Japanese Beetle Natural Control Methods & Homemade Repellents

Japanese Beetles are a common garden pest that is responsible for the destruction of several types of flowering plants. They can chew up the leaves, leaving behind only the skeleton-like structure, which can cause the tree to die.

They are also a nuisance since they fly around the garden, and they often land inside the house as well. Once they start to re-produce, it becomes virtually impossible to get rid of them from your garden as well.

No one really wants to have these insects in their garden. If you are wondering how to get rid of japanese beetles naturally, read on to learn more about the natural ways to get rid of these beetles and also to prevent them as well. 

How to Get rid of Japanese Beetles Naturally?

Below are 10 effective natural ways to get rid of Japanese Beetles, explained step by step process in detail.

These methods include homemade japanese beetle traps, homemade japanese beetle killer, homemade japanese beetle spray, natural japanese beetle repellent, and several other natural & home remedies for japanese beetles.

1. Knock them into a bucket of water

This is the most common way to get rid of Japanese beetles. Although it is a bit tedious, it is quite effective and you can actually eradicate the beetle population in a short time.

Some people dislike using their hands to catch the beetles, so you may use a stick instead for that purpose. 

Required Items:

  • A bucket 
  • Dish Soap
  • Gloves 
  • A stick (optional)

Step by Step Process:

  • Wear a pair of gloves before you start picking the beetles. 
  • Take a bucket and fill half of it with water. 
  • Add a few teaspoons of dish soap in the water, until it starts becoming somewhat foamy. 
  • Now pick the bugs off of the plants and drop them into the bucket. The best time to do this is early evening, at around 6 or 7 PM. 
  • If you are squeamish, you can use a stick to knock them into the bucket instead. 
  • The bugs will drown in the soapy water and they will die soon after. 
  • You can discard the bugs later on. 


This method requires a lot of time and it could even take multiple days to clear out your entire garden.

2. Use dead Beetles

The dead beetles from the last method can actually be used as a way to deter the other beetles.

Dead beetles have a certain smell to them that will scare away the live beetles, as they will sense that danger is nearby. Some people often crush up the beetles, but it is not necessary for this method to work. 

Required Items:

  • A Bucket 
  • Dish Soap
  • Gloves

Step by Step Process:

  • Mix a few drops of dish soap into half a bucket of water. 
  • Use sticks or gloved hands to knock down the beetles from plants and allow them to die in the bucket. 
  • The next day, you can take out the dead beetles and lay them around your garden, especially in the areas that have the most beetles. 
  • If you want it to be more effective, use a rock to smash the beetles before spreading them out. Make sure to wear a pair of gloves while doing this. 
  • The smell of the dead beetle will work as a deterrent for the live ones, and they will stop coming to your garden. 
  • Repeat the process if necessary. 


This is not a great way to control Japanese beetles in a large area. It will only work in smaller gardens. 

3. Homemade japanese beetle killer using Neem Oil

Neem oil is a great insecticide, and it works on Japanese beetles as well. You can get a ready-made spray made with neem oil, or you can use neem oil mixed with water to create a spray.

This is a great method since it will kill the beetles on contact and it can be used on a large area. Neem oil is also safer than most other commercial insecticides. 

Required Items:

Step by Step Process:

  • In a gallon of water, add 3 teaspoons of neem oil and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. 
  • Transfer this mixture into a spraying can or bottle, and shake well. The mixture should foam up.
  • Now spray this mixture on any Japanese beetles that you see in your garden. You have to spray it directly onto them for it to work. 
  • Repeat it for a few days until they are all dead. 


You must directly apply it to the beetles, otherwise, it won’t work. 

4. Vacuum the Beetles

You would need to use a wet/dry vacuum in order to effectively remove the beetles. This is to make sure that you do not accidentally destroy your vacuum.

You should also make sure to remove the contents of the vacuum as soon as possible, otherwise, the dead beetles will start spreading an extremely foul smell. 

