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Post subject: Attack of Japanese beetles  PostPosted: Jun 28, 2006 - 08:47 PM

Sergeant Major
Attack of Japanese beetles: Hopefully not a hit at home
Dean Wilson and Tim Horton
For the Suburban Journals


"Attack of the Japanese Beetles" would be a great title for a horror movie. It describes the invasion of this serious pest in gardens and lawns.

In this country, Japanese beetles were first found in New Jersey in 1916. They slowly have migrated south and west. They now are arguably the biggest insect threat to East Central Missouri gardens.

In Japan, numerous natural enemies keep the beetle in check, but are not present or have not developed in this country. Hence, we may see tremendous numbers of beetles in our area.

Japanese beetles pack a double punch. Both larvae and adults are destructive pests.

Understanding the life cycle is important in their control. The complete cycle, which takes about one year, begins with adult Japanese beetles laying eggs in turf in early summer.

Japanese beetle adults repeat laying a few eggs at a time until 40 to 60 eggs are laid. The larvae begin hatching in mid-summer, then young grubs begin feeding on the lawn's roots. In late autumn, the grub burrows 4 to 8 inches into the soil to stay inactive during winter.

In early spring, grubs begin feeding on turf roots. In late spring, they change into pupae. Completing the cycle, adults emerge in about two weeks and begin to feed, usually in mid-June in this area.

Adults have a shiny, metallic-green body about 1/2-inch long with bronze-colored outer wings. In the days before video games and satellite TV, kids would tie a string on the leg of a "June bug" and watch him fly.

June beetles are less destructive cousins of a Japanese beetle. While they look similar, the smaller Japanese beetle has bronze outer wing covers, instead of the green ones of the mid-summer pest.

Adults feed on a wide variety of plants. Favorites include Japanese and Norway maples, apple, plum, cherry and peach trees, roses and grapes. Redbud, dogwood, red oak, yew, violets and hostas are more resistant to an adult beetle.

In between, Japanese beetles may consider some plants like a kid choosing between ice cream or broccoli. Thus, beetles in large numbers may strip leaves from trees and plants in short order if they consider them a delicacy in comparison with other plants available.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Japanese beetle larvae control and damage to turf costs more than $460 million nationwide. In fact, the larvae have gained a reputation as the most widespread turf-grass pest in the U.S.

During spring or late summer, depending on the stage of the life cycle, large areas of turf will have a wilting, droughty look.

Upon a close examination during heavy infestation, sod actually can be rolled back, because roots have been clipped to reveal large amounts of white grubs feeding on the turf.

An insecticide application of an insecticide containing imidacloprid (Merit) in mid-May controls larvae best all season. While some companies promote application of insecticides annually, it makes better environmental sense to treat only if there is a problem.

Thus, Japanese beetle larvae can be scouted in early May or in early fall by digging up a few 8-inch square sections of sod and looking for larvae. If there are more than 10 per square foot, control is warranted.

To control adults beetles, application of a product with carbaryl (Sevin), acephate, malathion or methoxyclor is effective. However, there the effect is not residual.

On individual, valuable plants, daily hand picking is certainly a control method. Traps, available at garden stores, also may assist in control.

There is not enough space for a full discussion of biological controls, but some are available. The controls often take longer to establish, but can be effective longer than chemicals.

A few examples include nematodes, milky spore, parasitic wasps and Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt). Biological controls are not always readily available and vary in effectiveness, so time should be spent researching them before deciding to use them.

Shocked Cheese

Cook, or be cooked. Have a nice day. Smile
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Jun 29, 2006 - 03:46 AM

So, what are you saying? Since this post is in the RP kitchen, I need to know if you saute the beatles or just fry them lmao!

You'll never see it coming
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