Japanese beetle problems?

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ChuckD

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The past few days I have been noticing a little feeding damage (skelotenizing) on the leaves of my newly planted vines. The grapes are just emerging from the grow tubes and today I found a Japanese Beetle 🤬. I have never had a big problem with them. I see a few in the garden and the damage has always been minor. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I have heavy soil or that I’m in the middle of nowhere, but they have never been an issue.

How much do I have to worry about this? Do they spread other diseases? Should I pull the tubes off so I can remove them? So far the vines have done well with my benign neglect and I want to keep it that way.
 
They will completely defoliate your young vines. I hadn't had a problem for years on my Concords but when I got the wine grapes in the ground, they came for miles. Last year was heavy but this year was Biblical proportions. Once you have mature vines, if you shake the canopy and clouds fly off, you have to spray. The beetles were hitting me in the face as I sprayed. A good dosing with Sevin on July 4, (the garden mixture of zeta cypermethrin) knocked them back. I had a few last week but the hoards are gone. (I hopep

You may need to pull the grow tubes if you see much damage and either hand pick or spray with Sevin. Hand picking is good for small numbers, Just drop them in a bucket of soapy water. I carry a bottle of soapy water and toss them in as I go through the vines. Get those copulating pairs!!
 
As @VinesnBines said japanese beetle will remove all photosynthetic tissue.
You are in Wisconsin so expect them. They have a life cycle which starts as soil grubs then pop out this time of year to mate and lay eggs. IT WILL GET WORSE NEXT YEAR!

I tried organic milky spore but that was useless. Organic chickens work or sending a grand kid out to collect bugs to feed the chickens.
 
This morning I saw one and it fell into the tube so I removed the tube and this is what it looked like
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I did find that bastard beetle and fertilized the vine with his bloated carcass!

If this is the worst I wouldn’t worry but I can’t stand the thought of them taking up residence in my climate controlled JB hotels so I’m going to pull all the grow tubes tonight.
 
I second hand picking into soapy water if that's logistically possible, that's what we do with both the Japanese Beetles and their cousin Rose Chafer Beetles, but that's because we are trying to stay pesticide free at our place. However, I will add that our local orchard expert gave us a great recipe for a diatomaceous earth slurry to use in a sprayer for our apple trees (aka: places where we can't reach to hand pick). I am willing to bet (as in I'll be doing this next year with our grapes) that it would be equally as effective on grape vines and fruit without being toxic to anything important- we've been using this on all our tree fruit for 5 years to with great success.

The recipe 3 cups of DE to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer. Its about as thick as you can go while still being able to spray it in a sprayer. The the DE will slowly drop out of solution, so you'll want to shake your mix periodically as you are going. BUT, coat all the leaves with it, top and bottom, it won't inhibit photosynthesis, just lightly coat the leaves with the DE and it will persist through a couple of rain storms before a reapplication is needed. Once it dries, you'll see a whitish haze over the leaves and fruit, but not to worry- That's what you want! When the bugs go to eat the leaves, the DE will enter their system and those DE crystals will cut up their insides and they'll dehydrate and die. You won't see instant death, but they will die and you'll see a lot less damage to your leaves and fruit.

Again, we've been using this on our apple, cherry, plum, and pear trees for years to great effect. The damage from the beetles has been cut by 80-90% as compared to the years before we started using it.

Milky spore can be good, but its a long term and slow moving solution. Its expensive to treat large areas and for us in Northern WI there's mixed evidence of its ability to persist annually through winter. If you want to be organic-ish, I'd try the DE solution since its cheap and non-toxic to animals and humans. But that's just me. I hate Sevin- scares the crap out of me and it kills bees!

Good luck!
 
I've used the soapy water method with great results for the past several years. One trick I use, after noticing that they tend to tumble towards the ground before taking flight, is to position a tray with soapy water directly under a leaf where some of them are feasting or hanging out (or doing whatever...) and just tap the leaf. Plop.. they fall right in and cannot escape. For larger infestations, spraying is the more likely remedy. I can usually get about 80 to 90% or more of them using my method.
 
Dennis Griffith should be chiming in. He has been at war with the Japanese Beetles. I hated to resort to Sevin but given the choice between losing my young vines and near defoliation of the rest, the choice was simple. Finding enough Sevin in mid summer was the trick. I thin I have enough for the rest of the year...though I was still finding them on September 30 last year. I sprayed again for them last week but that may be the last for the year...I hope. When the swarms were the worst, I used a hand sprayer to kill the most in the early morning. Then added the Sevin to the tank spray the next day. I didn't see any live ones after the tank spray.
 
I’m seeing about one third of what I saw last year. If left alone they can really do a number on your plants. I hand pick in the evening when they are slower and easy to knock into a bucket. It’s a good time to leaf pluck and check for any other pests, but then I’ve only got 70 vines to check.
 
I really think or hope there is a cycle. If I can knock out the huge population, I will reduce the future populations. This worked 30 years ago; I hope it works again....even though Sevin worked, I really hate resorting to chemical insecticides.

I find it satisfying to wander through the vines and knock cold beetles into a cup or bucket. I wish soapy water worked on all the pests...see my thread on the super racoon. If only a dowsing in soapy water made him go away.
 
I applied milky spore to the area around the vines last year and this year I saw only a very few. I even looked over the wild grapes that grow in the area and didn't see any bugs or leaf damage. However, I did give my vines a thorough spray with sevin, just in case.
 
