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Old August 12, 2018   #1
greenthumbomaha
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Default Have Japanese Beetles Mutated? They Are Eating My Tomatoes!

They ruined my rose bushes when I lived in New Jersey. C'est la vie, I left them behind and moved to Omaha 20 years ago.


Well two years ago they appeared here, and now the population is exploding in this part of the state. They chowed down on the usual leaf buffet this and last summer: linden tree, rose bushes and cherry trees, etc. They always seem to be mating too!



Just this weekend they have moved on to things that "I" like to eat : cherry tomatoes (sadly the Esternia F1 is hit hard, my favorite), basil, and my peaches! Not just the leaves, but the good stuff!!!



What are you experiencing with these horrid creatures and how are you coping with the damage or preventative measures to be had?


- Lisa
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Old August 12, 2018   #2
AlittleSalt
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We had a lot of Japanese Green Beetles a in 2014. They did eat on the tomato plants and tomatoes - along with seemingly everything else. One of the places I would see them in groups was the underside of lumber and fallen tree branches. I don't know if you have the green ones or not? But for me being able to find them in groups made it easier to lessen the herd so-to-speak. I squashed them, and haven't seen many of them since that year.

2014 was a drought year. I don't know if that had anything to do with their population or not? The next year was our wettest year on record by far, and that might have had some to do with their decline.
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Old August 12, 2018   #3
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Last year I learned how destructive they could be after they completely skelotonized my grapes. This year I have been spraying with sevin at the first sighting of bugs, which seems to be about every 5-7 days. So far so good. I can't imagine what I would have left if I hadn't been spraying.
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Old August 13, 2018   #4
greenthumbomaha
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k3vin, remind me what part of Nebraska you live in. My grapes had the same fate, but they are sadly a minor crop for me. Are you a market grower?



The beetles won't migrate to the western part of the state because it is too arid for them to survive in the soil over the winter. I keep sevin on hand for squash bugs, but I started a new bed so escaped the worst.



I don't know if the reproductive mechanism is fully understood in my area. Salt, yes a dry year may kill the grubs, or at least reduce their numbers, in theory at least. The extension got our hopes up for a decent year, but it was actually worse than last year. Hmmm...


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Old August 13, 2018   #5
carolyn137
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What do Japanese Beetles eat and drink.


https://www.google.com/search?q=what...&bih=815&dpr=1

Have a Look.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&....0.MS6PV36HKq8

Carolyn
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Old August 13, 2018   #6
Salsacharley
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I've had a heavy year of Japanese Beetles, too. I think they overwintered in my compost pile. Every day in July they would fly out of the compost pile. They haven't eaten my tomatoes or peppers...they left them for the grasshoppers and horn worms. They preferred the peaches. I had so many peaches I didn't mind letting them have some, but I'm afraid it might encourage them to return. They didn't bother my Concord grapes. I hit them with a flat shovel and they are so armored that they still would fly away.
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Old August 15, 2018   #7
MissS
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Japanese beetles are a real pain here. They died back the year after the drought but are back with a vengeance. The larvae live in your lawn as grubs and feed on the roots of grasses. These are what cause the brown patches that you see all over your lawn. You can treat your lawn with an insecticide specific for grubs or you can use the organic Milky Spore which is pricey but acts for 10 years.
I like to use a citrus spray to deter the darn things from my plants. I boil the peels of citrus fruits until the skins are soft, cool then strain into a spray bottle. Spray the foliage of the plants that the bugs are eating. They do not like the citrus oil and will fly off somewhere else to dine. You can use orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit peels for this. My best results seem to be with the grapefruit.
The drawback is that it needs to be reapplied after every rain. Give it a try. It works.
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Old August 15, 2018   #8
brownrexx
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They don't seem to eat my tomato plants but they definitely do like my bean leaves.
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Old August 15, 2018   #9
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I had two bouts with them in the early part of the spring; they would eat through a tomato. At first I would crush them and toss the tomato, but then found if I left the tomatoes on the plant more would eat the same tomato. I found 28 in one cherry tomato.

They for the most part left the SunGolds and Esterina's alone and went for the red and dark colored cherry tomatoes. If they attacked a large tomato, I learned to leave it also.

It seemed like the tomato's made them drunk; they were so easy to crush and kill.

Then they were gone and I never sprayed them.
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Old August 18, 2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
I like to use a citrus spray to deter the darn things from my plants. I boil the peels of citrus fruits until the skins are soft, cool then strain into a spray bottle. Spray the foliage of the plants that the bugs are eating. They do not like the citrus oil and will fly off somewhere else to dine. You can use orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit peels for this. My best results seem to be with the grapefruit.
What is your ratio of peels to water? Enough to cover or more? A friend of mine lives in Richland Center and her blackberries are absolutely covered in JBs. She's been battling them in her garden all summer.
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Old August 18, 2018   #11
brownrexx
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I have a small cup of plain water (no soap) and I walk along the beans and knock the beetles into the water. They especially like my rhubarb leaves so I collect a lot there. I am done eating rhubarb for the season so it is not a big loss there.

I do this every day during July for 15 minutes or so and that keeps them from getting too bad in my garden. After collecting them I dump the cup of beetles into my chicken's water bowl and they go nuts eating them. Apparently they are a big treat.
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Old August 18, 2018   #12
wildcat62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownrexx View Post
I have a small cup of plain water (no soap) and I walk along the beans and knock the beetles into the water. They especially like my rhubarb leaves so I collect a lot there. I am done eating rhubarb for the season so it is not a big loss there.

I do this every day during July for 15 minutes or so and that keeps them from getting too bad in my garden. After collecting them I dump the cup of beetles into my chicken's water bowl and they go nuts eating them. Apparently they are a big treat.
I can see those chickens now.
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Old August 18, 2018   #13
brownrexx
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Oh yes, it's a mad dash to the bowl and they fight over the beetles. I only wish that they could get them off of the plants themselves but they are too short!
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Old August 19, 2018   #14
SueCT
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I have some JB, but the asiatic garden beetles are my nemesis. But at least they don't eat my tomatoes!
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Old August 20, 2018   #15
JRinPA
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We have a few oriental beetles (asiatics? gold/brown with black markings) but far more japanese beetles. I have never seen them on tomatoes. I thought they were nationwide for half a century now.

Roses
Rhubarb

Squash
Beans
Eggplant
Okra

I'm sure some others but that's what comes to mind.

Sevin dust on squash leaves kills them dead by the score but did not kill the squash bugs at all. A cup of water, or better yet one of these ever shrinking plastic coffee cans with a notch cut into, and a little soap is the way I prefer to kill them. I don't really mind japanese beetles since they are easy enough to kill. The squash trio and bean beetles are much more worrisome, here. And now the lantern flies, of course.


Maybe plant some sacrificial pole beans to keep them off the tomatoes and easy to drown in soap? Purple beans seem to attract them the most.

Last edited by JRinPA; August 20, 2018 at 12:31 AM.
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