Japanese beetles found in Wapato, 30 miles from Grandview infestation area | Local
When Japanese beetles were spotted in the Grandview area two summers ago, state officials said the invasive species had the potential to quickly spread to neighboring areas.
Those fears came true this week when Washington state Department of Agriculture officials confirmed that Japanese beetles had been found in Wapato, nearly 30 miles from the infested area in Grandview.
“Although we spotted a few beetles outside of the proposed Japanese beetle quarantine area around Grandview, finding a beetle so far from the main infestation suggests the beetles are spreading rapidly — possibly through human movement of the pest,” said Camilo Acosta, who japanese beetles the WSDA eradication coordinator.
After hearing about the bugs on local TV and radio, a concerned citizen in Wapato contacted them WSDA malware program on Monday after catching three suspected Japanese beetles in his garden. The pest ate peas and grapes.
WSDA crews responded, finding evidence of beetle damage at several facilities and collecting and confirming the Japanese beetle specimens from the homeowner, Acosta reported.
Officials are urging growers in Yakima and Benton counties to monitor the beetles and contact crop protection specialists or the WSU office for guidance on protecting their crops from this invasive pest.
The trouble in Yakima Valley started in 2020
First found in New Jersey in 1916, Japanese beetles eat more than 300 species of plants, including roses, grapes, and hops. The adult beetles damage plants by skeletonizing the leaves. Adults also feed on the buds, flowers, and fruit of the plants, and are often scavenged on fruit transported from the eastern United States
A Grandview resident first noticed the bugs on her roses in 2020. That prompted the WSDA to deploy 1,900 traps statewide in 2021 to assess the magnitude 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 have been concentrated in this residential area, prompting WSDA officials to begin their eradication plan this year.
The Japanese beetle larvae are found in the soil associated with the roots of host plants. They are common under lawns and lawns and can be moved around in potted plants, said WSDA media relations coordinator Amber Betts. She noted that beetles can lay 60-100 eggs, meaning there will likely be many more than 24,000 beetles in southeastern Yakima County this year.
Maggots were first found in Grandview this year on June 13, and many adult insects followed. So far this year, teams have caught about 8,300 bugs, Betts reported.
Eradication efforts underway
In May, lawn care company Senske began spraying an insecticide to kill beetle larvae in a 3,100-acre area around Grandview, Acosta said. He estimated that there were 4,200 lots within the treatment area.
WSDA mapping specialists created a Real time detection map growers can use to determine if they are within a mile of a known WSDA Japanese beetle.
“Last year we set a baseline by using extensive trapping to determine where the beetles were. The first eradication step was completed earlier this year by treating lawns — where the maggots develop — with insecticides in the infested area in and around Grandview,” Acosta said. “This is the first step in a multi-year process.”
Although applied this spring, the treatments will only affect next year’s beetle population. he noticed.
Last week, the WSDA opened a Japanese Beetle Response Yard drop-off point at 875 Bridgeview Road in Grandview. Residents living in the infested area in and around Grandview are asked to take their yard waste there. The site is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and disposal is free, the WSDA said Friday.
To enter the fenced waste disposal area, residents must present identification and proof of being in the infested zone. Accepted documents include electricity or water bills that match ID or driver’s license.
Items accepted for donation include brushes, branches and roots; Leaves; grass clippings; fruit and vegetable cuts; Weed; Flower; Plant; shrubs; Lawn; stumps when roots attach; and topsoil containing vegetative material.
Public hearing on quarantine is Tuesday
The next steps in the eradication effort include setting traps in and around the infested area and any new detection sites, and establishing a quarantine zone to prohibit the movement of items that might transport Japanese beetles to new areas.
A public hearing on acceptance of this proposed quarantine is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2 at 10 a.m. at the Learning Center, 313 Division St., Grandview, or online. More information on the rules language or the rulemaking process is available at the WSDA Rulemaking website.
With thousands of beetles already seen in Grandview and new evidence of the pests in Wapato, the WSDA is hosting a virtual open day at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 4. Community members can join to learn more about the situation and ask questions, Betts said. Residents will hear from state experts and learn about plans to eradicate the pest.
The WSDA is encouraging residents — particularly in Yakima and Benton counties — to check for and report Japanese beetles on their property, Betts said. Anyone living in Washington who thinks they have seen a Japanese beetle is asked to take a picture and Report the sighting online.
Adult Japanese beetles are metallic green and brown with small tufts of white hair on their sides. They emerge in the spring – usually from lawns or other soil – and feed throughout the summer. From autumn to spring, the maggots (larvae) overwinter in the soil and slowly develop into full-grown adults who may reappear in spring.
People are encouraged to catch bugs and anyone can do it.
“Trapping traps adult beetles, which can reduce their population and is another way to limit the spread of this pest,” Acosta added.
A wide range of traps are available online or at local hardware and garden stores. The traps differ in design, so follow the instructions provided. Traps should be set from mid-May to mid-October when adult beetles are active.
Adult beetles are safe to touch as they do not sting or bite. They can be picked from vegetation and dropped 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 bugs, please report them,” Acosta said. “We try to count every bug.”
Visit agr.wa.gov/beetles to learn more about this pest, ways to control or get rid of it, and to view WSDA eradication plans.
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