Japanese beetles add to drought impact on gardens

PITTSBURG, Kan. – More 4-State residents are noticing the impact of Japanese beetles this summer.

Weather caused them to emerge later than normal, according to Horticulture Agent Jesse Gilmore. He’s with the K-State Research and Extension based in Girard. They’ll do most of their feeding from June to September, depending on when the adults emerge.

This summer, they’re emerging as the drought continues. This is making the pests more prevalent for gardeners, damaging their already thirsty plants.

Gilmore tells KOAM’s Keri Worthen that Japanese beetle adults are one of the most destructive insect pests of horticultural plants. This is in both landscapes and gardens. They are generally in large populations. He says they move around the shrub and consume the plant tissue leaving behind skeletonized leaves.

Gilmore says the most effective way to get rid of these bugs is by using contact pesticides.

You can learn more from Gilmore by watching the video above.

Local Business Impact of Japanese Beetles

One local business owner tells Worthen the bugs are eating the foliage and blooms of all their plants, especially zinnias.

Soulful Stems Flower Farm is located in Miami, Oklahoma. Owner Holly Morgan says the beetles are also highly attracted to rose bushes. She catches them most in the early morning or evening hours. “I pick them off the plants and drop them into water (with or without soap),” Morgan tells Worthen. “In only a few days worth of collecting them off my plants, I started seeing less and less. Now I only find 1 or 2 every couple days.”

Morgan says she’s seen a person in Colorado with a larger flower farm use a cordless vacuum to suck them off her plants and then dispose of them. “Some people use traps, but the problem with those is that it attracts more beetles to your garden and not all of them end up in the trap,” states Morgan.

The K-State Department of Entomology agrees: “The use of Japanese beetle traps is not recommended since the floral lure and synthetically-derived sex pheromone may attract more adults into an area than would “normally” occur. Japanese beetle adults may also feed on roses before reaching the traps, which increases potential damage.”

The bigger issue Morgan says she has is the striped blister beetles. “They have come in by the hundreds and devoured my plants in only a few hours. I finally got rid of them, but had to use pesticides.”

You can learn more about Japanese beetles from the K-State University Extension Entomology blog here.



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