Japanese beetles are swarming Missouri
June 27, 2009

Virginia creeper is one of the plants Japanese beetles enjoy eating voraciously.

Adult Japanese beetles are on the move in southwest Missouri and they have brought an appetite with them according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

These insects can quickly defoliate over 300 different types of ornamental landscape plants by eating the tissue between the veins of leaves and flowers, a type of feeding called skeletonizing.

Trees and shrubs most attractive to adults include: Japanese and Norway maple, birch and pin oak, sycamore, plums, elm and cherry trees, rose, willows, lindens and Virginia creeper. The grubs will also feed on a wide variety of plant roots of ornamentals and turfgrasses.

"Roses, crepe myrtle, grapes and the Japanese maple seem to be this beetle's favorite food. The main concern in our area is adult beetle damage to broad-leaved plants," said Byers.

Adult Japanese beetles are a brilliant, metallic green color, generally oval, 3/8 inch long and one-quarter of an inch wide. The wing covers are copper-brown and the abdomen has a row of five tufts of white hairs on each side. These white tufts are essential to the insect identity.

According to Byers, there are four main control strategies available to the homeowner:


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