Japanese beetles start to invade our yards around late June and mid-July, so right now we’re in the peak of Japanese beetles.

We invited the expert from the Denver Botanic Gardens to share some tips on how to detect if you have Japanese beetles and ways to control them from taking over.

Mario Bertelmann is the Assistant Curator of Shade Gardens and he says that the easiest way to detect that you have them in your yard is to take a look at your leaves. They tend to feed on the leaves, flowers and fruits of many different plants. Their preferred plants include rose, grape, linden, apple, crabapple, cherry, plum and related trees, birch, elm, raspberry, currant, basil, Virginia creeper, hollyhock, marigold, corn silks and soybean.

The beetles will skeletonize the leaves by feeding on the leaves between the veins giving it a lace-like appearance.

Bertelmann says there are ways to control them without chemicals, he says it’s as simple as picking them off the leaves in the morning or late afternoon when they’re at rest and put them in a soapy water solution. Another deterrent is to plant geraniums. Within 30mins of consuming a geranium petals, the beetle rolls over on its back and are knocked our for 24 hours, which makes it easy to remove.