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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles are thriving in the Ozarks right now. KY3 News sought our opinion. See the link above for the full story.
While pheremone attractant bags are available over the counter, oftentimes they actually attract more Japanese Beetles to the area trying to be protected.
A targeted application of an appropriately labled pesticide, applied by a licensed applicator, is the single most effective means of controlling this pest.
Japanese Beetles were introduced into New Jersey on nursery stock from Japan in 1913. Larvae feed on roots of grass, herbaceous plants and nursery stock, while adults feed on foliage and fruit.
Japanese Beetles feed on over 275 plant species. This includes all deciduous tree fruits, many small fruits, vegetables, grasses, and weeds.
Adults are 3/8-1/2 inch (8-10 mm) long, metallic green to greenish bronze with coppery red wings and small white tufts on the sides and tip of the abdomen (see photo above). Larvae are "C"-shaped, cream-colored white grubs with brown heads and are 3/4 - 1 inch (20-25 mm) long when mature.
Grubs overwinter 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) deep in the soil. As spring temperatures increase, the grubs move up in the soil to feed on grass and other small roots. They pupate in late May to June and adults start emerging in late June to mid-July. Adults which live from 30 to 45 days, feed through late summer or early fall. Females lay eggs 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) deep in the soil during July and August, and grubs hatch in 10 to 12 days. Grubs first feed on decaying matter but soon feed on roots as they move deeper to an overwintering site. The eggs and first instar larvae of Japanese beetle are poor at retaining water, consequently they are vulnerable to drought conditions. A general requirement is for a total of 10 inches of rain over June, July and August. Adult populations are commonly reduced in years following summers of inadequate rainfall.
Both adults and larvae cause plant damage, but the host and nature of damage are usually different. Adults cause damage on foliage and flowers of a wide range of hosts and are most active on warm sunny days. The feeding on the upper leaf surface usually results in skeletonization. The grubs, which primarily feed on roots of grasses cause considerable damage to pasture, lawn and golf courses. Feeding damage on roots reduces the ability of grass to take up enough water to withstand stresses of hot and dry weather, and result in dead patches.
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