Be on the lookout for the destructive Japanese beetles

Now is the time to scout your plants every few days to see if insects have moved in and started feeding.

By

Lifestyle

July 18, 2022 - 3:47 PM

Japanese beetles were first reported in the United States in 1916 and have since become established in many states, including Kansas.

Japanese beetles have become a yearly pest. They were first reported in the United States in 1916 and have since become established in many states — including Kansas. The adult beetle is one of the most destructive insect pests we face. I have recently found them attacking my rose bushes and crabapple tree. 

The adult beetle is the most troublesome for the homeowner as it feeds on a wide variety of plants including rose, crabapple, birch, grapes and a whole host of other plants. They feed on leaf surfaces and will cause holes and in some cases, they will feed on the leaf tissue between the veins causing a lacelike or skeletonized appearance. However, it is the Japanese beetle larvae that is a major problem in the home lawn, golf courses, athletic fields and other turfgrass locations. They feed on the roots of turfgrass causing the grass to be unable to uptake water and nutrients. 

We typically start seeing Japanese beetles in June and they feed through late August. Japanese beetles are three-eighths to one-half inch long. They are metallic green with coppery-brown wings and dark green legs. One distinguishing identifier is the white tufts around the abdomen area. These tufts actually look like white dots. The larvae are a white grub that looks very similar to other grubs commonly found in our area. It is actually very hard to tell the difference and would require looking under a microscope. 

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