Japanese beetles traced to Minnesota nursery

BISMARCK – Infestations of Japanese beetles in four North Dakota cities have been traced to a Minnesota-based nursery.

“Japanese beetles have been found in traps in Bismarck, Fargo, West Fargo and Grand Forks,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “All have been traced to shipments from Bailey Nurseries of St. Paul.”

Goehring said a North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) plant protection specialist found more than 60 beetles in traps placed at a West Fargo site, as well as 15 beetles in traps at a Fargo location. Beetles were also found at two Bismarck locations and a Grand Forks site.

“We are very concerned,” Goehring said. “Although the Japanese beetle is mainly a pest of trees, ornamental plants and turf grass, it is also harmful to soybeans and corn.”

Goehring said NDDA is working closely with Parks and Recreation, city foresters and county extension agents to prevent the establishment of Japanese beetles in North Dakota.

“We have required the nursery stock supplier to use specific practices when fumigating nursery stock shipments to prevent the importations of pests into our state,” Goehring said.

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

The half-inch-long, adult beetles are metallic green with bronze wing covers. During their two-month lifespan, females lay up to 60 eggs. The eggs hatch in two weeks, and the larva feed on plant roots, emerging as adults in mid-June through September.

The insects defoliate corn, soybeans, ornamentals, trees, and shrubs especially roses and lindens, as well as other plants.

Japanese beetle trapping has been ongoing in North Dakota since 1960. The insect was first detected in the state in Burleigh County in 2001. In 2012, the beetles were found in West Fargo and Grand Forks.

Goehring said the trapping will continue through September and continue next season to determine if any beetles have overwintered in the state. Currently, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture monitors about 130 traps, most of them in plant nurseries.

Goehring urged homeowners who find Japanese beetles to contact NDDA at (800) 242-7535 or their county extension agent.