The North Dakota Department of Agriculture announced last week that one of their plant protection specialists had positively identified a Japanese Beetle submitted to the NDSU Extension's Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab from Grand Forks; and later more specimens were also found in West Fargo traps.
Another release issued Monday by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring requested that North Dakota home and property owners check recently purchased nursery stock for the infestation, noting the apparent source is a Minnesota nursery stock provider.
Goehring said anyone who has purchased shrubs, trees or flowers this year should inspect the plants carefully and remove and kill any Japanese beetles found. "We do not believe this pest has become established yet in North Dakota," he added, "and we don't want it to be a permanent resident."
The Agricultural Department is working with the supplier which has agreed to take the necessary, additional steps to ensure that no more of these insects are coming to the state. At the same time, the supplier is working with their growers to deal with the pest at the source before the plants are sent to them for distribution."
Goehring said that an additional 100 Japanese beetle traps have been placed in and near nurseries that have purchased stock from the supplier. The department currently has about 80 traps set out.
The half-inch-long, adult beetles are metallic green with bronze wing covers. Females lay up to 60 eggs during their two-month lifespan. The eggs hatch in two weeks and the larva overwinter below the frostline, feeding on plant roots in the soil. Adults begin to emerge in mid-June through September.
This recent reporting marked the second time in 11 years that this serious plant pest has been detected in the state. They are more common in the eastern U.S. Native to Japan and first discovered in the U.S. in 1916, the Japanese beetle is now found in nearly every state east of the Mississippi River, as well as Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana.
This beetle is mainly a pest of trees, defoliating a broad range of plants, including corn, soybeans, ornamentals, trees, and shrubs, especially roses and lindens.
Regarding the West Fargo detection, West Fargo City Forester Yvette Gehrke said there was a resident who thought they saw a beetle and reported it so three traps were hung, with one beetle reported in one, nine in another, and zero in the third.
As of right now, she said the beetle is not considered a problem in the city, adding local staff is taking their direction from the department of agriculture and "doing what they tell us to do. At this time, it is more of a wait and see what comes out of it type thing."
The plan is to do more testing with more traps to see if any more beetles are detected. She said that once a beetle enters a trap, all the beetles tend to flock to it, because of the lures placed there to attract the pest.
The trappings will continue through September and continue next season to monitor whether any beetles have overwintered in the state.
Homeowners are encouraged to contact their county extension agent if they suspect any Japanese Beetles. For additional information on Japanese beetles, visit www.nd.gov/ndda or the University of Minnesota Extension website, http://www.extension.umn.edu.