If you live in the northeast, you've seen them. Small, iridescent beetles that happily munch on everything in sight. A Japanese Beetle infestation is no joke. These little bugs can skeletonize the leaves on a plant in a few hours. We'll give you some pointers about what to do if these beetles show up, and exactly how to get rid of a Japanese beetle infestation.
The Japanese Beetle Lifecycle
Like most beetles, the Japanese beetle spends its time underground when it isn't feeding and mating. It has four basic stages of growth: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adult beetles lay their eggs in the ground, typically under the sod in your yard. The eggs then hatch, and worm-like larva appear. The larva eat succulent roots and anything else they can find, before morphing into the pupa that will eventually hatch and become an adult beetle.
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The easiest time to kill Japanese beetles is when they're in the larval stage. Unfortunately that means you must apply harsh chemicals to your lawn, if you can even find the larva to begin with. It's possible to eradicate a Japanese beetle infestation by yourself, but an exterminator is really better suited to the job.
There are quite a few products on the market that will treat and kill the larva, or grubs. Most of the products contain Dylox, a pesticide made by Bayer that causes the grubs to dry out and die whether they're dormant or not. Dylox is a dangerous chemical which needs to be applied to your lawn in areas where the grubs are concentrated. Dylox typically comes in 10lb bags full of granules, and can be spread on your lawn before it rains in order to trickle down and kill the Japanese beetle grubs.
Baiting the Adults
If you missed out on the larval stage and you're dealing with an adult beetle infestation,t here's still hope. beetles can be baited using a number of different products. It's typically more expensive to treat an adult beetle infestation on your own than it is to hire an exterminator, but it is possible. Most baits work by tricking the beetles sense of smell, and luring them in to be killed.
Bait placement is vital when it comes to adult Japanese beetles. The reason is that the little pests will eat everything they can find on the way to their baits. In fact, a recent study has shown that Japanese beetles will often settle down on plants close to the baits and eat them, rather than being poisoned.
Hire an Exterminator
At the end of the day, an exterminator is probably the best choice for getting rid of Japanese beetles. They know how to handle the chemicals, where to find the larva, and how to trick the adults into taking the bait. While you can treat a small outbreak of these beetles on your own, when it comes time to deal with a large swarm a professional is called for. They know better than anyone how to treat a Japanese beetle infestation.