Control of the Highly Destructive Japanese Beetle

The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica Newman) is a highly destructive plant pest native to Japan as the name suggests. It is not considered a serious pest in Japan where its natural predators keep populations in check. However it is rampant in the United States where infestations are regularly reported. Strict regulations and pest management strategies have prevented the establishment of the Japanese beetle in other parts of the country.

Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetle

The adult Japanese beetle is approximately ½ an inch long, it has an iridescent metallic green body and copper colored outer wings. Japanese beetles are harmful pests in the larval and adult stages. Adults feed on the foliage and fruits of several hundred species of plants and are a serious threat to American agriculture. The adults consume the leaf material between the veins and leaving large holes in leaves The grubs or larva develop in the soil and feed on the roots of various plants and grasses causing damage to turf on lawns, parks and golf courses.

There is no quick way of getting rid of the Japanese beetle once it is established. However there are chemical, biological and cultural methods that can be employed to manage these pests. The concept of integrated pest management has proven to be a useful, efficient and environmentally sound method of pest control. This method aims to manage pests and not eradicate them as it is realized that control methods may also harm potentially beneficial organisms in the environment. In addition eliminating the pest can cause disruptions in the food web of an ecosystem and can damage the ecosystem.

To control the Japanese beetle a rough estimate of the beetle population should be obtained. This can be done by using mechanical traps for adult beetles which attract adult beetles using a combination of pheromones and floral lures. As a result of their clumsy flying and the design of the trap the beetles are captured by the trap. If beetles fill the trap within a day or so, treatment will be necessary. A random sampling technique can be used to estimate beetle grub populations. A one square foot quadrant can be placed at random locations on the lawn and soil should be dug from these locations using a shovel. Turn the sod over a newspaper and count the number of white grubs visible. If the grub density is over 10 per square foot treatment will be required.

Chemical control methods can be used to manage Japanese beetles however the risks and benefits of the pesticide must be determined prior to using it. Correct timing and application are also essential for successful control. It is important to read and follow the directions and safety precautions when using chemicals. However the use of these chemicals is not encouraged due to the potential environmental threat they pose.

Biological control agents such as parasites, nematodes and fungi can be used to control Japanese beetle populations. These may be a better choice even though they are slower to achieve the desired results. those results are likely to outlast other control methods.

The University of Maine Made a great video on getting rid of Japanese Beetles:

Cultural methods such as habitat manipulation can also be employed to suppress Japanese beetle populations. This includes planting resistant plant species and removing the more susceptible ones. Diseased and malnourished plants are susceptible to attack by beetles. Therefore plants and crops should be kept healthy. Also prematurely ripened fruit should be picked off plants as the odor tends to attract Japanese beetles. Homeowners and cultivators should have a well dispersed variety of plants that favors beetle resistant plant species in order to reduce the level of damage.

It is important to note that these methods do not completely eliminate the Japanese beetle but will keep populations under control and minimize the damage they inflict. People should also be aware of the pest control methods they use and be aware with the costs and risks associated with them. Community efforts such as cooperative pest management programs can go a long way in suppressing Japanese beetle attacks.

Home Termite Control

Termite damage in the home

Termite damage in the home.

Spring, for all its considerable beauty and mild weather, is a source of considerable concern for some. This is because termites tend to come out of the woodwork at around this time to find mates and create new colonies. This is often the first sign homeowners get that they have termites at all. This doesn’t have to happen to you, however. When it comes to home termite control, there are a variety of measures you can take to keep them from entering your home.

A prime measure in preventive home termite control is to research your wood thoroughly if you plan on building a deck or shed. There are a wide selection of high quality wood that is naturally termite resistant. These include cedar, redwood, cypress, sequoia, and many others. In using these for your outdoor utilities, you can do wonders for preventing termite damage to your home, especially if these are located near your home. In addition to choosing these woods, be sure to apply first rate sealers as well for additional protections. Finally, it makes sense to repair any cracks or rotted wood as soon as you spot it.

Another good way to establish home termite control is to get rid of any sources of humidity. If you use a compost pile, be sure to keep it in a far corner of your yard, as termites thrive in these moist, food rich areas. Also try to create a moisture barrier between the earth and any exposed areas of your house near or below the ground. You can achieve this easier if you plant bushes and spread mulch with some distance between your home and the flower bed. Some termite control centers even recommend that you install termite alarm systems or bait traps to prevent any entry.

VIDEO: How To determine If You Have A Termite Problem…

What about inside your house? An important part of home termite control is to keep an eye out for any cracks or holes in your walls or floors. Seal them up as quickly as you can. Again, apply sealer along any wooden areas, including windowsills, counters, and doors as well as wooden floors. The most important step, however, is to keep an eye out for any signs of termites. These include small holes in plaster or plywood. The most prominent sign, of course, is an actual termite sighting. Many homeowners mistakenly think these are ants. Look closely. If the body and antennae are straight and the wings are all one length, you are looking at a termite.

If, for all of your preparations, you discover that your house has termites, don’t panic. Oftentimes it’s easy to imagine termites rendering your house into a moldering wreck within a few months, but the truth of the matter is that serious termite damage takes a considerably long time. If you work to solve the problem the moment you discover it, you’ll be able to destroy the colony at its source. With luck, you’ll never have to worry about it again. Learn more today about more home termite control!