Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) are a small fingernail-sized irridesent green and broze insect. They are highly invasive in North America and are a serious pest to many plants including roses, cannas, beans, berries, grapes, birch, basil, zinnias, and many more.
In Japan and thier native regions, the beetles are controled by other native predetors but where they are invasive, there is virturally no natural ecological control.
However it is possible to control and collect the beetles using pheremone traps that can be purchased at any hardware or garden center. The most important thing to remember about the pheremone traps is to place them AWAY from your garden areas. If you put the trap right in the middle of the infestation, it will only draw more into that area. When placed at a distance from the plant you need to protect, it will draw them away instead.
At our farm we collected 10’s of thousands of these beetles in a week. Instead of just pitching them out we decided to dry them, and grind them into a high-protein meal for our chickens and quail over winter.
The process is simple but can be relatively stinky, so keep in mind neighboors that might be offended by the smell.
Here is what to do:
1. Collect as many Japanese Beetles as possible, using pheremone traps.
2. Early in the morning, when the beetles are slow, empty the trap bag into a five gallon bucket, half full with water. Place a plate or something heavy over the floating beetles, holding them under the water. Place a lid on the bucket.
3. Wait an hour or two then check to make sure they are all dead.
4. Drain the water out of the bucket (this is a very stinky part, so pour the water out AWAY from where you hang out).
5. Spread the dead beetles out on an old screen, tray or tarp to dry the beetles. If you have two screens of equal size, place the second screen on top to keep the flies out.
6. Place the drying beetles in the full sun for one day.
7. Grind or crush the dead beetles and store in airtight bags or containers for treats for you birds.
For local food for humans check out Pick-A-Pepper.com!
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