Japanese beetle

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Japanese beetles

Notorious for being hardy creatures who can easily adapt to different climates and environments, Japanese beetles are one of the most damaging invasive species in the world. Japanese beetles in recent years have been showing up in gardens, on farms and devouring vegetation across North America.

Japanese beetles are a growing concern in agricultural circles around the United States. The beetle is known to eat more than 200 species of plant and an infestation can cause serious damage to crops and financial loss.

If your farm or home has shown an infestation of Japanese beetles and you are noticing damage to plants, flowers, crops or agriculture, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today.

What is a Japanese Beetle?

The Japanese beetle is an insect which is a species of scarab beetle. They measure about 15 mm in length and 10 mm in width. The beetles are usually brownish across the back and with a black-colored head and legs. There are also white spots around the edges of their bodies, too. Their bodies are a shiny iridescent color usually copper in color with shades of green.

They are tiny, but they have voracious appetites. In other parts of the world, Japanese beetles have natural predators which can keep populations of them in check, but they have no predators in North America. A few beetles can completely skeletonize foliage and plants in just a few minutes.

Japanese beetles were first found in the United States in 1916, near New Jersey. Since then, the beetles have spread across North America, including up into Canada. By 2015, there were only nine states reportedly without these insects.

Japanese beetle life cycle & behavior

Japanese beetles basically do two things: they reproduce and they eat vegetation. These beetles lay eggs in the topsoil in small clusters. In about fourteen days, Japanese beetle eggs hatch and burrow into the soil where they start feeding on the roots of plants and other vegetation nearby. So, right from the start, these beetles are destroying plants.

Before long, the newly hatched larvae become grubs and they keep on eating. This is why Japanese beetles cause so much economic damage to agricultural businesses and farms. Their sole purpose seems to be devouring plants so they can keep reproducing and creating more beetles which keep devouring more plants.

Japanese beetles also have a method of adapting to cold temperatures, too which is why they continue to spread across North America. They can hibernate below ground, staying warm, waiting for the soil temps to get warm enough where they will then become active again in the spring.

The beetles spend much of their lives in the larval stage eating roots and doing damage below ground. When they do emerge as adults, they start consuming leaves and other plant materials on the surface. When they find a good place to eat, Japanese beetles release pheromones to attract more beetles. The adults  then mate, drop their eggs and the cycle continues.

How to get rid of Japanese beetles

For homeowners, getting rid of Japanese beetles can be a challenge, often requiring hand-removing the beetles. For large scale farming endeavors, the challenge is even greater. Removing Japanese beetles is time consuming, difficult and challenging. Remember, so much of the damage these beetles do is underground before they are even seen on the surface, which makes it even more challenging.

Here are some things homeowners can do to get rid of Japanese beetles in their lawn and garden:

  • Hand removing - finding the beetles on the plants and removing them by hand is sometimes the most effective way to get rid of them. It is challenging because there can be so many and just when you think you’ve gotten rid of them, more can come out from below ground. Dispose of the beetles in a bucket of soapy water or some other method you can find online.
  • Covering plants - there are a number of covers which can be purchased for gardens which shield them from the beetles. The feeding period of a Japanese beetle is about 6-8 weeks and the covers can be placed during that time to keep them off plants.
  • Dropcloths - if you put drop cloths down around your plants and check them early in the morning, this will be prime feeding time for the beetles. You may see dozens of them on the dropcloth and can remove them in a bunch, disposing of them by whatever means you choose.
  • Traps - there are Japanese beetle traps available out there. The traps are filled with fragrant plants which attract the beetles and then they get stuck. Their effectiveness is limited, however, since the fragrance of the plants used in the trap might actually attract more beetles that can land on nearby plants and cause more damage.

For agricultural businesses with row upon row of crops and plants, trying to do hand-removing and other methods may be difficult to impossible. It can also be very costly to hire more people or try to find ways to remove Japanese beetles on their own and professional treatments should be considered.

Japanese beetle control services

Ehrlich Pest Control understands that there are invasive species like Japanese beetles and other beetles which can cause damage to plants, fabrics and other substances. Ehrlich specialists know how to find agricultural pests and work with businesses and homeowners to get rid of a number of beetles and pests.

Contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today and discuss the beetles and other invaders around your property.


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