Watch out for this invasive Japanese beetle, state officials ask
Driving the news: The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) confirmed the finding of a Japanese beetle in Pasco on July 12.
- Popillia japonica are about one-half inch long with metallic green heads and thoraxes, copper-brown wing covers and little tufts of white hair on their sides.
Catch up quick: Native to Japan, the Japanese beetle was first found in the United States in 1916 in New Jersey and since then has spread to 28 states and three Canadian provinces, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is considered a major threat to the agriculture and flora of the Western United States, the department says.
- In Washington state, three Japanese beetles were discovered in the Grandview area in 2020.
- In 2021, the department trapped more than 24,000 beetles, and in 2022, trappers caught fewer than 24,000.
- So far this year, teams have caught about 6,600 beetles in the state, per WSDA.
What's next: Residents that live in an area where the beetles have been detected can consult WSDA's website for guidance from Washington State University Extension on protecting their gardens. They can limit potential spread by not moving plants, yard waste or soil from their property.
- Adult beetles can also hitchhike on vehicles and items that have been stored outdoors, so all Washington residents are being asked to be on the lookout for the pests.
- If you see one, take a picture and report it online.
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