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The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is a beetle about 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) Japannese Beetles long and 1 cm (0.4 inches) wide (smaller in Japanee Beetles Canada), with shiny copper-colored elytra and a shiny green top of the thorax and head. It is not very destructive in Japan, where it Apanese Beetles is controlled by natural enemies, Japaese Beetles but in America it is a serious pest to rose bushes, grapes, crape myrtles, and other plants. Japamese Beetles It is a weak flyer and drops several centimeters when it hits Japanesee Beetles a wall. Japanese beetle traps therefore consist of a Japnaese Beetles pair of crossed walls with a bag underneath, and are baited with floral Jpanese Beetles scent, pheromone, or both.
Japanese beetles have a curious, identifying defense; they lift their hind legs up in the air, even when simply approached. These hind legs are spiny, and the behavior is probably intended to ward off predators.
These insects damage plants by eating the surface material, leaving the veins in place, producing a curious, but alarming to the experienced gardener, "transparent leaf" effect on its victims.
- 1 History
- 2 Life cycle and control
- 3 Host Plants
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Map showing the parts of the United States currently infested by Japanese beetles.
As the name suggests, the Japanese beetle is native to Japan. The insect was first found in the United States in 1916 in a nursery near Riverton, New Jersey. It is thought that beetle larvae entered the United States in a shipment of iris bulbs prior to 1912 when inspections of commodities entering the country began.
Life cycle and control
The Japanese beetle adult--an attractive pest.
A typical cluster of Japanese beetle eggs.
The life cycle of the beetle is typically 1 year in most parts of the United States, but this can be extended in cooler climates; for instance, in its native Japan, the beetle's life cycle is 2 years long as a result of the higher latitudes of the grasslands required for the larval stage.
During the larval stage, the Japanese beetle lives in lawns and other grasslands, where it eats the roots of grass. During that stage, it is susceptible to a fatal disease called milky spore disease, caused by a bacterium called milky spore, Bacillus popilliae. The USDA developed this biological control and it is commercially available in powder form for application to lawn areas. Standard applications (low density across a broad area) take from 1 to 5 years to establish maximal protection against larval survival (depending on climate), expanding through the soil through repeated rounds of infection, in-host multiplication, release from killed host, and infection. Typically proper application can lead to a 15-20 year period of protection.
Soil-bound larvae are also susceptible to certain members of the nematode families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae. As with milky spore, commercial preparations of these nematode varieties are available.
The primary natural predator found in Japan is the winsome fly (Istocheta (or Hyperecteina) aldrichi), a parasitic fly. Attempts at establishing this predator in the United States have met with limited success, primarily in New England. Alternative predators have shown some potential at serving as biological controls, such as the Spring tiphia (Tiphia vernalis) and Fall tiphia (Tiphia popilliavora) from China and Korea. Also, certain birds (such as the meadowlark and cardinal) and small mammals are significant predators on the adult form.
On field crops such as eggplant, floating row covers can be used to exclude the beetles, however this may necessitate hand pollination of flowers. Kaolin sprays can also be used as barriers.
Research performed by many US extension service branches has shown that pheromone traps may attract more beetles than they catch, and so they have fallen out of favor. Natural repellents include catnip, chives, garlic, and tansy, as well as the remains of dead beetles.
Japanese Beetles feed on a large range of hosts, including leaves of plants of the following common crops:
Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, roses, plums, pears, peaches, raspberries, blackberries
and these genera:
- Betula (Birch trees)
- Tilia (Linden, lime, or basswood trees)
- ^ Klein, Michael (August 1998). Japanese beetle: the continuing struggle to achieve successful biological control. Midwest Biological Control News, V(8). Retrieved July 11, 2005.
- ^ Japanese Beetle control strategies 
- ^ http://www.selfsufficientish.com/pests.htm
- Japanese beetle Popillia japonica - large format diagnostic photographs, descriptions, natural history
- APHIS web page on beetle management
Categories: Scarabaeidae | Horticulture | Invasive species