Popillia japonica (or Japanese beetles) are to plants what piranhas are to river inhabitants. Once an adult bug lands on a herb that he finds tasty, a certain chemical is released into the air which attracts beetles from neighbourhood to come and join the meal….
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Japanese beetles are bothersome insects which are responsible for extensive crops damage in the eastern part of the USA. These pests feed on hundreds of species swarming from plant to plant leaving so-called ‘skeletonizing’ injuries (the bugs eat out the green tissue of the leaves…
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Bacillus popillae, or milky spore, is a naturally occurring bacterium which is used by gardeners to eradicate Japanese beetles. It was introduced under the US program designed to control these pests in the latter half of the 20th century (when pathogens began to be used…
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Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is a destructive insect confined mainly to the eastern part of the USA. It thrives on plants and flowers, especially roses, leaving so-called ‘skeletons’ of the herbs. To rescue your precious garden from these pests, you need to start fighting with…
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Although being only half-inch long, japanese beetles can cause a significant amount of damage to your garden. These invaders are the number one lawn pests: they eat about 400 kinds of plants and suck out all of the nutrients from the ground when grubs. The bug is also called a ‘skeletonizing insect’, since it eats all the green tissue from leaves, leaving only the veins of the foliage. Native to Japan, these pests were first found in the US in 1919. Since that time these annoying invaders have spread across the country. Confined mostly to the eastern half of the country, beetles damage local crops dramatically. In order to prevent the threat from these pests farmers have learnt to remove beetles in many ways once and for good as well as to use preventative means which we are going to dwell upon below. Let’s first learn how to identify Popillia japonica.
Japanese Beetles Identification
Adult beetles are round/oval bugs with attractive metallic green colors. They have coppery brownish wing covers which do not completely cover the rip of the abdomen. These insects have 5 distinctive hairy patches on each side. About 0.6 inch long, Popillia japonica have ringed abdomen and clubbed antennae which may spread to a fan-like form.
These pests are known for their voracious appetites: a swarm of these can strip a peach tree of its foliage in 15 minutes. Adult individuals feed on leaves and flowers of many plants among which are crab apples, roses, grapes and beans. Because of their conspicuous eating habits japanese beetles can be easily identified: their meals usually result in ‘skeletonizing injuries’, since they avoid larger veins and leave lacy skeletons of the leaves.
The beetle grub spends about 10 months below the ground feeding mostly on roots of plants. Pupae phase begins in late spring and by summer beetles come from the ground as adult individuals. Soon after their emergence they mate. The female digs down into the ground (4 inches on average) and lays eggs. Some females can lay as many as sixty eggs during their lifetime. The eggs become more rounded when they start to absorb water from the soil.
Preventing Beetles Infestations
Keep your eyes open for Popillia japonica grubs and adult individuals in your garden in order to prevent extensive damage to your greenery. Let’s point out the most effective preventative means for this:
- Treat your garden for white grubs as soon as you notice them feeding. As grubs they resemble worms shaped like letter ‘C’. They usually start to feed in May and June.
- Enrich your soil with beneficial nematodes to control beetles populations. Nematodes are usually present in the soil, but in small quantities. They are really beneficial since they prey on grubs and other insects which can damage the greenery of your yard. Nematodes are available in specialized garden centres and stores.
- One more preventative method is making your garden unattractive to these pests. If possible, avoid planting American elm, crab apple, black cherry, American chestnut, black oak and walnut. You may also plant trees and herbs which repel beetles, among which are white mum, citronella and garlic.
- Remove any unhealthy or dead trees and plants from your garden, these insects like to feed on them.
- Remove ripened fruit from your trees as soon as possible. Pick up those fruit which may have fallen to the ground.
Ways to Eradicate Japanese Beetles
There exist several beetles control methods, among which two main types are distinguished: organic and chemical. Although some farmers still lean on toxic solutions, many tend to switch to all natural means when fighting with these voracious pests. Chemicals do work fast and are pretty effective, yet they are not ecologically friendly and can damage your children and pets health as well as to cause complications in adults if applied in improper way. On the other hand, organic means are 100% safe and nature friendly, yet it take some time and effort to make them work (depending on the density of bugs population).
It is important to remember that if you live in territories with heavy infestation of these bugs, you need to involve your neighbours into the eradication plan. The large scale control program will help you to get rid of these annoying insects fast and will bring you a peace of mind.