Japanese Beetle (Lawn)

Popilia japonica

The Japanese beetle, Popilia japonica, is native to Japan, but was first found in New Jersey in 1916. Common in every state east of the Mississippi, these insects have spread as far west as California. Japanese beetles attack over 400 different species of plants including trees and shrubs. They spend much of their life in the soil underneath turf as grubs where they feed on roots in your lawn. In large numbers, Japanese beetles can kill turf grass.

Download Japanese Beetle (Lawn) Fact Sheet

Treatment Strategy

Do not use Japanese beetle traps!! Japanese beetle traps actually attract them from other areas, making the population in your yard higher, but once they are present they prefer their food source to the pheromones in the traps.

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Japanese Beetle (Lawn) Treatment Option 1

The purpose of treatment for Japanese beetles is to evenly spray the turf with a systemic insecticide called Optrol ™. The Optrol™ will move into the turf and kill the larvae when it feeds.

Treatments should be applied to the lawn in the month of August when grubs are actively feeding and small enough to be effectively controlled.

Japanese Beetle (Lawn) DIY Kit

Application Method – Turf spray

DIY Equipment/ Product Needed:

Optrol ™

• Hose end sprayer

• Gloves

• Closed toed shoes

How Is It Spread?

The larvae overwinter in the soil at a depth of 4-8 inches. Adults emerge over a 3-4 week period during late June through August. After mating and feeding on leaf tissue for a couple days, the females lay 1- 5 eggs into the soil and return to the tree to start the feeding, mating, and egg laying cycle over again. The females will lay about 40-60 by the end of these cycles. Japanese beetle eggs hatch in 8-14 days and the larvae feed on roots and organic material before overwintering.

Susceptible Trees

Lawn turf

Symptoms

In lawns, Japanese beetle larvae feed on roots, causing drought-like symptoms, most visible in the fall. Large patches of grass turn brown and die. Birds (especially geese) and rodents tear up the grass attempting to get to the grubs. Removing several one foot squares of sod can reveal the population of grubs feeding on the turf.

Lookalikes

Drought

Related/Similar Problems

None

Timing

Fall

Urgency

Moderate

Risk of Spreading

High

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