Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetle on button bush


We can’t talk about flower visitors without mentioning a famously unwelcome one, the Japanese Beetle. As its name indicates, it is originally from Japan. It was accidentally introduced with live plants in New Jersey almost a century ago and it has been spreading steadily since. If you live in the Eastern United States you can be sure to have seen it, most likely devouring your flowers. Its westward march is aided by the plant trade. It has shown up now and then in most western states.

Several Japanese Beetles on common milkweed


We must admit that it is a pretty beetle, with its metallic colors; the wing covers are red or copper red and the pronotum is green. It has tufts of white hairs bordering the abdomen. It is robust, oval-shaped, approximately 3/8″ in length, not a good flyer. It tends to stay in groups feeding on leaves or petals. When molested sometimes stretches a leg or two in self defense and continues eating.

It is not known to be a pollinator, rather it is more likely to cause harm to flowers. When you find one it may not be a pretty picture.

Habitat: Gardens, farm fields.

Season: Mostly June and July. Also in later months.

Flowers: They seem to have a preference for ornamentals such as roses; but almost any kind of flower will do. They also feed on native flowers, like milkweeds and many members of the daisy family.

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