Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles arrived in the Ozarks years ago. They are here to stay. The question now is how to coexist and still have a garden.

Japanese beetle pair

A mating pair of Japanese Beetles hang below an evening primrose leaf, another beetle favorite.

Over the winter Japanese beetles exist as grubs in the ground. Digging in my garden I turn up several sizes of grubs. The bigger ones are native June bugs both brown and green. The smaller ones are Japanese beetles.

The brown June bugs and the large metallic green ones are more a sonic annoyance than a problem. They zoom noisily across the yard as every chicken goes on the alert. Delicacy time.

leaf eaten by beetles

Japanese beetles eat a leaf out leaving the veins behind as a lacy network.

Japanese beetles tend to stay on a plant and try to eat it to the ground. Chickens love these beetles too but like eating too many other things as well as digging holes to allow inside the garden fence.

Many years ago a wild grape vine sprouted near my back garden fence. It was outside the fence so went unnoticed until well established. It was smaller than the hordes of morning glories bending the fence into waves.

Last year the grape vine became a nuisance. It spread across the entire thirty feet of fence and reached over onto the tractor shed roof and into the apple tree. I cut it back ruthlessly.

wild grapevine

No wonder wild grapevines can bury a tree! This vine was cut back to stems with a few buds only a few feet long and now cover a thirty foot fence plus side blankets extending several feet on both sides.

Why not dig it out?

Japanese beetles like okra and roses and lots of other garden vegetables. They like wild grapevine even more. They get so busy eating grapevine, they leave my garden alone.

Japanese beetle

Japanese beetles are colorful with their metallic green thoraxes, metallic copper wing covers and white dots on black edgings.

The grapevine is again spread the length of the back fence, draped over the tractor shed roof and apple tree as well as trying to snake across the garden beds. The vines growing over the gate went to the goats. More will go to the goats this fall shortly before the leaves color when I again ruthlessly chop it off.

Between now and then the grapevine is distracting Japanese beetles.