PEI

And you thought June bugs were bad! Meet the Japanese beetle

June bugs, shmoon bugs. An invasive pest called the Japanese beetle is what's keeping some P.E.I. garden experts up at night this season.

Japanese beetle can damage flowers, crops

June bugs, shmoon bugs. An invasive pest called the Japanese beetle is what's keeping some P.E.I. garden experts up at night this season.

As spring arrives on P.E.I. and gardeners get busy outdoors, wildlife officials are asking Islanders to keep an eye out for the Japanese beetle.

"It's closely related to the June bug, which is plentiful this time of year, but thankfully, far less common," said P.E.I. landscape technician David Carmichael.

So far, P.E.I.'s Japanese beetle infestation seems to be mainly in the Charlottetown region and in areas west of the city.

We've had some warm days this spring. That's going to be working in the beetle's favour.– David Carmichael

"We are always happy to hear from people who come across the insect.  It helps us keep track of where it is, so we know if it begins to spread, " Carmichael said.

"This past winter was mild. We've had some warm days this spring. That's going to be working in the beetle's favour."

The Japanese beetle was first found on P.E.I. eight years ago. Forestry officials suspect it may have come to the Island on a vehicle.

Can harm crops

It eats roots and leaves of a wide range of plants, and can harm ornamental garden flowers as well as commercially valuable crops such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

"We often find it on roses and on mountain ash in people's gardens," Carmichael said.

The Japanese beetle looks a lot like a June bug, but smaller. It's more colourful, with a metallic brown and traces of metallic green on its back.

Unlike the June bug, the Japanese beetle has hair-like tufts around the edges of its abdomen.

Adult Japanese beetles will emerge mid-July to begin mating.

Carmichael and staff of the forests division will be ready.

Traps set up

"We have 15 or 16 traps we set up all across the province to monitor numbers and distribution," he said.

The distinctive green and yellow plastic traps are hung in trees and shrubs, mainly in provincial parks across the province, and on some other sites.

They're labelled with information that identifies them as government property.

Anyone coming across one of the traps is asked to leave it alone, or, if it's been damaged, to contact the province.

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