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Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica)

Japanese beetle

Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), native to northern Japan, was first found near Riverton, New Jersey in 1916. Two years later attempts to eradicate it by the USDA failed. It had become established — the population was too large for attempts to control it to be successful. It is now widespread across North America, reported in all of the contiguous 48 states except for Florida. It is well established from Maine to Minnesota south to Arkansas and Georgia.

Japanese beetle is a destructive pest in North America where it has no natural enemies. The larvae feed on roots of grass and other plants, causing damage to lawns, parks, golf courses, and pastures. Adults feed on leaves, flowers, and fruits of several hundred species of plants, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, field crops, and vegetable crops. They skeletonize leaves by eating the soft tissue but leaving the larger veins. They have caused 50% to 90% defoliation of birch and cottonwood trees in some neighborhoods of the Twin Cities.

Japanese beetle is a colorful, medium-sized, scarab beetle. It is identified by a metallic green head and thorax, iridescent. bronze or coppery wing covers, and white tufts of hairs at the sides and end of the abdomen.