Invasive Animal

Japanese beetle

Popillia japonica

About This Species

Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is an invasive pest in North America and poses a severe threat to ecosystems and industries. Adult Japanese beetles can feed on over 300 species of plants, including many species of agricultural and horticultural importance. Adult beetles damage plants by skeletonizing leaves. Beetle larvae live underground and feed exclusively on the roots of turf and grasses, leaving patches of brown grass in otherwise healthy lawns.  

Japanese beetles first established in North America in 1916 in the eastern United States and have since been slowly moving westward. Isolated populations occasionally appear in western states such as Washington and Oregon, though active eradication is underway.

Japanese beetles were first found in BC in July 2017 in downtown Vancouver.  While the population is centralized around the False Creek area,  trapping results in Burnaby and Port Coquitlam in recent years have led to the expansion of movement control restrictions in Vancouver and the addition of a regulated area in Burnaby. A revised regulated area later came into effect on March 19,  2022, and includes areas within the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver,  BC. 

If P. japonica were to establish in BC, it would have a serious economic impact on our agriculture and turf industries. While Japanese beetles in BC are monitored year-round, adult beetles emerge from hibernation around June, when temperatures consistently reach above 21 °C. The end of their hibernation period marks the beginning of additional restrictions to control their spread. 

How to Identify

Adult beetles are around 1 cm long, with a rounded oval shape and a hard shiny green exoskeleton and brown wing covers. The best defining characteristic of this beetle is the six tufts of white hairs running down either sides of the abdomen– no other beetle in BC has this pattern.

Refer to the Japanese Beetle Look-alikes Factsheet to compare the Japanese beetle with similar looking insects found in BC.

Credit: D. Cappert, bugwood.org

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prevention tips

 

To reduce the risk of human-assisted movement of Japanese beetle, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) implements movement control restrictions to prohibit the movement of soil and plant material from leaving the regulated area. As the movement of soil, plants with soil attached, and above-ground plant parts are the main ways Japanese beetle spreads to new locations, limiting movement reduces the risk of spread. Restrictions apply to the following categories: 

  • The movement of soil and rooted plants (plants with attached soil) is restricted year-round. 
  • The movement of plants and plant parts with no soil attached (above-ground plant parts) out of a regulated area is restricted between June 15 and October 15, to coincide with the adult Japanese beetle flying season.  

The best way to control Japanese beetle is to prevent it from spreading. Where possible, it is encouraged to leave yard waste on-site or use your municipal green bin. If the yard waste must be moved out of a regulated area in Vancouver or Burnaby, it can only be accepted at the Vancouver South Transfer Station and the Burnaby Eco-Centre respectively, and all landscapers and residents must have a CFIA-issued movement certificate to move the regulated articles there. For more information about the Regulated Area, Regulations and Movement Certificates, visit www.inspection.gc.ca/JB 

If you live in the affected areas in parts of Vancouver or Burnaby receiving treatment and would like to learn more about having your private property treated please contact AgriServiceBC@gov.bc.ca. 

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