Are You Seeing The Japanese Beetle?

Are You Seeing The Japanese Beetle?

The Japanese beetle is one of the most destructive pests for urban landscape plants in the eastern United States. Adult Japanese beetles are about 7/16-inch long with a green metallic body and copper-brown wing covers. They have consecutive white spots called tufts of hair from under the wing covers on each side of the body.

Japanese beetles were first found in this New Jersey in 1916 . Before that time, they were known to occur only in Japan where it is not considered as a major pest.

The eastern US provided a favorable climate, large areas of turf and pasture grass for developing grubs, hundreds of species of plants on which adults could feed, and no effective natural enemies. The beetle thrived under these conditions and has steadily expanded its geographic range north to Ontario and Minnesota, west to Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas, and south to Georgia and Alabama.

The first Japanese beetles discovered in Kentucky were found on the southern outskirts of Louisville in 1937. Isolated infestations were treated with insecticides to delay spread of the beetle. During the 1950s and 1960s, beetle populations increased dramatically and spread in Kentucky and surrounding states. Today, the Japanese beetle infests all of the counties in Kentucky.

– M.F. Potter, D.A. Potter, and L.H. Townsend, Extension Entomologists
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Japanese Beetle