In the Garden: How to combat Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles have arrived in Madison County. The OSU Extension Office in Madison County reports that Japanese beetle infestations are high in local areas and, as with most years, these localized infestations will continue through July and August.

One method of deterring the beetle is to pick off and destroy early arrivers. This method prevents scouts from attracting others. For best results, try swatting the beetles into a container of soapy water in the early morning or late evening when they are less active.

There are several traps on the market, but their effectiveness is limited. Trapping can reduce populations only when landscapes are isolated from other Japanese beetle breeding areas or when mass trapping (everyone in the neighborhood) is used. Otherwise, the traps tend to attract more beetles into the area than would normally be present.

Plants effected by beetle damage can be sprayed with insecticides, including acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), and several pyrethroids—bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, and others. Be sure to read the label for application instructions.

OSU Extension encourages gardeners to be cautious and sparing in their use of these insecticides, because they kill beneficial insects like pollinating bees and aphid-eating lady beetles. Japanese beetles are a part of the Ohio environ-ment; sometimes it is better to learn to live with pests like the beetle than to continu-ally spray pesticides on a problem that will not go away.

Storm Damage

Gardeners and arborists are cutting up fallen trees and damaged branches as strong winds and lightning have wreaked havoc on trees countywide. Madison Garden Center reports selling 12 Stihl chainsaws in the past two weeks—no doubt, a result of the storm damage.

In the wake of the storm damage, the Arbor Day Foundation offers tips for tree first aid at  You will find instructions for pruning broken branches, repairing torn bark and hiring a professional arborist.

Upcoming Events

Master Gardener Field Day, OSU’s Waterman Farm, 2490 Carmack Rd., Columbus, July 20, noon to 3 p.m.

Teresa Woodard is a volunteer with the Madison County Master Gardeners. Questions and gardening news items are welcomed at 740-852-0809 or

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