Japanese beetles—they’re ba-ack

Metro Wire Staff

Seeing a lot of brown and green shiny insects around your yard lately?

You aren’t alone. Japanese beetles are making their annual appearance in Portage County.

The non-native beetle was first discovered in New Jersey in 1916 and has since spread to the Midwest. The adult Japanese beetle feeds on over 300 varieties of fruits, vegetables, trees, shrubs, and flowers, eating the soft tissue between the veins and leaving a lace-like skeleton.

According to UW-Madison entomologist Patrick Liesch, the insects will remain through the end of August.

So what can you do?

Hand-picking: The presence of beetles on a plant attracts more beetles. Daily removal will reduce the number by half compared to plants that allow the beetles to accumulate. Beetles can be killed by knocking them into a bucket of soapy water.

Chemical control: Many landscape sprays will control adult beetles but may need to be applied every 5-10 days. Read the product label.

Don’t use traps: Although they capture thousands of beetles, research shows that plants near traps get much more damage than plants in areas with no traps. Beetles are drawn into trap areas and those that are not captured are more likely to lay eggs in turf areas nearby.

For information regarding this or other questions contact the Portage County UW-Extension office at 715-346-1316 or [email protected]