If Japanese beetles are eating your garden, it might be time to call on help from your feathered friends. Many birds will snack on these beetles, so think about ways to attract the birds to your yard. Put up birdbaths, birdhouses and bird feeders filled with food the birds enjoy. Many species of insects, reptiles and amphibians also feed on Japanese beetles, so the more diversity of wildlife in your yard, the better your chances of keeping beetles in check.
Birds that Eat Beetles
Starlings, though often considered "pests" at bird feeders, are inveterate beetle-killers, eating both the grubs and the adult Japanese beetle with gusto. Grackles, crows, meadowlarks and blackbirds eat only grubs, while robins, catbirds and cardinals occasionally eat grubs and enjoy adult beetles. Bobwhites, eastern kingbirds, sparrows, blue jays and woodpeckers also might eat beetles. Some vineyards have claimed to have luck using purple martin nests. You can help the birds along by turning the soil in autumn to expose the larva.
Pet Birds That Eat Beetles
Chickens and guinea fowl will be happy eat Japanese beetles, not to mention ticks, fleas and other garden pests.
Other Animals That Eat Beetles
Moles, skunks and shrews will feed on the grubs of Japanese beetles, though they might not be welcome in your garden. Spiders, ants and other predatory insects eat large numbers of beetle eggs in the soil even before they hatch. You can purchase beneficial nematodes from many garden centers: add them to your soil and these little critters attack and eat Japanese beetle grubs and a host of other garden pests. The Spring Tiphia wasp was imported into the United States from China specifically to control Japanese beetles. The female wasp burrows into the soil and lays her eggs on top of Japanese beetle grubs, effectively eliminating entire generations of the beetle.