Montreal

The Japanese beetle, an invasive species, has made its way to Quebec City

Originally from Japan and first introduced to the United States in 1910, the beetle has been journeying north ever since.

First introduced to the United States in 1910, the beetle has been journeying north ever since

The Japanese beetle doesn’t discriminate when it comes to which plants it attacks - ornamental plants such as vines and rose bushes and crops are all fair game. (Eugénie Émond/Radio-Canada)

Yet another insect is now chewing its way through gardens and flower beds in Quebec City.

The Japanese beetle, an invasive species which has been present in Montreal for about 15 years, has migrated to the province's capital.

Originally from Japan and first introduced to the United States in 1910, the beetle has been heading north ever since.

"Once it arrives in a new territory, it implants itself pretty easily," said Jacques Brodeur, a biologist and professor at l'Université de Montréal.

Brodeur explained the bugs don't discriminate when it comes to which plants they attack — from ornamental plants such as vines and rose bushes, to certain crops such as apples and berries. They target about 300 different kinds of plants and trees.

And they are pests at multiple stages of life. As larvae, they are buried underground and eat plant roots. Adult beetles eat the plants' leaves.

Leaves after Japanese beetles are done with them. (Olivier Lalande/Radio-Canada)
Brodeur said that there isn't much that can be done about the beetles besides using synthetic pesticides to keep them away.

But there is a natural solution that may help control them — another bug, more specifically, a species of parasitic fly.

Back in the early 1900s when the beetle first appeared in the U.S., researchers went to Japan to study its natural predators.

They returned with the parasitic fly, which lays its eggs on the beetles. Once the eggs hatch, the flies eat the beetles from the inside.

The flies have been around in Montreal for the last two years, Brodeur said, but he warned they aren't going to magically solve the problems caused by the beetles.

"It exerts a certain level of control, but it won't be [the flies] that will completely eradicate the Japanese beetle," he said.

with files from Radio-Canada's Eugénie Émond

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