Japanese beetles found in Wapato, 30 miles from Grandview infestation area | Local

After discovering Japanese beetles in the Grandview area two summers ago, state officials said the invasive species had the potential to quickly spread to adjacent areas.

Those fears came to fruition this week when Washington State Department of Agriculture officials confirmed that Japanese beetles had been found in Wapato, nearly 30 miles from the Grandview infested area.

“While we have detected beetles outside the proposed quarantine area for Japanese beetles around Grandview, finding one so far from the main infestation indicates that the beetles are spreading rapidly – possibly through human movement of the pest,” said Camilo Acosta, the WSDA’s Japanese beetle. eradication coordinator.

After hearing about the insects on local television and radio, a concerned Wapato citizen contacted the WSDA pest control program on Monday after catching three suspected Japanese beetles in his garden. The pest ate peas and grapes.

WSDA crews responded, found evidence of beetle damage to multiple plants, and collected and confirmed the owner’s Japanese beetle specimens, Acosta reported.

Officials are urging growers in Yakima and Benton counties to watch for the beetles and consult crop protection specialists or WSU Extension for advice on protecting their crops from this invasive pest.

The valley problem started in 2020

First found in New Jersey in 1916, Japanese beetles eat more than 300 types of plants, including roses, grapes and hops. Adult beetles damage plants by skeletonizing leaves. Adults also feed on buds, flowers, and fruit on plants and are frequently intercepted on fruit transported from the eastern United States.

A Grandview resident first noticed the beetles on her roses in 2020. This prompted the WSDA to deploy 1,900 traps across the state in 2021 to assess the extent of the problem.

About 900 traps were set in a 49 square mile area around Grandview, and those traps caught 24,048 beetles, Acosta said. Almost all of the beetles found in Washington were concentrated in this mostly residential area, prompting WSDA officials to begin their eradication plan this year.

Japanese beetle larvae are found in soil associated with the roots of host plants. They are common under grass and turf and can be moved into potted plants, said Amber Betts, WSDA media relations coordinator. She noted that the beetles can lay 60 to 100 eggs, which means there will likely be far more than 24,000 beetles in southeast Yakima County this year.

Larvae were first found this year on June 13 at Grandview, and many adult insects followed. So far this year, teams have caught about 8,300 beetles, Betts reported.

Eradication in progress

In May, lawn care services company Senske began spraying insecticide to kill beetle larvae in a 3,100-acre area centered around Grandview, Acosta said. He estimated that there were 4,200 properties in the processing area.

WSDA mapping specialists have created a real-time detection map that growers can use to determine if they are within a mile of a known WSDA Japanese beetle detection.

“Last year we established a baseline by determining where the beetles were through intensive trapping. The first step towards eradication was taken earlier this year by treating lawns – where the larvae thrive. – with insecticide in the infestation area of ​​Grandview and surrounding areas,” Acosta said. “This is the first step in what will be a multi-year process.”

Although applied this spring, the treatments only impact next year’s beetle population, he noted.

Last week, the WSDA opened a Beetle Response Japanese Garden Waste Drop-Off Site at 875 Bridgeview Road in Grandview. Residents living in the infestation area of ​​Grandview and surrounding areas are asked to bring their yard waste there. The site is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, and there is no disposal fee, the WSDA said Friday.

To enter the gated yard trash drop area, residents must show identification and proof of residence in the infestation area. Accepted documents include utility or water bills that match ID or driver’s license.

Items accepted for deposit include brush, branches and roots; leaves; grass clippings; fruit and vegetable garnishes; weeds; flowers; plants; shrubs; grass; stumps if the roots are attached; and topsoil containing plant material.

The public hearing is Tuesday

The next steps in the eradication effort include setting traps in and around the area of ​​infestation and any new detection sites and establishing a quarantine area to prohibit the movement of items. likely to transport Japanese beetles to new areas.

A public hearing on whether to adopt this quarantine proposal is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Learning Center, 313 Division St., Grandview, or online. Further information on the rules language or the rulemaking process can be found on the WSDA’s rulemaking webpage.

With thousands of beetles already seen at Grandview and new evidence of the pests at Wapato, the WSDA is hosting a virtual open house at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 4. Community members can join in to learn more about the situation and ask questions, Betts said. Residents will hear from state experts and learn about plans to try to eradicate the pest.

The WSDA is asking residents — especially in Yakima and Benton counties — to look for and report Japanese beetles on their property, Betts said. Anyone living in Washington who thinks they’ve seen a Japanese beetle is encouraged to take a photo and report the sighting online.

Japanese beetle adults are metallic green and brown and have small tufts of white hair on the sides. They emerge – usually from lawns or other soil – in the spring and feed throughout the summer. From fall to spring, the larvae (larvae) overwinter in the soil and slowly develop into mature adults ready to emerge again in the spring.

People are encouraged to trap beetles, and anyone can do it.

“Trapping will catch adult beetles, which can reduce their population and is another way to limit the spread of this pest,” Acosta added.

A wide variety of traps are available for purchase online or at local DIY and garden stores. Traps vary in design, so follow the instructions provided. Traps should be placed from mid-May to mid-October, when adult beetles are active.

Adult beetles are safe to the touch as they do not sting or bite. They can be picked from vegetation and thrown into a bowl of soapy water to kill them. It is best to do this in the morning or evening when the beetles are less active.

“If you catch any beetles, please report them,” Acosta said. “We try to count every beetle.”

Visit agr.wa.gov/beetles to learn more about this pest, ways to control or get rid of it, and to see the WSDA’s eradication plans.

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