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Are Japanese Beetles Damaging to Shrubs?

Can Japanese Beetles Damage Shrubs?

I recently discovered that my new favorite plant that I recently purchased has been damaged by an unknown culprit. Uncertain of what bug could be doing this to my shrubs, I researched what it could be for days and finally concluded.

Are Japanese beetles damaging to shrubs? The answer is yes. Japanese beetles are one of the most common causes of shrub damage. Japanese beetles, known as Popillia japonica, are native to eastern Asia but were introduced in 1916 near Riverton, NJ. Japanese beetles became an invasive species due to their lack of predators and quick reproductive rate, which allows these friendly insects to take over a region very quickly.

This species is known for being a common garden pest to many households. Although this may be true, there are many ways to control the number of Japanese Beetles and keep them from destroying your yard.

Signs of Japanese Beetle Damage to Shrubs

There are many signs that your shrub may be infested with Japanese Beetles. One way to tell is by looking for feeding holes. These are damage marks on the plant exterior. Another sign of Japanese beetles on shrubs is the presence of dark-colored spots. These come from beetle droppings.

If you notice these signs, Japanese Beetles are likely damaging your shrubs right now. It’s important to take action soon, or else they’ll continue to cause damage over time.

Japanese beetles feed on over 300 species of plants and some shrubs. Japanese maples and lilacs are more likely to be damaged than others.

Japanese Beetle damage cannot always be seen by the naked eye. It may require a magnifying glass or microscope to identify Japanese Beetle damage if you notice your shrubs aren’t growing as vigorously as they should be.

How Can I Keep Japanese Beetle Populations Under Control?

Thankfully there are many ways in which you can control Japanese beetle populations while also protecting your shrubs! There are several effective ways to control Japanese Beetles and make sure they don’t cause your plants any harm.

Japenese Beetle Traps

Japanese beetle traps are a great tool to have in your Japanese beetle control arsenal! These Japanese Beetle traps can be purchased from many gardening stores or online for about $6-$10.

Traps come with bait that attracts Japanese beetles as well as pheromones that attract other Japanese beetles to the trap.

When Japanese beetles fly into these traps, they cannot see very well due to the ultraviolet light. This allows you to catch them easily once they’re attracted to the trap by both sight and scent. This is why Japanese beetle traps work so well!

The best part of using Japanese Beetle Traps is that there’s no harm done to any insect caught in it. They don’t die when they get trapped inside. The Japanese Beetles just get stuck to a pad that you can then throw away.

Japanese Beetle traps are a safe way to reduce Japanese beetle populations and help your shrubs without any pesticide or other chemicals.
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Handpicking Japanese Beetles

Handpicking Japanese beetles from shrubs is the first step towards Japanese beetle management as well as Japanese Beetle pest control!

This process should be done in mid-July when Japanese beetles hatch from their pupa stage. To successfully pick Japanese beetles off of your shrubs, it’s important to wear gloves.

They will try to bite you if given the chance! There are many types of Japanese beetle removal including using a stepladder and picking them by hand, shaking them into a bucket, or spraying them with water.

Preventing Japanese Beetles From Attacking Shrubs

Japanese beetles love to eat plants with broad leaves, especially Japanese maples, and lilacs. It’s recommended not to plant these kinds of plants near each other if you wish to keep Japanese beetle populations under control. Here are a few simple ways to protect your shrubs from damage:

Neem Oil

Neem oil Japanese beetle control is another great Japanese beetle management technique. Not only can it help with Japanese beetles but it also helps plants and shrubs resist damage from Japanese Beetles in the future

. Neem oil Japanese beetle control is very simple: mix a little neem oil into water then spray this mixture onto your plants until they’re completely coated. The neem oil will not harm your plants at all.

They’ll simply be treated with the natural compounds found in neem oil that repel Japanese beetles. This results in fewer Japanese beetles feeding on your shrubs.
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Treating the Foliage

Another Japanese beetle management technique is to spray the foliage of your shrubs with horticultural grade soap. This can be purchased at any gardening store.

Once you’ve sprayed your shrub, make sure to thoroughly moisten all its leaves and stems. Japanese beetles aren’t able to ingest water so this will make them unable to harm your plants by drinking the sap.

