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Homemade Lure for Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetle image by ssquared from


Instead of a yeast packet in Step 3, you can also use a teaspoon of yeast.

You can hang your jug, either by tying a string or rope around the milk jug handle, or by punching two holes near the top of the jug and running a cord through them. Hanging the lure might help to catch more beetles.

When your lure is full of beetles, empty the milk jug and refill it with a new lure mixture.

Japanese beetles are a common, voracious garden pest, eating up to 400 different kinds of plants. Once a Japanese beetle has found a sufficient food source, it secretes a pheromone to attract other beetles. \This means they gather in large groups and can easily destroy a garden. One of the most common ways to get rid of Japanese beetles is to lure, trap and dispose of them. Although commercial traps and lures are available, many gardeners argue that the beetle pheromones used in them only attract more beetles. Making a homemade lure can solve this problem because it doesn’t use pheromones.

Rinse out a used one-gallon milk jug.

Pour slightly warm water into the jug until it is about one-third full. The water should be warm to activate the yeast.

Add one packet of yeast to the water in the jug.

Add ¼ cup of sugar into the water and yeast mixture.

Mash a banana or other soft fruit, and add this to the mixture in the milk jug. This fermenting, sweet mixture is your lure, and it will attract the Japanese beetles to your trap.

Squirt a small amount of dishwashing detergent into the jug. The dishwashing detergent will help to kill the bugs when they fall in the trap.

Stir the mixture slightly, just enough to make sure everything is incorporated.

Place the milk jug near the problem area in your yard or garden. Make sure it’s slightly elevated off the ground.

Keep the top off of the milk jug so the Japanese beetles can find their way in. They’ll smell the mixture and crawl into the jug's opening. The small opening will make it hard for them to climb back out, and the beetles will fall into the mixture and drown.

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