Japanese Beetle Identification
The Japanese beetle is a widespread and destructive pest of lawns, landscape and ornamental plants in the United States. Japanese beetles are a serious pest of turf, trees, shrubs, flowers and crops. Although adults will feed on over 300 species of plants, grubs feed mainly on the roots of grasses. Difficult and expensive to control, these beetles feed on grass roots, damaging turf, golf courses and pastures. Japanese beetles were first found in the U.S. in 1916 in New Jersey and have since spread throughout most states east of the Mississippi River.
Japanese Beetle Habitat
Japanese beetles have a wide host of plants they can feed on and can live anywhere there is sufficient foliage. They are not limited to forests or grasslands, and often live on farms, cities, and even your garden. These beetles are especially common on roses, beans, grapes and raspberries. Japanese beetles have a voracious appetite and are most active on warm sunny days, feeding in groups under direct sun. Adult beetles can fly, allowing them to easily move throughout a homeowners landscape. These pests begin eating at the top of plants and work their way down.
Japanese Beetle Behaviors, Threats or Dangers
While Japanese beetles do have powerful chewing mouthparts for munching on leaves, they do not bite people. However, the estimated damage and cost of controlling Japanese beetles in the U.S. is over $460 million each year! Due to their distinctive feeding pattern, damage caused by Japanese beetles can be easy to recognize. These pests feed on the soft tissue between leaf veins, leaving behind a skeletonized, lace-like pattern. The grubs damage grass as they overwinter and feed in soil, which can result in brown patches of dead or dying grass that will pull up easily due to their weakened roots.
Japanese Beetle Prevention
To prevent a Japanese beetle infestation, there are a few preventative actions you can take. As these beetles do not bite, handpicking them from plants is very effective and works best in the early morning. Remove diseased or dying plants and trees, and cover healthy plants at night when beetles are most active. Use soap and water, mixing 4 tablespoons of dish soap and adding to water inside a spray bottle. Spray on any beetles that you see on or around your lawn and garden. Dispose of beetles in sealed trash containers.