This is the third story in a three-part series on how to deal with garden pests chemical-free.
Garden pests—we all get them, but how do you deal with the pests without spraying chemicals on your food? No worries we are here to help!
The final pesky garden pest we'll discuss are Japanese Beetles. I hate to say it, but Japanese Beetles are actually quite beautiful, with blue-green heads and copper backs. These small beetles are about a half inch long, travel in groups, and eat almost any plant. Favorite feasts for this pest include roses, beans, and raspberries.
Japanese beetles start out as grubs in your soil then emerge in June as adult beetles. As grubs, they destroy the roots of your grass before coming to the surface to then attack your plants. While their adult life is only 40 days, they can easy destroy your garden if left unchecked.
So what is a chemical free gardener to do? Luckily you have quite a few options! I seem to deal with Japanese Beetles every season since moving to West Michigan. Even if you do not have grubs in your soil the Japanese Beetles can easily fly over from your neighbor’s yard.
Row covers are quite effective in protecting plants if used during the beetles life cycle.
If covering your crops isn't your game, hand picking the beetles in the morning when they are most active is quite easy, as they are quite slow. As I catch the pests, I put them into a bowl of water. If you have chickens, your feathered friends will enjoy the treat. If you are not going to feed the beetles to another animal add dish soap to the water so they cannot fly away.
When handpicking just isn’t enough you can spray your plants with Neem Oil. I spray my roses with Neem Oil since handpicking around the thorns isn’t practical.
If you see Japanese Beetles in your garden don’t stress! You are now armed with a plan of attack to save your season.
Steve & Corey Veldheer are organic yard & garden specialists in west Michigan.