For the City Times
Seeing a lot of brown and green shiny insects around your yard lately? You’re not alone.
The Portage County UW-Extension office has seen an increase in calls regarding this voracious little critter, some callers stating there are “thousands” of them eating every plant in sight.
This nonnative beetle was first found in New Jersey in 1916 and has since spread to the Midwest, according to a news release from the UW-Extension. The adult Japanese beetle feeds on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, trees, shrubs and flowers, eating the soft tissue between the veins leaving a lace-like skeleton.
“Our milder winter has played a factor in the increased beetle population this year,” the release said in part.
The insects are expected to remain in the area through the end of August — so what can you do?
A few tips from UW-Extension:
Hand picking – The presence of beetles on a plant attracts more beetles- daily removal will reduce the number by ½ compared to plants that allow the beetles to accumulate. Beetles can be killed by knocking them into a bucket of soapy water.
Chemical control – Many landscape sprays will control adult beetles but may need to be applied every 5-10 days. Read the product label.
Don’t use traps – Although they capture thousands of beetles research shows that plants near traps get much more damage than plants in areas of with no traps. Beetles are drawn into trap areas and those that are not captured are more likely to lay eggs in turf areas nearby.
During the summer months your Portage County UW-Extension office has a part-time master gardener/horticulture assistant to help with plant and insect identification, plant diseases, gardening tips, soil and turf testing and much more. The master gardner is available Tuesday – Friday from 9 AM until 1 PM, and can be reached at (715) 346-1589 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.