Required Items:

Step by Step Process:

  • Take a wet/dry vacuum and set it on the wet setting. 
  • Simply start vacuuming over the leaves of your plants that have been affected by the beetles. 
  • The vacuum will suck up all the beetles, and collect them in the back chamber of the vacuum. Once you have collected most or all of the beetles, you can stop.
  • As soon as you have finished vacuuming the leaves, open the collection chamber and empty the container into a bucket of soapy water. 
  • If any of the beetles were alive, they will die in the soap water. 
  • Discard the container of beetles and soapy water. 


Do not use the dry setting on your wet/dry vacuum, because it may damage your vacuum.

5. Homemade Japanese beetle trap

Generally, traps are not a great idea for small gardens, because they will only attract more Japanese beetles from surrounding areas and cause your garden to continuously have new beetles.

However, if you have a large enough lawn or garden, this can be an effective method to get rid of most of the beetles. You will be able to get rid of at least 75% of beetles from your garden. 

Required Items:

  • Banana 
  • Yeast 
  • Sugar 
  • Water 
  • Empty container
  • Funnel 

Step by Step Process:

  • Mash a banana and add ½ cup of sugar into it. 
  • Add 2 teaspoons of yeast powder into the mixture and then add 2 or three cups of water. 
  • Let this mixture ferment slightly, for about 2 to 3 hours. 
  • Take an empty container, and poke a hole into the lid, large enough to fit in your funnel. 
  • The funnel must have an opening large enough to allow the beetles to enter. Attach the funnel to the lid of the jar and use some hot glue to secure it. 
  • Now pour some of the fermented mixture into the container, filling it about halfway. 
  • Place this trap a bit far away from your garden. This way you will not attract more beetles into your garden. 
  • Japanese beetles will be attracted to the fermenting smell and fall into the jar through the funnel, but due to the small size of the opening, they won’t be able to get back out. 
  • You can discard the beetles after they die after 1 day or so. 


Do not place this trap in the middle or even nearby the garden. That will always attract more beetles into the garden than you began with. 

6. Homemade Japanese beetle spray

If you have a small garden, you can easily make a spray out of some household items that would smother the beetles, making them unable to fly. This is a great method for getting rid of these beetles when they first appear.

This homemade spray will smother these beetles and once they are immobile, they will eventually suffocate and die. These dead beetles will work as a deterrent for other beetles as well. 

Required Items:

Step by Step Process:

  • Take 1 cup of vegetable oil. Add 1 cup of rubbing alcohol to it. Mix about 2 to 3 teaspoons of dish soap to the mixture along with 4 cups of water. 
  • Now mix up all the components thoroughly and pour them into a spraying can. 
  • Mix vigorously before spraying it directly onto the areas affected by the Japanese beetles. You must cover the beetles in the mixture. 
  • This will smother them and suffocate them to death. Once they die, you can gently remove them from the leaves. 
  • Continue this process a few times, until you see that new beetles are not coming into your garden anymore. 


This method will only work when directly sprayed on the beetles. It is not a deterrent. 

7. Cedar Oil

Cedar oil is a great way to deter Japanese beetles from your garden. These beetles rely on their sense of smell to navigate and find other beetles.

However, if you cover the area with cedar oil spray, then they will not e able to navigate and find your garden easily, so they will be deterred. Keep in mind that this is a temporary solution and it will not work for a long time. 

Required Items:

  • Cedar Oil 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Water 
  • Spray Bottle 

Step by Step Process:

  • Mix one part ½ cup of rubbing alcohol with ½ cup of water. Add 20 to 30 drops of cedar oil into the mixture. 
  • Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and shake the mixture vigorously before using. 
  • Spray on all your plants and trees that are vulnerable to Japanese beetles. 
  • The strong cedar smell will keep the beetles away from your plants. 
  • Re-apply as soon as the smell becomes weak, usually after 3 to 4 days. 


This method will work as long as the smell is strong, so do not forget to re-apply as soon as the smell becomes weak. 

8.  Peppermint Oil

Similar to Cedar oil, peppermint oil will also help deter the Japanese beetles. The strong peppermint smell is used to deter many different types of insects and animals.

This is an effective method and is often used in commercial products as well. However, you must re-apply every few days to ensure it is still effective. 

