The most unpleasant surprise of relocating to Newtown, PA was finding out that the area of town where we live is infested with Japanese Beetles. According to the Japanese Beetle information from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, these beetles:
- are not native to the United States,
- were first found in a nursery in southern New Jersey 80 years ago,
- have spread into at least 22 states, and
- are "a serious plant pest and a threat to American agriculture".
The beetles started swarming about 10 days ago. I wanted to buy some Japanese Beetle Traps at one of the local home and garden stores, but most places in our area were sold out by the time I got there.
The design of these traps is ingenious. It uses two different attractants: an artificial floral lure that attracts female beetles and a pheromone lure that attracts males. The males and females fly up to their respective attractants and most are unable to avoid falling into the collection bag. The result is that the beetles are caught and typically die trying to escape.
When I finally got some Japanese Beetle traps and they were amazingly effective. Each trap collected hundreds of male and female beetles and held them in the plastic bag underneath the bait.
The next problem was how to dispose of the dead and dying beetles snared by the trap. The easiest thing to do is to put the collection bag into a larger plastic bag, tie the top of the larger plastic bag, place the larger plastic bag in the garbage can, and replace the collection bag. This is easier said than done if you try to do it during periods of strong sunlight. Japanese Beetles seem to swarm most intensely when it's hot and sunny outside.
So far, we've filled six collection bags with two traps in our backyard. That's a lot of beetles to capture in 10 days. I hope that the number of adult beetles flying around our neighborhood begins to fall as we reach the end of July. June and July are supposedly the peak period for adult Japanese Beetle activity, assuming that weather conditions are favorable.
In any case, the Japanese Beetle traps we are using have limited the amount of damage that is being done to our trees and bushes. The traps work without employing any pesticide. I recommend them highly if you have a Japanese Beetle infestation like we do.