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Japanese Beetle Shipped Into North Dakota (07/06/17)

Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, has been moving westward since its first detection in the U.S. in 1916 in New Jersey.

Japanese Beetle Shipped Into North Dakota

Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, has been moving westward since its first detection in the U.S. in 1916 in New Jersey. It is established in neighboring states: Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana. On June 21st, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) discovered Japanese beetle larvae in nursery stock (trees and shrubs) from Bailey Nursery of Minnesota. About 80 percent of North Dakota’s nursery stock comes from Bailey Nurseries. About 786 different trees and shrubs and a total of more than 103,000 container stock was shipped to 67 ND nursery facilities and could potentially be infested by Japanese beetle. However, the NDDA estimates that only 5% of the trees and shrubs were infested. For reporting Japanese beetles infested plants from Bailey Nurseries shipments, please go to the NDDA website at

The NDDA has been monitoring for Japanese beetle with pheromone traps since 1960. Japanese beetle first was detected in North Dakota in 2001 in Bismarck, but it did not become established. In 2012, the Japanese beetle was detected at several locations across North Dakota. Upon investigation, the source of the infestation was identified as one nursery that shipped Japanese beetle-infested nursery stock into North Dakota. Since that time, Japanese beetle has been intercepted every year. Currently, Japanese beetle has been intercepted in 15 counties and is likely established in 4 counties including Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks and Ward (see map).


Japanese beetle is a highly destructive plant pest that feeds on more than 300 host plants, including field crops (especially corn and soybeans), ornamental trees and shrubs, garden flowers and vegetables, and turf (lawns, pastures and golf courses). Some of the preferred host plants of adult beetles found in North Dakota are rose, apple, black cherry, cherry, flowering crabapple, plum, grapes, hollyhock, blackberry, raspberry, linden, elm and buckeye. Adult feeding injury causes defoliation and skeletonized appearance of leaves. Grubs (larvae) feed primarily in the root zones of grasses in pastures, golf courses, cemeteries and home lawns.

Pheromone traps are an effective method of monitoring for both male and female Japanese beetles (Figure 1). Pheromone lures contain both a floral and sex pheromone that can attract beetles more than ½ mile away. The NDDA has placed about 1,500 traps in every county across the state with cooperation from the NDSU Extension Service, Master Gardeners and volunteers. Pheromone traps also are being monitored at each nursery that received recent plants from Bailey Nurseries. Pheromone traps and lures are available at local garden supply stores and cost less than $10 per trap.

For adult Japanese beetle identification, the following characters are used:

  • About ½ inch long
  • Metallic green thorax and coppery-brown wing covers with a purple sheen in sunlight
  • Five patches of white hairs on each side of the abdomen, and one white patch on the last abdominal segment (see red arrows on Figure 2).

The white-cream and C-shaped grubs (larvae) are more difficult to identify than adults. It requires using a 10x hand lens or microscope. Look at the posterior end for the pattern of hairs (rasters) that form a ‘V’ shape just below the anal slit (Figure 3). For help with identification, please go to your local County Extension office or call the NDSU Plant Diagnostic Laboratory at 701-231-7851.














For more control information, see the NDSU Extension Service publication on Integrated Pest Management of Japanese Beetle in North Dakota E1631. If only a few plants are infested with a low numbers of beetles, please remove them by hand and place beetles into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. Japanese beetle has a strong attractant and one beetle will attract many beetles. So, it is important to remove beetles daily from plants when practical. We want to prevent Japanese beetle from becoming established in North Dakota.

For a radio message alerting the public to look for Japanese beetles, listen to Ag Sound Advice on June 29, 2017.



Charles Elhard

ND Department of Agriculture


Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomology

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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