After a rainy spring, protect your gardens and trees from Japanese beetles

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A “Beetle Invasion” might be happening in your garden.

Japanese beetles, an invasive species in the U.S., is a pest to many species of plants.

Western New York’s wet, rainy spring prevented oxygen from getting to the roots of many trees, leaving them susceptible to attacks from Japanese beetles and other pests, Tom Anderson, a certified arborist with the Davey Tree Expert Company, said. 

“The Japanese beetle populations have been very high- that’s typical for just about every year,” Anderson said. “They have a wide range of plants they feed on, and landscapers and gardeners see the damage that they cause as they chew through the plant material.”

Ornamental roses are a favorite snack of the beetles, as are birch trees.

The beetles chew through their leaves, leaving them “skeletonized”.

They’re fairly large and easy to spot.

Anderson said the best thing to do if you have a light infestation of Japanese beetles is to pick them off of the plant and put them into a warm, soapy solution, which kills them.

Environmentally-friendly products such as Neem Oil also work, Anderson said.

A common misconception is that placing traps in the landscape will stop a Japanese beetle infestation.

“The traps can attract more beetles, and the beetles attract beetles,” Anderson said.

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