Japanese beetles have been one of the most troublesome backyard insect pests in the Eastern and Upper Midwest regions of the U.S. ever since 1916, when they hitched a ride on a container of ornamental plants from Japan.
Thwarting these pests, which feed on and destroy nearly everything in a landscape, is vital to maintaining a healthy garden and will save money on replanting.
While Japanese beetles are universally despised, opinions differ on the best way to battle them. Options range from pesticides to picking them off by hand. However, according to expert Dr. Michael Klein, pheromone traps are the most effective, environmentally friendly method of combating Japanese beetles.
For 35 years, Dr. Klein was a research entomologist at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service lab, specializing in garden insects. Japanese beetles are his area of expertise. Over the years, he has used pheromone traps to protect the prized rose bushes and other plants in his own back yard.
Dr. Klein says the "conventional wisdom" about Japanese beetle traps is comprised of misconceptions, and he offers three “myth busters” to help gardeners win the battle against beetles:
Myth #1: Traps lure Japanese beetles from miles around.
Wrong! The facts: Most attractants lure beetles from no more than 200 yards, says Dr. Klein. The beetles, however, are strong fliers and travel several miles, touching down at random intervals to see what's available to eat. If a yard looks attractive, they will come in for a meal– unless a trap is set to intercept them. The traps only lure beetles that are already near the yard. One type of setting where traps could be an issue is around a golf course or large turf area, Dr. Klein says -- but not in the average yard.
Myth #2: Traps make the problem worse by luring more beetles than they catch.
Wrong! The facts: This is the biggest misconception in beetle history. The problem occurs when traps are placed incorrectly. If placed next to a rose bush, beetles will be attracted to that area, and may land on the roses rather than in the trap.
Myth #3: Pesticides are safe to use on Japanese beetles.
So Wrong! The facts: Insecticides may work on adult beetles, but they also kill beneficial pollinators, like bees. Traps offer safe and “green” alternatives to chemical sprays targeting these bugs.
Dr. Klein maintains, "Pheromone traps provide a visible means of combating Japanese beetles without having a negative effect on the environment.”
- Trap placement is critical. Don’t place the traps next to ornamental plants. Set traps about 30 feet from tasty plants to lure the beetles away. It’s best to place them next to a non-flowering tree or shrub, such as a pine tree or boxwood, which is not attractive to the beetles.
- Enlist neighbors to battle the beetles, too. Traps are effective in one yard alone, but when neighbors band together and put out traps in their yards, the overall beetle numbers are greatly reduced. Consider it a “neighborhood watch” for garden invaders!
The RESCUE!® Japanese & Oriental Beetle Trap, backed by years of research, slowly releases a natural pheromone over the entire 8-week beetle season, while competitors’ traps start with a stronger plume and burn off quickly.
The trap’s easy-lock bottom allows beetles to be easily discarded if the bag fills up before the season is over. Made of highly durable, double-layered nylon, the bag withstands bad weather and the test of time. The all-in-one design, welded construction and capacity for holding a large number of beetles make it ideal for home gardens.
“Use the traps and you’ll be happy with them,” exclaims Dr. Klein. “Nine out of 10 homeowners who use a bag trap are satisfied with the results. Whether it’s because revenge is sweet or because they are actually seeing fewer beetles is irrelevant!”
The RESCUE!® trap is also the only trap to catch an additional pest: Oriental beetles. These relatives of the Japanese beetle damage the roots of turfgrass, fruit and ornamental plants, and they only fly at night – making hand-picking nearly impossible.
So there it is... myths busted. The facts prove the case for pheromone traps -- specifically the RESCUE!® Japanese and Oriental Beetle Trap!
This summer, spend less hours hand-picking beetles and hang a pheromone trap. Then enjoy a beetle-free garden.