There seems to be a wide variety of opinions when it comes to how to eradicate Japanese beetles. Every time I read an article advice varies and is conflicting. This debate was readily apparent in a series of stories in our local paper the State Journal Register. Unfortunately even when using exact titles for search terms I can’t come across this useful content on their website. From my perspective I can say the Japanese beetle problem is still effecting our neighborhood. Our landlord had our lawn and trees treated with chemicals to combat them. Late last year some type of grub control product was placed on the lawn as well. Milky Spore is a solution I have brought up several times. But this was originally shot down do to cost. Although looking online right now pricing doesn’t seem to be to outrageous. Especially when considering the cost of replacing trees. Milky Spore when it works is suppose to be a long term solution to the Japanese beetle infestation. But this is where some of the debate starts.
Some lawn care professionals and experts discount the effectiveness of Milky Spore. While others seem to swear by it. One person being interviewed by SJR recently stated this was the best time of year to apply Milky Spore. Tips that I included in my original Japanese beetle have been mentioned as well. I’m still not sure anything that has been done in our neighborhood has worked at this point. Our trees really took a beating again this year. I’d of course prefer some natural method to eradicate the problem. But from what I can see none exist. In my opinion Milky Spore isn’t really natural since it was developed by the USDA as a biological control. However I would prefer to use the Milky Spore because it sounds like it would be most effective when it does work. Also this method seems less harmful to the environment and those who inhabit our neighborhood. Unfortunately everyone still seems sold on using pesticides.
Below is the original article I did in the summer of 2007 on the subject. This shows that we have been dealing with the issue for several years now. Various solutions have been tried. Again depending on who you talk to or what story you read advice varies greatly. I’ll link to some State Journal Register articles I found interesting. Keep in mind those links may go dead at any time. I’m tempted to photograph the newspaper articles I have next to me so that the content will be here to help readers with this problem.
Milky Spore Safely Kills Japanese Beetle Grubs Produced to USDA standards, Milky Spore is the safest material ever developed for control over the larvae (grubs) of Japanese Beetles. Milky Spore is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium (Bacillus popillae-Dutky) that targets and discriminately works to attack the white grubs of Japanese Beetles as they feed on the roots of grass and other vegetation in your yard Milky Spore is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets or man. The product is approved and registered with EPA. Milky Spore will not affect wells, ponds or streams. Coverage Area Simply apply one teaspoon of Milky Spore every 4 feet, in rows 4 feet apart. 40 Oz can treats 10,000 sq. ft. (1 acre=43,560 sq. ft). For easy application, use our Milky Spore Dispenser Tube (sold separately).
Get rid of Japanese Beetle Grubs! Milky Spore, when established in the lawn, will do the trick. Each beetle can lay 50 grubs per summer. Apply the spore in a checkerboard pattern with the dispenser on unfrozen ground to begin a cycle that harmlessly eliminates the grubs.
From the link below.
Option 1: Biological Control – Bacterial Milky Disease
The bacterial milky diseases, Bacillus popilliae Dutky, has been quite effective at controlling the grubs in certain areas of the eastern United States. The spore count must build up for 2 to 3 years to be very effective and during this time you should not use an insecticide against the grubs that are needed to complete the bacterium cycle. In Ohio and Kentucky, test trials have not produced satisfactory results. Additional experiments are needed to determine the lack of efficacy of milky disease in these soils.