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Lawn Care Blog

Where Do Japanese Beetles Come From and How Can You Protect Your Lawn?

japanese-beetles-devour-cherry-tree.jpgToday after dinner, I let the dogs out, and noticed a bunch of bugs flying around my cherry tree. After having found two huge honey bee swarms in my yard this Summer, I was expecting these to be bees, too. But to my horror, I found my cherry tree covered with hundreds of Japanese beetles! I've never seen so many in one place - standing beneath the tree, I could actually hear them munching on the leaves. These beetles were not here this morning! The pictures I'm posting are of my own tree, with skeletonized leaves - only the veins left, all the fleshy parts eaten away - and they've done all this damage in less than 8 hours!  What's worse - they're all mating. That means GRUBS and grubs spell DISASTER for a lawn! 

Japanese beetles grubs mature through the month of  June and adult beetles emerge from the last week of June through July. On warm sunny days the new beetles crawl onto low growing plants and warm for a while before taking flight. 

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The first beetles out of the ground seek out suitable food plants and begin to feed immediately. Odors that are released by the damaged leaves attract additional adults to gather in masses on the unfortunate plants first selected. Mating also is common on the food plants and several matings by both males and females is common.

After feeding for a day or two, the females leave feeding sites in the afternoon and burrow into the soil to lay eggs at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. Females may lay 1 to 5 eggs scattered in an area before leaving the soil. This cycle of feeding, mating and egg laying continues until the female has laid 40 to 60 eggs. 

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Eggs will fully swell in 2 to 3 days, and larvae will develop over a period of weeks during the Fall, and grow into the gross, white grubs seen here. These grubs feed on your lawn grass roots, preparing for winter, and burrow 4 to 8 inches into the soil as cold temperatures arrive. 

Here is a great tutorial on how to make an adult beetle catcher with things laying around the house. The more adult beetles you catch, the fewer grubs you'll have in your lawn in the Spring! And the best time to start thinking about a grub problem in your lawn is in late Summer, after eggs have been laid. If you live in the Akron/Cleveland area or further South toward Columbus, you can use grub control products that contain halofenozide as a preventative method from late summer to early fall in preparation for the Spring growing season. These products are found at your local garden center or big box store. Of course, read all package directions before using any of these products.

Make sure that you irrigate your soil after applying these products since they’re water-soluble. And if your area has experienced a dry spell, make sure that you irrigate your soil before you apply the product.

Free Insect Identification Guide

Grubs aren't the only insects that do damage to our lawns. Learn how to identify insects and spot trouble BEFORE they have a chance to do damage with our FREE Insect Identification Guide. This guide is yours for free by clicking on the button below!

Lawn Care & Landscape Insect Guide