Living in Illinois, the struggle against annoying insects is real. The cicadas may be dying off soon, but destructive Japanese Beetles are almost ready to get the party started, so what's an Illinois gardener to do?


I've only been growing a garden for a couple of years now, but I have already learned that Japanese beetles suck big time. They can turn the plants you've been tending to for weeks into a big sheet of lace in no time flat, and getting rid of them can be dang near impossible. You can try spraying, netting, even shaking them off by hand, but those shiny little jerks will keep coming back for more.

Well, it turns out, you don't need to buy netting or pesticides to get rid of Japanese beetles, all you have to do is plant some catnip!


Yes, the same catnip that cats go crazy for is actually something Japanese beetles hate for one big reason...the smell.

According to an article from House Digest;

Researchers have found that catnip is rich in a chemical compound called nepetalactone. Remarkably, this compound is more effective at repelling insects than DEET, which is the active ingredient in many commercial insect repellents.


Japanese beetles apparently find the smell of nepetalactone utterly repulsive, so much so that it will keep them away from your other plants in your garden. Talk about a win/win!

Best Places to Plant Catnip

Planting catnip is easy. It's a perennial herb, which means it will come back year after year, saving you the hassle of replanting every season.

Plant catnip around the edges of your garden beds to create a natural beetle-repelling border. Make sure the area you choose for planting receives full to partial sun and the soil is well-drained.

House Digest says catnip is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but be warned, it can get a bit unruly if left unchecked. Regularly trimming your catnip will help promote bushier growth.

There is one more important thing you should keep in mind before planting catnip around your garden. House cats aren't the only ones that go cuckoo for catnip, stay cats love it too. Don't be surprised if you end up sharing your garden with a herd of new feline friends...but no Japanese beetles!

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