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Southeast Regional Reports

The Fight Against Japanese Beetles

How to recognize and control these early summer pests

A Japanese beetle eating the flower of a rose (Rosa cv., Zones 3–9). Photo: Paula Gross.

When summer begins in your garden, whether on the patio or in the landscape, an ecosystem of living organisms brings insects to the front and center. The appearance of Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) marks the month of June in the upper Southeast. With the beetles come the conversations: “Will they be bad this year?,” “Don’t bother with the traps, you know,” “I think I’m just going to get rid of my roses if I have to look at one more beetle orgy ruining my blooms!”

Take a closer look

You may already be more familiar than you would like to be with the Japanese beetle, an accidentally introduced pest that is now a permanent resident in the eastern and midwestern United States. Japanese beetles are a species of Asian scarab beetles, about half an inch long with metallic green heads and bodies, coppery wing shields, and six short…

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