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Image Credit: Lorraine P.
Image Credit: Jack B.
Image Credit: Jack B.
Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. from London,ON
The vexatious and tenacious Japanese Beetle wreaks havoc on roses, hibiscus, and other showy flowers.
The Japanese Beetle is a notorious pest that is not native to North America. It is believed to have arrived via shipping transport from Japan into New Jersey in the early part of the 1900's. Since then, the beetle has made a home in most of the continent and has been moving through Europe as well.
The beetle is commonly identified by its very unique, two-tone coloring. The upper half of the insect is an emerald green; the lower half is a copper brown. The entire Japanese Beetle has a metallic sheen on it. Noticeable grooves or ridges run the length of the coppery elytra (wing coverings). Also helpful identifiers are the small tufts of white hair that stick out from the sides of its abdomen.
Japanese Beetles are known for their destructive powers thanks to their diet. Adults feed off of most any type of cultivated and wild plants. Prized blossoms like roses, hibiscus, and daisies are chewed into and left rotting under smears of beetle feces. Leaves are chewed into, leaving behind a skeleton of veins. Even as a larva, the Japanese Beetle will attack the roots of grass and other turf plants. The white grubs hide just under the soil's surface and pupate underground.
Due to their destructive life cycle to native North American flora, elimination of this insect is a common chore for farmers and gardeners. Traps have been created using their own pheromone to lure them. Placed near plants, however, one may actually end up attracting more than the traps can kill. Insecticide use is complicated because chemicals that kill the beetle also kill good pollinators needed to create blooms in the first place. This insect has become the bane of many growers instead of a jewel to be admired.
Scientific Name: Popillia japonica
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 12mm (0.31in to 0.47in)
Colors: green, brown, red, white, copper, black
Descriptors: metallic, green, hairy, fuzz, flying, garden pest
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.