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News : Tim Gibb Says Beetle Mania May Come Early

Tim Gibb Says Beetle Mania May Come Early
by Curt Slyder Journal and Courier
Japanese beetles

A warmer than average spring could usher in some unwelcome visitors.

A Purdue insect expert is saying Japanese beetles could be arriving earlier than normal this summer.

"This year the beetle emergence was a little earlier than normal," said Purdue Extension entomologist Tim Gibb. "They usually emerge from the ground around the first or second week in June. It was late May this year."

That means the metallic green and bronze beetles that feast on the leaves of numerous types of plants could be around longer this summer.

But a number of local gardeners haven't noticed them in the area yet.

"I've seen some potato beetles on our potatoes," said Dave Hynes of Lafayette who tends a garden at Purdue Village Garden near the Purdue Airport. But he's yet to see any Japanese beetles.

Hynes said he would keep his eyes open for the insects, likely controlling them by just picking them off the leaves.

Japanese beetles lay their eggs in turfgrass, Gibb said. The eggs typically hatch in late July, with the new insects becoming grubs in August and September.

Gibb suggests people normally treat their lawns for grubs in first or second week of August. "This year, I'd treat them by the latter days of July," he said.

For the beetles, Gibb suggested treating trees and plants with insecticides containing pyrethrin or carbaryl.

People can also pick the insects off the leaves, dousing them in a can or bucket of water mixed with detergent to kill them, Gibb said.

For the grubs, Gibb suggested preventive insecticides applied as early as this month. If anyone sees damage to their lawn, he can apply a rescue treatment, he said.

But in all cases, people should follow the directions on the label, Gibb said.