Property owners urged to check plants for Japanese beetle

An adult Japanese beetle on a flower

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

“If you have purchased shrubs, trees or perennials this year, please inspect the plants carefully and remove and kill any Japanese beetles you find,” Goehring said. “We believe this pest isn’t widely established yet in North Dakota, and we don’t want it to become widespread.”

North Dakota is considered to be a non-infested or partially infested state, which means it may have begun to establish in larger cities.

Homeowners should continue to monitor for Japanese beetle adults throughout the summer and report all suspect adults to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA).

NDDA staff recovered live Japanese beetle larvae and pupae from containers of plants shipped from Bailey Nurseries in Newport, Minn., to nurseries around the state.

“The supplier has agreed to take the necessary, additional steps to ensure that no more of these insects come to North Dakota,” Goehring said.

Goehring said the NDDA is placing additional Japanese beetle traps in and near nurseries that have purchased stock from the supplier. The department already had about 1,000 traps set up throughout North Dakota prior to the discovery of the potentially infested nursery stock. The department plans to set about 500 more traps in areas at high risk of infestation, including nurseries, parks and golf courses.

Goehring said more information on the Japanese beetle and methods for controlling it can be found by visiting the NDDA website at There, the department has provided in-depth information on how to scout for Japanese beetle and treat nursery stock if the pest is found.

“Although the Japanese beetle is mainly a pest of trees, ornamental plants and turf grass, it is also harmful to soybeans and corn,” North Dakota State University Extension Entomologist Janet Knodel said. “The insects defoliate corn, soybeans, ornamentals, trees and shrubs, especially roses and lindens, as well as other plants.”

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 from mid-June through September.

The beetle is native to Japan and was first discovered in the U.S. in 1916. It is now found in nearly every state east of the Mississippi River, as well as some areas of Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska.

Learn more about Japanese beetle prevention