We have Japanese beetles chew the heck out crepe myrtles and roses -- I set out traps (bag with bait), and capture bags of beetles. Biblical proportion sounds right!

Do NOT set traps near the plants you are protecting, as the bait attracts bugs. I set them up as far as I could, and it helped a lot.

Change the bags frequently -- when they die they start to rot immediately (well in NC summer they do) and the reek is amazing (not in a good way).
 
I second hand picking into soapy water if that's logistically possible, that's what we do with both the Japanese Beetles and their cousin Rose Chafer Beetles, but that's because we are trying to stay pesticide free at our place. However, I will add that our local orchard expert gave us a great recipe for a diatomaceous earth slurry to use in a sprayer for our apple trees (aka: places where we can't reach to hand pick). I am willing to bet (as in I'll be doing this next year with our grapes) that it would be equally as effective on grape vines and fruit without being toxic to anything important- we've been using this on all our tree fruit for 5 years to with great success.

The recipe 3 cups of DE to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer. Its about as thick as you can go while still being able to spray it in a sprayer. The the DE will slowly drop out of solution, so you'll want to shake your mix periodically as you are going. BUT, coat all the leaves with it, top and bottom, it won't inhibit photosynthesis, just lightly coat the leaves with the DE and it will persist through a couple of rain storms before a reapplication is needed. Once it dries, you'll see a whitish haze over the leaves and fruit, but not to worry- That's what you want! When the bugs go to eat the leaves, the DE will enter their system and those DE crystals will cut up their insides and they'll dehydrate and die. You won't see instant death, but they will die and you'll see a lot less damage to your leaves and fruit.

Again, we've been using this on our apple, cherry, plum, and pear trees for years to great effect. The damage from the beetles has been cut by 80-90% as compared to the years before we started using it.

Milky spore can be good, but its a long term and slow moving solution. Its expensive to treat large areas and for us in Northern WI there's mixed evidence of its ability to persist annually through winter. If you want to be organic-ish, I'd try the DE solution since its cheap and non-toxic to animals and humans. But that's just me. I hate Sevin- scares the crap out of me and it kills bees!

Good luck!
This is great! I have a number of young fruit trees surrounding my bee hives. So this DE approach is something I will definitely try.
 
So, new problem.

We pulled the tubes off yesterday and tied up the vines that weren’t tall enough to have latched onto the stake. Of course today we had hot dry winds gusting over 30mph. I got home to find half the vines ripped free of the stakes, a few broken stems and leaves, and many wilting plants (it has been rather dry here) 🤬. My wife spent the afternoon tying them back up while I watered deeply. I hope my poor hothouse babies survive their rude introduction to the real world 😬
 
They've been here for a week, but in small numbers. I thought about setting some traps, but their numbers have been small and I just picked them off by hand. Three things I've done over the years to minimize their impact:
1. When I do use pesticide, I use liquid Sevin from Garden Tech. This is the one that is NOT Carbaryl based. It seems to be especially effective on them here.
2. I set traps out and away from the vineyard. Not all folks can do this, but I have 56 acres, so there's a little room. The idea is to draw them away from the grapes. Don't let them stop for a snack on the way to the promise of sex.
3. I have treated large areas with milky spore. Not only does it minimize the numbers or JBs and June bugs, but the moles have moved to other areas too. I do have moles starting to show in our orchard, so it's time to renew the treatment.

I used to have JBs show up by the bus load. Now their numbers now are small. Check out the image below. I had to change the bags on traps daily back when the issue was bad.

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So, new problem.

We pulled the tubes off yesterday and tied up the vines that weren’t tall enough to have latched onto the stake. Of course today we had hot dry winds gusting over 30mph. I got home to find half the vines ripped free of the stakes, a few broken stems and leaves, and many wilting plants (it has been rather dry here) 🤬. My wife spent the afternoon tying them back up while I watered deeply. I hope my poor hothouse babies survive their rude introduction to the real world 😬
My first vines in 2019 survived a month of no rain. We did not have a drop from the end of August to October. I had watered early in the Spring but took up the drip line in mid summer. We ended up hand watering and replacing the dripline at the end of September. The vines survived.

2021 was a really dry year (about 1/2 inch of rain a week). I decided I was not going to water anything, including the first year vines. I may have lost one or two out of 265 new vines. Most of those vines are still small (2022) so I'm treating them like first year vines. I'm heartened by the knowledge that the 2021 vines should have roots that reach the Earth's inner core.

Water deeply but not too often. The vines will look wretched for a couple days after the grow tubes come off but they will pop back soon.
They've been here for a week, but in small numbers. I thought about setting some traps, but their numbers have been small and I just picked them off by hand. Three things I've done over the years to minimize their impact:
1. When I do use pesticide, I use liquid Sevin from Garden Tech. This is the one that is NOT Carbaryl based. It seems to be especially effective on them here.
2. I set traps out and away from the vineyard. Not all folks can do this, but I have 56 acres, so there's a little room. The idea is to draw them away from the grapes. Don't let them stop for a snack on the way to the promise of sex.
3. I have treated large areas with milky spore. Not only does it minimize the numbers or JBs and June bugs, but the moles have moved to other areas too. I do have moles starting to show in our orchard, so it's time to renew the treatment.

I used to have JBs show up by the bus load. Now their numbers new are small. Check out the image below. I had the change the bags on traps daily back when the issue was bad.

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I knew Dennis would be here soon! He's my JB expert.
 
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