If Japanese beetles are having trouble feeding on your plant because it’s too wet, they may move on to other plants that don’t have as much moisture covering their leaves. The best time to treat Japanese Beetle damage is before Japanese Beetles lay eggs.
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Create a Barrier

Make sure to create a barrier to protect your plants during the Japanese Beetle flight season. Japanese Beetles are attracted to bright colors. You can protect your plants by placing Japanese beetle traps around them during Japanese Beetle mating season.

Japanese Beetles are highly susceptible to weather changes, especially windy weather, so adding Japanese beetle traps will help keep this invasive pest under control.

Plant Resistant Shrubs

Plant Japanese beetle-resistant shrubs to protect your landscape, and deter them from wanting to invade your garden. Some of the resistant shrubs include Japanese privets, Japanese holly, Japanese snowball bush, and Japanese Pieris.

Planting Japanese beetle-resistant shrubs near your other landscape plants can also help protect them from damage because Japanese beetles will prefer to eat tasty Japanese privet rather than a Japanese maple tree.

Spraying Japanese Beetles With Poison

Japanese beetles can be killed with poison, but it’s not the best way to control Japanese beetle populations. Japanese beetles are a big problem for gardens. They feed on over 300 different types of plants, causing huge amounts of damage to those plants.

Japanese beetles also lay their eggs on the ground. The larvae hatch and feed on the roots of grasses, harming your lawn as well as your garden.

Why Is Spraying Japanese Beetles With Poison Not The Best Way?

Spraying Japanese beetles is not the best way to control the species because Japanese beetles fly from garden to garden.

Japanese beetle poison in your yard will kill Japanese beetles, but the Japanese beetles from your neighbors’ yards might feast on your plants before they die. Then you’ve wasted all that effort and money! In this case, it’s better to use Japanese beetle traps or vacuums instead of poison.

Japanese Beetle Control for Your Greenhouse

Japanese Beetles are attracted to light. If you have a greenhouse with lights on in the evening, this will bring Japanese beetles inside where they’ll become trapped behind the glass.

You can also trap Japanese beetles inside greenhouses by hanging Japanese beetle traps around the perimeter of the area and in various spots throughout your greenhouse. Some people choose to use pesticides but it’s important to remember that pesticides kill all insects.

Is There a Natural Enemy to Japanese Beetles?

There isn’t much that want to kill a Japanese Beetle population. However, here are a few predators that are natural enemies to the invasive beetle. The predators include bats, parasitic wasps, birds, dragonflies, spiders, and fire ants.

Japanese Beetles are most at risk during their larva stage, while they’re eating roots of grasses underground. Their larvae are preyed upon by Japanese beetle-killing fungi that can easily kill Japanese Beetle larvae in the soil.

Japanese Beetle natural enemies also include birds who feed on Japanese beetles throughout their lives, both as adults and larvae forms.

Do Japanese Beetles Like Hydrangeas?

Japanese beetles seem to love attacking hydrangeas. Japanese beetle larvae will bore into the trunk of hydrangea and live there for about a year, feeding off its roots.

The Japanese beetle adults feed on the leaves of a hydrangea plant. Japanese beetles are very fond of flowering plants because they make a great food source for them, as well as their larvae. They particularly like white flowers such as those found in Hydrangeas.

However, Japanese beetles will attack any flower that is around them even if it isn’t part of their diet! Japanese beetles can eat holes through entire gardens and leave nothing but stubs where all the beautiful flowers were before. If you see Japanese Beetles or their grubs in your garden or house, you will have to take action to get rid of them.

Japanese Beetles can be especially damaging during the summer since they lay their eggs in your hydrangea plants and the Japanese beetle’s larvae will live in them for a year.

They can be a significant nuisance during the Hydrangeas blooming season. Japanese beetles have been known to destroy one entire hydrangeas plant from top to bottom.

They do so by eating its leaves and dropping Japanese Beetle Grubs on them while it is blooming. Japanese beetles love to eat hydrangeas because they are so soft and easy for Japanese beetles to chew through.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, Japanese Beetles are a real pest for many homeowners. If your garden is suffering from an infestation, try the methods mentioned in this article. Japanese beetles can cause significant damage to food crops, ornamental trees and shrubs, turfgrass, and even woody plantings on golf courses or in parks.

Japanese Beetle management is important not only for the homeowner but also for the entire community, so be sure to take action before they get out of hand.

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for American Lawns. I've been a home owner for over 15 years. I've also had the pleasure of working with some experts in lawn care and outdoor living. I enjoy writing about everything related to your lawn, pests and types of grass. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.