How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Naturally

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Naturally

Japanese beetles.  They come every year to destroy all of my beautiful fruit trees and garden, especially the roses.  I hate them, I’ll bet you do as well.  Let’s talk about “How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Naturally”.

The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, made it’s way to the United States around 1916. 

Currently, Japanese beetles are established from Maine to Georgia and every other state east of the Mississippi River.  The beetles are now being seen in parts of Kansas and are thought to be moving westward.

Did you know that a Japanese Beetle will fly up to 5 miles to find a feeding location?  This happens when other adult beetles give off pheromones to attract other male and female beetles to their feeding ground.

We live out in the country and let me tell you something….the Japanese beetles come in droves!  I mean, they aren’t messing around at my house, they invite the whole family!

Over the years, I’ve tried different organic methods of dealing with them.  None have worked very well.


japanese beetle on leaf

Will soapy water kill Japanese Beetles?

In a word, NO.

The beetles love my raspberries!  I’ve walked through my patch, with bucket of soapy water in one hand and knocking Japanese beetles off of raspberry canes with the other hand.  It’s laughable.  They seem reproduce faster than I can drown them.

*Using an organic spray made with Neem oil for Japanese Beetles didn’t work – This can work on many kinds of trees for pests, and I use it myself!  However, not for Japanese beetles.

*Japanese Beetle traps make it worse – You’ve probably seen the little bags that hang, baited with pheromones.  I’ve probably caught thousands and thousands of beetles in these traps.  Problem is that I’m making the problem worse by attracting MORE beetles.  Geez.

*Ducks to consume them – Ducks are known to like the taste of Japanese Beetles, but I would need 1,000 ducks to make a dent out here.

japanese beetle life cycle

What is THE Natural Way to Finally Get Rid of Japanese Beetles?

My answer to the Japanese Beetle problem this year is Milky Spores.

Milky Spores is a naturally occurring bacteria that kills the grubs in the ground, that would otherwise grow into adult Japanese Beetles.  Milky Spores does no harm to beneficial bugs.

The good news is that with 3 applications of Milky Spores this and next Spring, summer and fall, most of the grubs in your soil will die.  The bacteria spreads under the ground and does it’s work.

The bad news is that it won’t help with the adult Japanese Beetles THIS year.

However, adult beetles will NOT lay eggs where Milky Spores exists.  So, it’s a bit of a delayed gratification thing, but you will take care of the problem for years by using Milky Spores.

milky spores for grub control

How I Applied Milky Spores

I’ve got to be honest with you…

A #20 bag of Milky Spores costs about $55, and it covers 7.000 square feet.  We have 10 acres.  There is just no way I could afford, or justify, the cost of enough bags to cover our entire property.

After some thought, I decided that I would apply the granules using my seed spreader around each of my fruit trees and around the perimeters of my garden, grape vines and blackberry vines.  Assuming that the bacteria spreads as the package says it will, my hope is that the Japanese beetles will leave my trees and garden alone.

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japanese beetle on roses

How Can I Deal with the Adult Japanese Beetles This Year?

Along with applying the Milky Spores to my lawn, I plan to spray the leaves of my trees with a mixture made from Kaolin clay.  It doesn’t harm any other pollinators and it irritates the beetles so they just fly away!

Japanese Beetle Spray

One quart of Surround (Kaolin clay)

1 tbsp. of dish soap

2 gallons of water

Mix up this spray and apply on trees and bushes.  Re-apply every 7-21 days for 4 weeks.

unaffected leaves and trees


What Were the Results?

Guess what happened?

Right now is the peak of Japanese beetle season, actually around the 4th of July is when they are in full force here in my area. 

Guess how many Japanese beetles I’ve seen?



I just couldn’t believe that the Milky Spores worked that well, and with just one application!

Thinking that perhaps the Japanese beetles had taken a wrong turn somewhere, I have been reaching out to neighbors all around my community, asking if they are seeing them.

They are!  I’ve been hearing complaints of how much damage is being done to their trees and gardens!

But there are NONE in my yard!  Unbelievable!

I did not use the Kaolin clay spray because I didn’t need to!

Milky Spores did wonders in my yard and it’s truly THE natural way to kill Japanese beetles for good!!

You’ve got to try Milky spores for yourself and get rid of Japanese beetles naturally!


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