomologist at Ohio State, who is also known as the Bug Doc, explained that this emergence may not be an anomaly, but a possible evolutionary change. There is still a good deal of research that needs to be done on this, but I find it an interesting development. Of course, having to deal with Japanese beetle control twice each year is not a fun thing to consider. One generation is enough.

They’re Back – Understanding and Controlling Japanese Beetles


This is the time of year when the annual onslaught of adult Japanese beetles occurs. These voracious feeders are making leaves look like lace as they feed between the veins. The size of this year’s population is anyone’s guess, but the likelihood that it will be as big as last year is almost a certainty.

Japanese beetles first arrived in the US in the early 20th century and were first reported in New Jersey. They originated in Japan, where they are not considered a major pest. Once they made their way to the US, there were no natural predators and they had an abundance of plant material to feed on. They slowly worked their way west feeding on trees, shrubs, fruit and flowers. Some of their favorite plants to feed on are Lindens, roses, and grapes, but they will feed on many other plants as well.

Japanese Beetles are easily recognizable by their copper-colored wing covers and by the white tufts of hair on their back end. They are the adult stage of an annual white grub. At this time of year, the adults are feeding andmating and the females are laying eggs in lawns. The eggs hatch into grubs about two to three weeks after they are laid. The grubs will feed for about 6 to 8 weeks, feeding on soil, grass roots and other organic material in the soil. In mid to late October, they will dig themselves deep down into the ground where they stay over winter. In the spring, they will rise back up to the upper soil zone, do some light feeding, form a cocoon and pupate back into adults next summer.

Some customers will ask why they still get Japanese beetle adults feeding on their landscape when they have received a grub control application. The reason is that the material we apply for grub control will work on the newly hatched grubs, but not on the adults. The adults have wings and can fly a mile or more in search of food. There are many insect control products that will take care of the adults. You can also contact your neighborhood Spring-Green yard care expert to discuss Japanese beetle control options.

Japanese Beetle Alert!

In case you have not noticed, Japanese Beetles are in full feeding frenzy. If you see leaves of your plants beginning to look like lace doilies, you probably have Japanese Beetles feeding on them. They are easy to identify – bronze wing covers and a row of little tufts of white hair along their back side. If you see them, you may notice that they are often doing what nature intended them to do, procreate. They are voracious feeders and breeders.

They love to feed on grape leaves, flowering shrubs, roses, rose flowers, lindens and an assortment of other trees and shrubs. The female will look for a suitable place to burrow into a lawn, lay her eggs and move on. The eggs hatch into grubs, which feed on the root system of the grass. One advantage of the dry weather is that the eggs, once laid, only stay viable if the soil is moist, as they draw moisture from the soil. If you are watering your lawn, you may have a problem with grubs later on in the late summer or early fall.

Preventing Japanese Beetles

If you haven’t applied a preventative grub control material to your lawn, now would be a good time. In regards to controlling the adults, just about any commercially-available insect control product will work on them. If the adults are feeding on your vegetable plants, be sure to read the label before purchasing the product to make sure it can be used on vegetables and look for the harvest interval between application and consumption.

You may have also seen hawthorn apples covered with orange colored horns. This is due to a disease called rust . This rust is common on apples, hawthorns and quince. It is often called cedar apple rust, cedar hawthorn rust or cedar quince rust. The reason why is that the disease goes back and forth between a cedar tree, like an arbor vitae, and the other trees. It is an interesting disease to read about and if you do a search on one of the combinations, you will be able to learn more about the disease. Controlling the disease requires a series of lawn disease control applications starting in the spring, so it is too late to do much about it now.