Ask Aaron: Japanese Beetle Pest Management
Q: How are you at dealing with Japanese Beetles? - Little Mountain Ranch & Garden
So, I had a feeling this question would be coming sooner or later. Fortunately for City Sprouts, we don't have a ton of pressure from these pesky, invasive beetles, especially on our vegetable crops, which I'll chalk some of this up to pure, dumb luck. I do, however, have some longer-term suggestions that don't involve hand-picking beetles into soapy buckets which is, in my mind, the most effective (if not time-intensive) short term management strategy. On our Decatur Farm, we installed a thirty-foot long beetle bank with native grasses (bluestems, Indian grass, switchgrass) to create comfy, inviting habitat for predatory ground beetles, which are one of the most effective insect predators of Japanese beetles. Planting these native grasses (which we sourced from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum) near your growing area is a relatively cost-effective, quick, and aesthetically pleasing way to create habitat for all sorts of ground beetles, who are excellent predators of Japanese beetles. We've also noticed several parasitized Japanese beetles, which is indicative of the tachinid fly. These parasitoids absolutely love summer flowering plants, and we've found buckwheat to be particularly effective at drawing them into a production area.
Here's hoping your Japanese beetle problems abate soon!
- Aaron French | Urban Farm Manager
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