Japanese Beetles are an invasive species that is highly destructive to plants and does not have a natural enemy in the United States. They feed on leaves, fruit, flowers and more than 400 different species of plants. The pest arrived in the U.S. in 1916 in New Jersey and has since spread throughout the east, southeast, southern and midwestern regions of the country.
About Japanese Beetles
Adult Japanese Beetles are less than half an inch in length and have a long, shiny, metallic-green body and copper-colored wings that lay on their back. Upon closer examination, you’ll see they have six legs and little patches of hair on their sides. Females are larger than males.
Japanese Beetles are most active from May to August when they start feeding on plants, flowers, grass and leaves. Their adult lifespan is only about 30-45 days, but during that time, the females will burrow into the ground to lay eggs. Females will lay up to 60 eggs each season and by mid to late-summer, they’ll hatch into grubs that lie dormant until spring. At that time, the grubs will begin feeding on the roots of plants and grasses, by early to mid-summer they’ll be adults and emerge to feed on more plants, flowers and leaves and start the cycle over again.
Adult Japanese Beetles are known for feeding and destroying more than 400 species of plants, including several varieties of shrubs, flowers, trees and fruit. Grapes, apples, rose bushes and other popular fruit or sweet-smelling plants are especially susceptible to damage. Signs of damage include leaves that look eaten but the leaf veins are left intact, as well as eaten flower buds and fruit. Turf grass, such as Bermuda grass, is damaged by the grubs feeding on the roots in the spring. The damaged turf will turn brown, die and can be easily pulled up from the soil.
Japanese Beetles are difficult to control because both the adults and grubs cause damage and at different times of the year. Because the eggs are buried in the ground and feed on roots, it’s not uncommon to need multiple rounds of treatment to fully eliminate the pest. A licensed pest and turf professional, such as those with United Pest and Turf Control can diagnose a Japanese Beetle infestation and provide timely, accurate treatment solutions.