Common name: Japanese Beetle (JB)
Species: Popillia japonica (Newman)
Adults are around 3/8 inches long; fully developed white grubs (larvae) are 1/2 to 1 inch long.
The adults are bright metallic green with brown coppery wing covers. This species can be distinguished from other scarab beetles by rows of white hair tufts on the abdomen. Females are usually larger than males and can also be identified by the presence of a rounded spine on the front tibia. Males have a sharper spine on the front tibia.
Polyphagous; adults feed on foliage, fruits and flowers of over 300 species of plants in at least 79 plant families.
As the name would suggest, the JB was introduced from Japan. The first recorded JB in the United States was from New Jersey in 1916. Today this pest can be found in most states east of the Mississippi River. Beetles that are west of the Mississippi are found in isolated areas. Regulatory control of this pest and climatic factors are responsible for the lack of beetles in the western U.S.
In Virginia, JB has one generation per year (Figure 2). Adults emerge from grasslands from late June to late July. These adults have a 4-6 week life span in which the females spend mating, laying eggs and eating. A female can deposit 40-60 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch 10-14 days after they are laid in the upper 3 inches of soil. Larvae are called white grubs and develop in the soil throughout the summer months. In the late fall, they burrow deep in the soil to protect themselves from freezing. In the spring, when soil temperatures rise above 50 °F, the grubs start moving towards the soil surface. They then feed on roots and seeds for another 4-8 weeks then pupate in an earthen cell near the soil surface. The prepupal stage lasts for about 10 days and the pupal stage appears 7-17 days later. Teneral adults remain in pupal cells for another 2-14 days before they emerge as adults.
Type of Damage
In caneberries, adult JB chew small holes in the fruit (Figure 3) and skeletonize the leaves (Figure 4). Ripened berries exposed to sunlight are favored. Not only does this chewing damage make the fruit unmarketable, it also makes the plants susceptible to diseases.
Because adult Japanese beetles are highly mobile, management is complex. However, due to the destructive habits of this pest, many different management techniques have been studied. This fact sheet reviews trapping, raspberry host plant preference, biological control, and chemical control.
Adults are attracted to a variety of floral and fruit-like volatile oils. Effective JB traps contain phenethyl propionate, eugenol and geraniol (3:7:3 mixture) in addition to the synthetic sex pheromone, japonilure. The number of beetles captured by these traps increases when captured beetles are removed daily. These traps have not shown significant control in areas where applied. Studies have shown an increase in damage in areas where these traps are present. Therefore, traps are suitable for JB sampling and monitoring but not control.
Raspberry host plant preference
Certain cultivars of primocane bearing raspberries are preferred by JB adults. In a field study conducted in 2007 (Figure 5) and 2008 (Figure 6) near Blacksburg, VA, more than twice as many JB were found on the variety Prelude compared to Anne, Caroline, Dinkum, Heritage and Himbo Top. Fall Gold and Autumn Bliss had intermediate numbers present. Also, in 2008, there was a high percent defoliation on Prelude, Autumn Bliss and Fall Gold varieties (Figure 7). Less defoliation was observed on Dinkum, Caroline and Himbo Top and intermediate defoliation was observed on Anne and Heritage.
There are a few established natural enemies of JB. Two tiphiid wasps, Tiphia vernalis and Tiphia popilliavora, are known to parasitize the grub stage. Istocheta aldrichi, a tachinid fly, parasitizes newly emerged adults. There are several generalist predators that are known to kill JB eggs and young larvae including, ants, staphylinids (rove beetles) and carabids (ground beetles). If turf appearance is not an issue, moles, skunks and raccoons also prey on the grubs. Birds also feed on grubs and adults.
Milky spore disease
Paenibacillus popilliae or milky spore disease is a bacterium that has been used for JB population suppression. The grubs ingest spores of these bacteria while feeding in the soil on grass roots. The spores then germinate and spread through the body causing death. Grubs that fall victim to this bacterium are milky-white from infection, giving the common name of the disease.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
Bt is a soil-dwelling bacterium that is used for grub or adult suppression. There are different strains of BT that contain crystal proteins that are toxic to JB. Bt strains with Cry8Da and Cry8Db proteins are toxic against both adults and larvae. Bt containing the Cry8Ca protein is toxic to only larvae.
The following entomophathogenic nematodes are effective biological control agents for grubs: Steinernema glaseri, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, and Steinernema kushidai. However, since these nematodes only affect grubs, are costly, have limited availability and have a short shelf life they are not the best management tool for JB in a raspberry planting.
Because Japanese beetle adults can damage the ripe fruit which are highly perishable, many commercial growers will protect plants at this stage with insecticide applications. Growers prefer to apply chemicals with a shorter pre-harvest interval. This preference limits the selection of insecticides. Table 1 lists chemicals that are registered for JB control on raspberries in Virginia. The recommended insecticides that have a short pre-harvest interval (0-3 days) include Actara, Assail, Aza-Direct, Brigade, Fanfare, Fyfanon, M-Pede, Mustang Max, PyGanic and Surround. However, Surround leaves an unwanted residue on the berries that can make them unmarketable.
|Table 4. Chemicals that are registered for Japanese beetle control on raspberries in Virginia, 2009.|
|Product Name||Manufacturer||Active Ingredient||REI (hrs)||PHI* (days)||Rate/Acre per|
|Alias 4F||MANA||Imidacloprid||12||7||8.0-16.0 oz.|
|Asana XL||DuPont||Esfenvalerate||12||7||4.8-9.6 oz.|
|Assail 30 SG||United Phosphorus Inc.||Acetamiprid||12||1||4.5-5.3 oz.|
|Assail 70 WP||United Phosphorus Inc.||Acetamiprid||12||1||1.9-2.3 oz.|
|Aza-Direct||Gowan Co.||Azadirachitin||4||0||16.0-56.0 oz.|
|Brigade 2EC||FMC||Bifenthrin||12||3||3.2-6.4 oz.|
|Carbaryl 4L||Drexel||Carbaryl||12||7||32-64 oz.|
|Fanfare 2 EC||MANA||Bifenthrin||12||3||3.2-6.4 oz.|
|M-Pede||Dow AgroSciences LLC||K+ salts of fatty acids||12||0||62.5-125 oz.|
|Mustang Max EC||FMC||zeta-cypermethrin||12||1||4.0 oz.|
|Mustang Max EW||FMC||zeta-cypermethrin||12||1||4.0 oz.|
|PyGanic EC 1.4||MGK Co.||Pyrethrins||12||0||16.0-64.0 oz.|
|PyGanic EC 5.0||MGK Co.||Pyrethrins||12||0||4.5-18.0 oz.|
|Sevin 4F||Bayer CropScience||Carbaryl||12||7||32.0-64.0 oz.|
|Sevin 80S||Bayer CropScience||Carbaryl||12||7||1.25-2.5 lbs.|
|Sevin 80 WSP||Bayer Environmental Science||Carbaryl||12||7||1.25-2.5 lbs.|
|Sevin XLR Plus||Bayer CropScience||Carbaryl||12||7||32.0-64.0 oz.|
|Surround WP||Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.|
|*PHI= Pre Harvest Interval|
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
September 15, 2009