Common name: Japanese Beetle
Scientific name: Popillia japonica
Status in Hawaii: Not known to be present in Hawaii
A small metallic-green beetle with a host range of over 300 plants. The soil-borne larvae munch roots of turf crops and skeletonize leaves and flowers.
- Soil-dwelling larvae feed on plant roots reducing the ability of grass to take up water during times of stress and causing dead patches and destroying turf.
- Adults feed on leaves and flowers, skeletonizing the leaf surface. They are most active on warm sunny days.
- Estimated to be the single most destructive and widespread pest of turf, landscape, and ornamental plants in the eastern US, costing approximately $450 million each year in management alone.
- Adult is a small, attractive oval-shaped beetle, 8 to 12 mm (1/3- 1/2 inch) long and 6 mm (1/4 inch) wide. They are metallic green with bronze wing covers. Note the 5 patches of white hairs on either side of the abdomen that differentiates this beetle from similar-looking beetles. Look for aggregations of beetles on the leaves and flowers of the most vulnerable plants.
- Eggs are laid deep in the soil and under the turf.
- Indications of pest infestation include leaves that are skeletonized and flower damage.
- Over 300 species of plants are known to be host to Japanese beetles.
- Primary hosts are Acer (maples), Asparagus, Glycine (soybean), Malus (ornamental apple), Rubus (blackberry, raspberry), Tliia (basswood,linden), Vitis (grapes) and Zea (corn).
- Native to Japan but spread to China, Russia, Portugal, Canada, and the US.
- In the U.S. it has become established in at least 30 states and is found in all states east of and bordering the Mississippi River with the exception of Florida.
- It has been intercepted repeatedly in quarantine on Oahu.
Best Management Practices
- This species is not found in Hawaii. Prevention and early detection efforts protect Hawaii’s nursery industry and environment.
- Consider sourcing options and pest distribution when purchasing plants.
- BOLO: Be on the lookout! Carefully inspect host plants for Japanese beetles, particularly if leaves are skeletonized or flowers are damaged.
- Report suspected beetles to 643pest.org, or by phone to 643-PEST (7378).
Other Nursery Pests
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This material was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS’ views.