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Expect Japanese beetles earlier this year


Linda Geist
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185

Photo available for this release:

Japanese beetles enjoy dining on more than 400 different plant species.

Credit: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia,

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Story source:

Ben Puttler, 573-882-1457

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Japanese beetles are back in full force in Missouri. Expect them two weeks earlier than normal, says University of Missouri Extension entomologist Ben Puttler.

Puttler traps Japanese beetles and other pests. He already sees larger-than-normal counts of Japanese beetles this year. Wet weather creates conditions favorable for earlier emergence.

The gregarious eaters chomp holes in plant leaves. Their favorite foods are linden trees and roses. They also feed on soybean, corn and wheat.

Japanese beetles can cause significant damage if uncontrolled. They target corn tassels and silks, reducing pollination and production. They move in groups to feed high on host plants that give off strong, sweet odors.

The beetles are metallic green with bronze- or copper-colored wings and 12 white tufts of hair around the shell.

Numbers usually peak in July, but expect the dime-sized beetles in June this year, Puttler says.

Adults lay eggs June through July. They overwinter in the soil as grubs or larvae and mature the following spring. Adults can live up to 60 days.

Carbaryl, widely available under the brand name Sevin, is an over-the-counter insecticide for homeowners. Crop producers can find pest control information in MU Extension’s “2015 Missouri Pest Management Guide: Corn, Grain Sorghum, Soybean, Winter Wheat, Rice, Cotton,” which is available for free download at

Other resources

MU Integrated Pest Management’s Japanese beetle page:

“Beetle Mania,” a 2011 video news story: