Japanese Beetle is here to stay, experts

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) Not even this year’s historic floodwaters were enough to drown out one the peskiest bugs to arrive in the region in recent years.

Photo: Lamba / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 (MGN)

"Drown them, that would probably cause them to run out of oxygen,” said Dr. Ted Burk, an entomologist at Creighton University, said floodwaters will only keep the bugs at bay temporarily.

"The trouble with the Japanese Beetle is that they're very good flyers, they're very good dispersers, so even if they didn't grow up in a place that doesn't mean they're not going to come in there later,” said Dr. Burk.

The Japanese Beetle first arrived in noticeable droves a couple of years ago. Feeding on more than 300 types of shrubs and trees, they leave nothing but skeletons behind.

"You often have several years when there are very, very large numbers and then they kind of settle back into the background,” said Dr. Burk. “They never go away but they just become a normal part of the biological community."

The professionals working to mitigate the bugs’ damage can only do so much.

"The only thing we can do is control, for tree health specifically,” said Jennifer Morris, an arborist with ABS Tree Care. “We cannot eradicate anything."

The experts warn about treating the beetles in the extreme heat.

“When you read the label it will tell you,” said Morris. “You might not want to spray at a certain temperature or humidity level."

Morris said you can actually damage or even kill a plant by treating it when it’s too hot.

One of the best treatments is one of the simplest, said experts.
"In many cases, the best thing you can do is go out with a bucket of soapy water and knock them off individually into the water,” said Dr. Burk.

They also noted that the Japanese Beetle traps are not a good idea; they will attract more bugs to a property.