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Is the Japanese Beetle really from Japan?

1024px-Popillia_japonicaIf it is a Japanese Beetle, it should come from Japan, right? But is that really true? Yes, this beetle is a native of Japan and originally found there. It was not until 1916 that the first beetle of this species made its way to the United States. It is commonly accepted that this beetle arrived amid a shipment of iris bulbs. This would have been before 1912 when customs agents began inspecting all shipments of bulbs that entered the United States.


The Japanese Beetle’s official species name is Popillia Japonica. It is a little over half an inch long and a little less than half an inch wide. It features copper colored wings and a green body and head. In its home country of Japan it is relatively non-destructive, but in the United States, it is not naturally hunted by other predators. It is very destructive to over 200 plants and flowers in North America.

Plants It Attacks

The species of plants these beetles attack include rose bushes, hops, grapes and birch trees. The damage done by this beetle comes from its eating of the leaf material between the veins of the plant. This is referred to as the skeletonizing of the foliage. Also, if there is fruit present on the plant, it will feed on that too. Trapping these beetles is difficult because it does not fly well. It will usually fall several centimeters after bumping into a wall.


In most parts of the United States, the lifecycle of the Japanese Beetle occurs over the period of a year. However, in cooler regions of the United States and North America that lifespan can be expanded. At home in Japan, these beetle have an extended lifecycle of two years due to the higher altitudes. The Japanese Beetle goes through four life stages: eggs, larva, pupa and finally adult beetles.

When the Japanese Beetle is in the larva stage it will live in your lawn and other grassy areas. In this stage of its lifecycle, the beetle is susceptible to milky spore disease, which comes from a group of bacteria called milky spore. The USDA created a form of this bacterium to be used on lawns. However, it can take between a year and five years to reach its full potential.

If you believe your yard, plants and trees are suffering from a Japanese Beetle infestation, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.


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