Japanese beetle found in North Dakota

BISMARCK – A serious plant pest widely found in the eastern U.S. has been detected in North Dakota for the second time in 11 years.

“A North Dakota Department of Agriculture plant protection specialist positively identified a Japanese beetle submitted to the NDSU-Extension's Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab from Grand Forks,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “The specialist subsequently found more specimens in traps in West Fargo.”

Native to Japan and first discovered in the U.S. in 1916, the Japanese beetle is now found in nearly every state east of the Mississippi River, as well as Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana.

“This beetle is mainly a pest of trees, ornamental plants and turf grass, but is also harmful to soybeans and corn,” Goehring said.

The half-inch-long, adult beetles are metallic green with bronze wing covers. Females lay up to 60 eggs during their two-month lifespan. The eggs hatch in two weeks and the larva overwinter below the frostline, feeding on plant roots in the soil. Adults begin to emerge in mid-June through September.

The insects defoliate a broad range of plants, including corn, soybeans, ornamentals, trees, and shrubs, especially roses and lindens.

Japanese beetle trapping has been ongoing in North Dakota since 1960. The first beetle detected in the state was found in Burleigh County in 2001.

Goehring said the trapping will continue through September and continue next season to monitor whether any beetles have overwintered in the state. Currently, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture monitors about 80 traps, most of them in plant nurseries.

Goehring urged homeowners to contact their county extension agent if they suspect Japanese beetles.

For additional information on Japanese beetles, visit www.nd.gov/ndda.