Property owners urged to check plants for Japanese beetle

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says North Dakota home and property owners should check recently purchased nursery stock for Japanese beetle infestation.

“If you have bought shrubs, trees or flowers this year, please inspect the plants carefully and remove and kill any Japanese beetles you find,” Goehring said. “We do not believe this pest has become established yet in North Dakota, and we don't want it to become a permanent resident.”

Goehring said more information on the Japanese beetle and methods for controlling it are found on the University of Minnesota Extension website, He said homeowners can also contact their nursery dealer or their county extension agent for more information.

Last week, a Japanese beetle found in Grand Forks was positively identified by the NDSU Extension Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory. Later, more specimens were found in traps in West Fargo.

Goehring said the apparent source of the beetles is a Minnesota nursery stock supplier.

“The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) is working with the supplier which has agreed to take the necessary, additional steps to ensure that no more of these insects are coming to North Dakota,” Goehring said. “The supplier is also working with their growers to deal with the pest at the source before the plants are sent to them for distribution.”

Goehring said NDDA is placing an additional 100 Japanese beetle traps in and near nurseries that have purchased stock from the supplier. The department currently has about 80 traps set out.

The beetle is native to Japan and found in the U.S. in 1916. It is now found in nearly every state east of the Mississippi River, as well as Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana. The only previous finding in North Dakota was in 2001 in Burleigh County.

Although the Japanese beetle is not a regulated pest, it is a serious pest of ornamental plants. The insects defoliate a broad range of plants, including corn, soybeans, ornamentals, trees, and shrubs especially roses and lindens.