Required Items:

Step by Step Process:

  • Mix ½ cup of water with ½ cup of rubbing alcohol. 
  • Transfer this mixture into a spray bottle. 
  • Add 20 to 30 drops of pure peppermint oil. Shake the mixture to mix the solution up thoroughly. 
  • Spray the solution on your plants, especially focusing on the leaves. 
  • The strong peppermint smell will keep the beetles away from your plants. 
  • Re-apply every 2 to 3 days, or when the smell starts to fade away. 


Make sure to re-apply the solution, otherwise, the smell will fade and the beetles will come back. 

9. Plant Deterrent Plants

These are several plants that Japanese beetles do not like. If you plant those in your garden instead of the plants that are commonly attacked by these beetles, you will start to see a rapid decline in the damage in your garden.

This is a good solution if you don’t mind the types of plants in your garden that grow in your garden.

Required Items:

  •  Catnip, Chives, Marigold, Garlic saplings. 

Step by Step Process:

  • Plant the different types of saplings in your garden at regular intervals. Make sure to place them in between other plants as well if you have any. 
  • Water them and care for them, and allow them to grow in your garden freely. 
  • These plants will keep away the Japanese beetles from your garden. 


Any other plants will still be vulnerable to damage from Japanese beetles, so make sure to use preventative methods as well. 

10. Use a tree cover

Tree covers are not only great for preventing Japanese beetles from destroying your trees, but they are also great for keeping these beetles away from your garden in general.

If the beetles do not get any food, they will not return to your garden for more. However, if you have a lot of smaller plants, this method may be difficult to use, so make sure to use multiple methods in that case. 

Required Items:

Step by Step Process:

  • Buy a few different sizes of tree covers for different types of plants. Use the bigger ones to cover the larger trees. 
  • Use smaller tree covers to cover any bush or shrubs you have. 
  • If you have flowering plants, you can use a chicken net to create a large enough barrier, then use a tree cover over it. 
  • Once you have covered all your plants, use the drawstrings at the bottom to close them all up. Only remove them to water the plants each day. 
  • Remove the tree covers once the beetle season is over. 


Make sure to cover all the plants, otherwise, they will still come into your garden to eat any exposed plant that you may have. Remove any weeds as well. 

3 Natural and Organic Ways to Prevent Japanese Beetle Bugs

1. Kill Grubs

Grubs are the larvae that would eventually mature into Japanese beetles. And in fact, these grubs grow and mature for almost 10 months before they mature into beetles, so it is most effective to kill grubs in order to control the population of Japanese beetles later on.

There are many ways to kill grubs, such as using diatomaceous earth or using prevention methods such as milky spore disease. 

2. Don’t Water Your Lawn

Japanese beetles lay eggs on the lawn, which will hatch into grubs. These grubs will then come out in the next season as mature beetles again. To stop this process from happening, you must make sure that the eggs cannot hatch at all.

The eggs require moisture to mature, so if you leave your lawn dry during the egg-laying season, you may be able to prevent the eggs from hatching at all. The peak season for laying eggs is July and August, so try to avoid watering your lawn during those times.

You may not be able to prevent any rain from seeping into your lawn, but if the sun is bright again, the soil will dry out, causing the eggs to also dry out and die. 

3. Use Milky Spore

Milky spore disease is a disease that specifically affects grub worms or the larvae of Japanese beetles. This is a long-term prevention method.

Once you spread these specific bacteria in your garden soil, the bacteria will attack any grubs it can find, and so there will be no beetles in the next year. You would generally be safe for the next 10 or so years. There is no need for re-applying these bacteria. 

Top 5 Natural Japanese Beetle Repellents

If you are looking for readily available natural repellents to control Japanese beetles, check below listed best natural/organic Japanese beetle repellents.

Final Words:

Japanese beetles are bad enough on their own, but it gets even worse when they start laying eggs in your garden soil.

The larvae of Japanese beetles, also known as grubs can cause massive damage to your lawn, and once they mature, you have to deal with the beetles once again. It is very important to control grubs if you are trying to control Japanese beetles.

However, there is nothing to worry about if you already have beetles in your garden. The methods in this article will surely help you get rid of these annoying insects from your garden.