Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Backyard Pest

Its that time again! Who doesn’t hate the Japanese beetle and the destruction it leaves in its path? The adult Japanese beetle is a little less than 1/2 inch long and has a shiny, metallic-green body with bronze colored outer wings. Both as adults and as grubs (the larval stage), Japanese
beetles are destructive plant pests. Adults feed on the foliage and fruits of several hundred species of fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, and field and vegetable crops. Adults leave behind skeletonized leaves and large, irregular holes in leaves. The grubs develop in the soil, feeding on the roots of various plants and grasses and often destroying turf in lawns, parks, golf courses, and pastures.

This highly destructive plant pest of foreign origin was first found in the US in a nursery in southern New Jersey in 1916. In its native Japan, where the beetle's natural enemies keep its populations in check, this insect is not a serious plant pest. With favorable conditions in the US the beetle infestation has grown to become a serious plant pest and a threat to American

During the feeding period, females intermittently leave plants, burrow about 3 inches into the ground—usually into turf—and lay a few eggs. This cycle is repeated
until she lays 40 to 60 eggs. By midsummer, the eggs hatch, and the young grubs
begin to feed. In late autumn, the grubs burrow 4 to 8 inches into the soil and remain inactive all winter. This insect spends about 10 months of the year in the ground in the larval stage. In early spring, the grubs return to the turf and continue to feed on roots until late spring, when they change into pupae. In about 2 weeks, the pupae become adult beetles and emerge from the ground. This life cycle takes a year.

No quick fixes can rid homeowners of the Japanese beetle once it becomes established. However, scientists with the USDA, ARS and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have developed an integrated pest management (IPM) program for homeowners based on field experiences. The program combines biological, cultural, and chemical strategies. It will be effective if homeowners are willing to monitor both adult and larval beetle populations closely and implement this program with neighbors and their local agricultural or horticultural organizations.

IPM attempts to manage pests, not to eradicate them, while at the same time exerting minimal impact on the environment. IPM uses biological, cultural, mechanical, and chemical controls to keep pest populations below levels that cause economic damage. Because tolerance to
the presence of insect pests varies among individuals, the choice of control methods will reflect the management objectives of the user.

Why Follow an IPM Program?
Here are a few reasons:
■ Automatically and routinely applying pesticides can be counterproductive, economically wasteful, and environmentally unsound.
■ The Japanese beetle is here to stay. Therefore, we must learn to “live with” or manage this insect pest while attempting to minimize its impacts.
■ It is not necessary to eliminate the beetle in order to protect your trees, plants, and lawn.
■ It is hard to predict when and where Japanese beetle populations will increase, and there is no guaranteed control formula to follow. Intermittent monitoring and appropriate planning are necessary for adequate management of this landscape pest.

If you battle this pest from year to year you may want to do more reading. Start with the attached links:

For more information on the beetle check this Clemson Home and Garden Link: http://entweb.clemson.edu/eiis/pdfs/to5.PDF
For more on IPM see this link : http://entweb.clemson.edu/pesticid/saftyed/PestIPM.htm

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