Protect Your Gardens From The Japanese Beetle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Here in Minnesota, gardeners often only have about five months to showcase their hard work. Now, an intruder may be taking away some of that glory from those with the green thumbs.

It’s called the Japanese Beetle. And while it’s not necessarily new to Minnesota, several experts say for the last few weeks the bugs have been out in force.

“They’ve been slowly making their way west, and we have them here now,” said Jeremy Mickelson.

Ready or not, get ready for the attack of the Japanese Beetle, also known as “mean ladybugs.”

“A little more aggressive than a little ladybug,” Mickelson said. “Anything they can get on they go and they attack it pretty aggressively.”

Their entree of choice? Roses. A fact that’s evident by taking just one look at the flower buds liming Lake Harriet’s Rose Gardens.

“This year is really bad. In the three years I’ve been here, this is the worst I’ve seen it here,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson is a rose gardener and has spent the majority of his time the last few weeks, pruning.

“They’ll do this damage, and then they’ll skeletonize the entire plant,” he said. “We do apply a pesticide. We don’t like to apply anything that’s too harsh because we’re close to the lake and water sources.”

As far as what home gardeners can do to remedy their plants, Settergren’s Hardware Store said there are products that work. But they’re already going fast.

“It flies off the shelf,” said Bob Knaak. “I just got a shipment in today. I’ve got a list of people waiting for them.”

From preventative solutions to sprays that treat, the good news is, the damage is repairable and their feeding cycle only lasts about two to three weeks.

“Before you know it, the roses will be back blooming, and it will be a fantastic place again,” Mickelson said, with a laugh.

Good ol’ fashioned bug spray is also said to kill the bugs instantly. The most popular remedy is the beetle trap bag — a bag hung 30 feet from the tree that acts as a magnet for the bugs. And the best part? It starts working within a few hours.


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