Japanese beetles are destructive; they feed on more than 200 varieties of plants, and they are hearty eaters. And, to make matters worse, Japanese beetles tend to swarm. Where there are few, many will soon follow. And these swarms can strip a fruit tree bare in a short time.
Protect your fruit tree by covering it with a translucent tarp or netting at the first sign of Japanese beetle activity.
Remove any Japanese beetles currently feeding on your fruit tree. The best time to dislodge Japanese beetles is early in the morning (as near dawn as possible) when they are the least active. Spread a large, light-colored blanket (so the beetles will be easy to see) underneath the tree that spans the width of its canopy.
Put on a hat and well-sealed clothing and then shake the branches of the tree. When startled this way, Japanese beetles simply drop to the ground.
Pick up the Japanese beetles as they fall and drop them in a bucket of water, where they will quickly drown.
Cover your fruit tree. Use a ladder if necessary, and start at the crown of the tree. Unroll the roll of fabric and wrap the fabric around the circumference of tree as if you were plastic-wrapping it for storage (but not tight enough to damage the branches).
Staple strips of the covering together and try not to overlap the material any more than necessary to create an effective barrier for the beetles. Move down the tree, covering it from the canopy to midway around its trunk. Once you reach that point, tie off the bottom edge of the covering with a length of rope wrapped around the trunk.
Leave the fruit tree cover on until the end of summer, when the threat of Japanese beetles has subsided.