Some organic gardeners swear that baby powder is a great tool to get Japanese beetles pests out of your garden. Is this true? Find out if baby powder really help eliminate these pests from the garden?
Baby Powder as a Method of Japanese Beetle Control
Gardeners have tried all sorts of things to get rid of Japanese beetles, from avoiding planting the plants they like to eat (which is really difficult) to using bait sacks to trap the insects.
Some people say that baby powder and Japanese beetles don't mix. The theory is that the powder, when sprinkled on the leaves of attractive plants, makes them less desirable. It probably affects the taste as well as the smell of the leaves.
If you want to try it, buy the cheapest baby powder you can find and sprinkle it liberally on the plants that are being damaged. You'll probably want to limit this to your vegetable and flower gardens and let your trees go, since it's not really possible (and would be quite expensive) to keep all the leaves on your maple tree covered with baby powder throughout the season. Trees won't be killed by Japanese beetles, they'll just have unattractive leaves for the season.
Remember to reapply the powder after rain, and use a drip irrigation system so that your sprinkler does not wash off the powder.
Other Remedies for Japanese Beetles
The baby powder and Japanese beetles combination may not work for you, or you might want to try other non-chemical means of getting rid of these pesky insects.
Many different remedies have been tried through the years, and here are some of the most popular:
- Garlic powder: Combine garlic powder with baby oil (about two tablespoons of powder per bottle of oil) and spray this on the leaves of your plants. Like the baby powder, this changes the way the plants smell and taste and makes them unpalatable to the bugs. You can also do this with dishwashing soap
- Apple cider vinegar: Mix up equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a bucket. Knock the beetles off the plants and into the bucket. The acid will kill them.
- Cayenne pepper: For the same reason as the garlic powder, you can mix cayenne pepper and/or hot pepper sauce with water and a little dishwashing soap to spray on plants.
- Companion plants: Try planting garlic or chives around the plants that Japanese beetles particularly go for. This may keep them away.
- Suck it up: If you need to remove beetles that have already taken up residence in your garden, suck them up with a handheld vacuum cleaner and dispose of them.
Protect Your Garden
Japanese beetles are a big problem in much of the United States, but with some advanced planning and a few good eradication strategies you can make sure your plants are protected.