It was a very familiar refrain this summer: Beetles have eaten my roses! They’re decimating my flowers! There’s too many of them! What can I do??
Japanese beetles are a huge pest, and when they’re adults, they’re very hardy – you can pick them off plants by hand, you can spray them down with insecticidal soap in the hopes of drowning them, or you can set up traps in the hopes of catching them before they can eat everything.
The problem with Japanese beetles is that they swarm, oftentimes causing a plant to be covered in too many to pick away and kill. Sprays can sometimes kill the beetles, but they have to stay in the soap long enough to suffocate. Traps can oftentimes lure in more beetles than they’ll kill!
The best way to get rid of Japanese Beetles is to kill them before they have the chance to become beetles – when they’re in their larval form, snug in your lawn, they’re vulnerable to Nematodes! Nematodes are tiny, carnivorous worms and they would love nothing more than to obliterate baby beetles before they emerge next spring/summer.
Nematodes are also great for helping to prevent wildlife like skunks and raccoons from digging up lawns to get to the fat, gross, juicy beetle larvae. By killing the larvae before they can become appetizing to wildlife, it will help prevent your yard from becoming this week’s buffet for neighborhood insectivores.