By: Norm Rasmussen                                                                                                                                                Video:

Here is something that works very well for me in battling Japanese Beetles: HOT!

Hot as in Cayenne Pepper Ė Chili Pepper. Apply hot pepper solution to your plants and Japanese Beetles will find your plants VERY UNDESIRABLE.

There are various ways to apply hot pepper solution to your plants. I like to do it the easiest way I know how. That is to go to the nearest discount food store and buy any kind of GROUND hot pepper they have. I pour the finely ground hot pepper into boiling hot water and stir it until it dissolves. I pour this hot pepper solution into a generic sprayer and spray my plants (raspberry plants for me) liberally with it. I mix a teaspoon or two of liquid dish soap with the pepper solution to help keep the solution on the plant leaves.

After every rain, I spray the plants again, as is convenient.

I experiment with the amount of ground hot pepper I mix with water, but a standard sized bottle of hot pepper containing 4 ounces of ground pepper added to roughly a gallon or less of water seems to work very well. I increase the amount of pepper if I need to, or simply mix the 4 ounce pepper with less water Ė either way works fine.

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: Spray your plants with the hot pepper solution a few days BEFORE your first Japanese Beetle shows up. Make certain the pepper solution is extra strong in the beginning. You want to send the message loud and clear to these initial SCOUT beetles that your plants are DISGUSTINGLY HOT!

There is another thing I do to let these initial scout beetles know they are not wanted. I get myself a generic squirt bottle and dial down the sprayer so a small amount of solution can be sprayed with pin-point accuracy. I want to spray the beetle/s directly while trying to keep this solution off the plant itself and much as I can.

What kind of solution do I have in my squirt bottle? Roughly 50% wasp and hornet spray mixed with 50% water. This mixture will kill the beetle in very short order. Like in about a few minutes. You can mix a higher mixture of wasp and hornet spray and it will kill the beetles quicker, but it will also damage the plant leaf much quicker if you do, so be careful.

As soon as I squirt the beetle with the 50/50 mixture of poison Ö I give the poison about 60 seconds to penetrate the beetle Ö then I have a second generic squirt bottle in my other hand filled with water ONLY. I liberally squirt the leaf and surrounding leaves that may have gotten a little of the poison spray on them so that I wash off all the poison spray as quickly as I can.  Otherwise it will kill your leaves.

Though I canít prove it, I firmly believe that KILLING these first beetles that arrive also sends a message to other beetles that there is a Japanese Beetle "TERRORIST" haunting the berry patch, so DONíT risk getting killed. ďGo find plants elsewhere to eat and pro-create on!Ē

I continue killing beetles with this 50/50 poisonous spray all summer as time allows.  It makes each berry taste much better to me knowing a Japanese Beetle was sacrified so I could eat that berry.  (Just kidding.  I wish the beetles would just stop showing up to devour my berry patch from the get-go so I could do other things with my free time instead of having to mess with those pesky beetles).

Iíve tried so many other means of trying to keep Japanese Beetles off my raspberry patch over the years and thus far, this is the cheapest and most effective means Iíve been able to find. Insect poison works if you want to pay the price and hassle required to keep it applied, but I donít want all that much poison going into the ground and ultimately back into the berries Iíll be eating. The small amount of wasp and hornet spray that gets into the ground is miniscule in comparison to using other poisonous sprays to battle Japanese Beetle infestation.