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Here's what to do about the beetles

July 16, 1997

Tri-State area extension agents had some tips for controlling Japanese beetles:

- Don't use traps. Although some people swear by them, extension agents say the traps actually lure more beetles to your yard. The traps catch the males, but leave the females free to lay eggs in your yard, setting the stage for a problem the following year.

- Cover small trees or shrubs, especially young ones, with cheescloth or some other type of netting.

- Spray or dust with pesticides such as Orthene, Sevin and Methoxychlor. Make sure you follow the directions on the label. The pesticides shouldn't be used on blooms or some ornamentals. Spraying on a hot day could burn the leaves.

- If you don't like to use chemicals, use an organic pesticide like Rotenone. One drawback: it must be applied about every other day.

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- Go out early in the morning when the beetles are dormant and gently shake them off your plants and into a pail of soapy water. Insecticidal soap can be found in gardening stores.

- Don't water your lawn. Instead, let your lawn go dormant in the summer, a step that will hamper beetle eggs from hatching.

- In the fall, apply milky spore or beneficial Nematodes to your lawn. These organic substances will kill any beetle grubs that have hatched.

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