Check nursery stock for Japanese beetle

South Dakota Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

PIERRE — The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is encouraging residents to check any newly purchased nursery stock for Japanese beetle.

The adult Japanese beetle is under one-half of an inch long and has a shiny, metallic-green body with bronze-colored outer wings. The beetle has five small tufts of white hair along each side and two tufts of hair in the back of its body, just under the edges of its wings. During their two month lifespan, the female can lay up to 60 eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the young larvae or grubs begin to feed on grass roots.

“If you have recently purchased container grown trees, shrubs or perennials, check the root balls for any visible grubs or adult beetles,” said SDDA plant industry manager Brenda Sievers. “If you have already planted your purchase, please monitor the area for signs of the adult Japanese beetle which could start emerging shortly. Japanese beetles are highly destructive, so if you do find any beetles, please destroy them and report those findings to SDDA at 605.773.3796. For treatment options, please contact your regional SDSU Extension Center or a local nurseryman.”

The Japanese beetle is native to Japan and was first found in the United States in New Jersey in 1916. Since that time, it has spread mainly to areas east of the Mississippi River. The adult beetles feed on foliage, flowers and fruits of over 300 species of ornamental and agricultural plants, including corn and soybeans. They defoliate leaves by feeding in between the veins, leaving the plant with a skeletonized appearance. SDDA staff found live larvae and pupae in container grown stock from Bailey Nurseries, Inc., Newport, Minn. The nursery stock had been shipped to various nursery dealers and nurserymen across the state. The supplier is providing additional traps to nurseries that may have received affected stock.

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