What Is Japanese Beetle? | Detection & Prevention in Vancouver

September 19, 2022

In 2017 unfortunate news was confirmed that the Japanese beetle, a voracious and extremely damaging pest to landscape and forest plants, was detected in the False Creek area of Vancouver. According to CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), people need to be on high alert as to not spread this invasive pest further across Metro Vancouver. Though it does not pose a risk to human health or food safety, the damage to urban landscapes is unsightly and costly. However the biggest risk is for transporting this pest to other areas is through moving plant or plant debris. The economic impact on BC trade and exports would be devastating should this pest makes its way to forests or nursery greenhouses.


What is Japanese Beetle?

The Japanese beetle is a small insect that carries a big threat. They do not discriminate on what types of plants they feed on. In fact, they are classified as a pest to hundreds of different species of plants. They are one of the major pests causing monumental damage to crops and forests in North America each year.

Photo by Invasive Species Council of BC


How To Detect Damage From Japanese Beetle

The CFIA has set traps expanding throughout Metro Vancouver to track the spread of the beetle. They are tied to trees or posts and gives off a scent that attracts the beetle. There are also regulations on how soil is dumped in infested zones to minimize spread.  But you can do your part to keep a watchful eye on their spread too. Using the life cycle chart below, you can dig up sections of your lawn to find the grubs, or inspect the plant foliage in your garden for any signs of infestation.

Photo by Lawn Love

Japanese Beetles are half an inch in length with metallic blue-green heads, copper backs, tan wings, and small white hairs lining each side of the abdomen. They typically feed in small groups and can devour most of the foliage on favoured plants like roses. Look for leaves that are “skeletonized” (only have veins remaining) as this is a telltale sign they are present.

Photo by Gardening Know How

They lay eggs in the soil in summer, which develop into tiny white grubs. These grubs will remain under wraps for about 10 months, overwintering and growing in the soil while feeding on grass and plant roots.

Photo by Government of BC

The grubs emerge from the soil as adult beetles and begin feeding and mating in early summer, starting the cylce over again. They usually attack plants in groups, which is why damage is so severe. Although the lifecycle of the adult Japanese Beetle is barely 40 days, it can still cover a lot of ground through flying long distances.


How To Prevent and Control Japanese Beetle Infestations

Repeated annual treatments are the best option to control this pest. For general preventive maintenance, experts recommend keeping your landscape healthy by removing diseased and poorly nourished plants from your landscape.

Good horticultural practices, including watering and fertilizing, will reduce the damage caused by these beetles, but oftentimes other conventional methods of control will be needed.

The Japanese Beetle is a prolific breeder. So even if you succeed in controlling the Japanese Beetle population on your property, your neighbour’s beetles will likely still come on over. Be on alert and take immediate action as soon as this pest is detected, keeping in mind that the most effective control is when they are in the larval stage.


Hire A Professional Landscaper To Treat Japanese Beetle On Your Property

At Para Space, we care about your landscape and the environment. Our pest control methods are environmentally sound and sustainable. We are actively engaged in the research and development of innovative and alternative pest control practices. We have been working with various levels of government as part of the Japanese Beetle Action Team to help eradicate this invasive pest from the Vancouver False Creek area. Our knowledgeable and accredited staff can help provide a thorough plant health management program specific to your landscape needs.

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