Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting creative to collect Japanese beetle

Many of you are talking about the high numbers of Japanese beetles in Iowa this year. They have increased exponentially in some of our small plot trials in central Iowa since last week. The dual-lure pheromone trap from Trece is one way to collect these adults. The lures are extremely attractive to Japanese beetle and can draw in adults from a mile away. So the traps are ideal for first detection in a new area, but not recommended as a management tool.

This Japanese beetle pheromone trap can fill up in about an hour right now in Story County, Iowa. Photo by Brent Pringnitz, Iowa State University.

In case some of you are wanted to see just HOW MANY Japanese beetles you can collect, a regular pheromone trap just won't cut it because it fills up too fast. Well, a few people have taken it to another level to see how many GALLONS they could trap in one day. Rex De Bruin and Chris Sparks at BASF Plant Science in Story County replaced the green collection container with a 13-gallon trash bag. They were able to fill it over night. We've done this in the past to use the beetles for lab assays and it is not a good smell.

This modified Japanese beetle pheromone trap (13-gallon trash bag) was filled overnight. The trap entrance was clogged with more beetles! Photos by Rex De Bruin, BASF.


  1. Maybe . . .

    There seems to be some controversy about this standard advice that is parroted so often. As any good diagnostician should know: "Well, that depends."

    Here in Scott County (eastern Iowa - Davenport area), this is about our 4th or 5th year for JB. Unlike the newly menaced areas of the Iowa farther west of those of us on the east side, the populations seemed to have been decreasing after the first few years. Instead of EVERYTHING being attacked all at once, I am seeing a lot fewer numbers starting at the outside of a patch and working their way inward as they exhaust their chosen food. This is definitely not what I saw in the early years.

    I read about this initial population explosion and then a gradual subsiding population from those further east who had already seen populations stabilize at lower levels. Many of those folks now believe that if you put enough traps in your yard, you can actually reduce the population to a tolerable level -- albeit not in the first few years because there are just too many.

    Although I have not placed any traps myself, I did notice that last year I could control the numbers simply by tapping the JB on high value plants into soapy water everyday. I have a friend in the area who runs a You-Pick Flower Farm and this is how she is successfully controlling them with no pesticides -- and getting satisfactory results.

    Dan Mays
    Walcott, Iowa

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  6. Thanks for sharing this we are about to go get a couple traps to protect our new fruit trees we saw the beetles eating the leaves off of...we only come out here once a week so I think the trash bag is going to be a necessity.