Having just moved into a new home with a mature grapevine, I was excited for the summer to come. I promptly began researching how to care for my grape vine. I spent hours reading, researching and pruning with the goal of producing the best harvest possible. Rather quickly, spring came and that grapevine had sprouted new growth. Patiently waiting with excitement, I checked my vine daily. Heading out to the vine one day, I noticed that suddenly my grape vine was covered in Japanese Beetles. Those pests already started eating their way through my crop! Would all that work be for nothing?
Japanese Beetles were first identified in the United States in 1916. Since then, the beetle has spread to become a severe threat to agriculture in the eastern portion of the United States. The larvae will feed on the roots of our plants, while the beetles will completely destroy the leaves. In response to this not so friendly insect, a number of remedies for controlling pests such as Japanese beetles have been implemented. Chemicals, Biological organisms and Traps are all available for use.
Due to the regulations and possible harm to other beneficial insects, I would not recommend the use of chemical grub killers, except under severe conditions. In my opinion, chemicals can be difficult to use and have negative impacts on the environment. For information on how to check for and address severe infestations with chemicals, the USDA has provided program aid 1599 that contains some great information. For most infestations, the combination of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Japanese Beetle Traps should provide you with natural and effective grub control and protection against the infestation of Japanese Beetles.
Heterorhabditis bacteriophora are naturally occurring in North and South America, Australia, and Europe. They provide a natural way of dealing with underground grubs. These microscopic roundworms they will hunt down, kill the larvae and reproduce to spread out their protection of your garden. To apply these helpful bugs, they are generally mixed with water and sprayed from a hose end sprayer attached to your garden hose. One source for Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is www.Arbico-Organics.com
Japanese Beetle Traps are a great option when you first identify the beetles in your yard and can be kept in place all season. These traps are containers of Japanese Beetle pheromones, designed to lure them in and trap them from escaping. I would suggest placing these traps away from your garden, so that they do not attract the beetles to your plants. Traps can be purchased in both disposable and reusable forms. These traps can be purchased at many stores or online. One source for these traps is www.Jungseed.com.
When these options are used in combination, a drastic reduction in the beetle’s population can be seen. Soon you should be back to harvesting grapes, collecting vegetables or sitting in the shade of your favorite tree.