About 8 year ago my next door neighbor decided that he was going to put in an automatic sprinkler system to keep his lawn nice and green all summer long. While I am okay with how his property looks, I am less than thrilled with the Japanese water beetles that decided to take up refuge in his underground pipes.
These Bugs Are Ruthless
I started to notice the leaves to our rose bushes had been chewed on. It looked as if something had eaten the leaf but left the leaf veins. It was almost as if the leaves had turned into lace, or so my wife says. The next thing I noticed was a bunch of flying insects which were small and looked translucent in color. I went online and sure enough…
Yes, they were Japanese water beetles.
My wife and I wanted to find an environmentally friendly solution to this issue. We did not want to introduce any chemicals into our property. We try to steer clear of any pesticides and chemicals whenever possible because our grandchildren and dogs wander our property.
I talked with some of my neighbors who were having the same issues we were. That is when one of them told me something that worked for him and kept most of those pests off his lettuce.
Japanese Water Beetles HATE Soap
These bugs simply will not feed on plants that have been sprayed down with some simple dish washing soap and water. He said that the soap doesn’t harm his lettuce crop or his rose bushes. So, we set off on a mission to spray down the entire property with soapy water. It took the better part of an afternoon but the grandkids loved getting into the fun.
Bottom line – It works, but it’s not perfect
It doesn’t kill the bugs, but it does deter most them from chewing the leaves. That is, until the rain came and washed the soap off the leaves. Once that happened the beetles were back in full force. So, every week or two we spray down our garden and it has helped tremendously.