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Popillia japonica Newman -- Scarabaeidae




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The Japanese beetle is a pest of turfgrass, ornamentals and lawns in the northeastern and midwestern United States (Tashiro 1987).  The large bronze adult beetles can occur in the thousands on backyard shrubs in summertime where mating is very conspicuous (E. F. Legner, unpub. data).  This beetle was known to occur on four main islands of Japan where it was considered of little economic importance (Fleming 1972).  Larvae or grubs damage the roots of grasses upon which they feed.  Turf injury depends on grub density and the degree of lawn maintenance (Dahlsten & Hall 1999).  Poorly maintained lawns may be damaged at densities of 4-5 grubs per square food, while well maintained turf does not show damage until densities are >10 grubs per square foot.


Bacillus popilliae Dutky is the most effective natural control agent of Japanese beetle (Tashiro 1987).  This bacterium was first identified in central New Jersey in 1933 by White (1941), and was called milky spore disease because of the milky color of infected grubs hemolymph, a sporulation occurs.  When large quantities of B. popilliae spores are ingested, the grubs become infected.  They may live and continue to feed for weeks or months after infection, but eventually weaken and die.  A high concentration of spores is released into the soil from dead grubs, and infect other grubs upon ingestion.  A commercially available formulation of spore powder, sold as Milky Spore or Japanese Beetle Attack may be applied by depositing ca. 2g of spore powder at intervals of 1.5 to 3 m on turfgrass areas with high population densities of the grubs (Tashiro 1987). 


As discussed in an earlier section, the Japanese beetle has a tachinid parasitoid, Hyperecteina aldrichi Mesn., which is the principal agent holding the beetle density down in northern Japan.  In the eastern United States, although the tachinid is established permanently, it was not able to maintain the beetle at a low density.  The climate in America precluded synchronization of the life cycles of the host and parasitoid.  The tachinid emerges earlier in the spring than the beetle and dies before it can find adult beetles to parasitize.  This is thought to be due to the heavier show cover and cold in Japan which delays the emergence of both species until the sudden onset of spring, when both parasitoid and host emerge from the soil together.  In America, the soil warms up earlier and more gradually due to the lack of such heavy snow.  This results in the early and fatal emergence of many of the tachinid parasitoids.


For further details on biological control and biologies of hosts and natural enemies, please see the following (King & Holloway 1930a,b; Holloway 1931, King 1931, Clausen et al. 1927, 1933;  Burrell 1931, Balock 1934, Gardner 1934, 1938; Brunson 1934, 1938; Gardner & Parker 1940, White 1940, King & Parker 1941, 1950; Beard 1945, Ladd & McCabe 1956, Fleming 1958, Sabrosky & Arnaud 1965, Clausen 1978).



REFERENCES:               [Additional references may be found at:   MELVYL Library ]



Balock, J. W.  1934.  The status of Tiphia vernalis Rohwer, an imported parasite of the Japanese beetle, at the close of 1933.  J. Econ. Ent. 27:  491-96.


Beard, R. L.  1945.  Studies on the milky disease of Japanese beetle larvae.  Conn. Agric. Expt. Sta. Bull. 491:  505-83.


Brunson, M. H.  1934.  The fluctuation of the population of Tiphia popilliavora Rohwer in the field and its possible causes.  J. Econ. Ent. 27:  514-18.


Brunson, M. H.  1938.  Influence of Japanese beetle instar on the sex and population of the parasite Popillia japonica.  J. Agric. Res. 57:  379-86.


Burrell, R. W.  1931.  Dexia ventralis Aldrich, an imported parasite of the Japanese beetle.  J. Agric. Res. 43:  323-36.


Clausen, C. P.  1978.  Scarabaeidae.  In:  C. P. Clausen (ed.), Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds:  A World Review.  U. S. Dept. Agric., Agric. Handbk. No. 480.  545 p.


Clausen, C. P., J. L. King & C. Teranishi.  1927.  The parasites of Popillia japonica in Japan and Chosen (Korea) and their introduction into the United States.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Dept. Bull. 1429.  55 p.


Clausen, C. P., H. A. Jaynes & T. R. Gardner.  1933.  Further investigations of the parasites of Popillia japonica in the Far East.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 366.  58 p.


Dahlsten, D. L. & R. W. Hall.  1999.  Biological control of insects in outdoor urban environments.  In:  Bellows, T. S. & T. W. Fisher (eds.), Handbook of Biological Control:  Principles and Applications.  Academic Press, San Diego, New York.  1046 p


Fleming, W. E.  1958.  Biological control of the Japanese beetle, especially with entomogenous diseases.  10th Internatl. Cong. Ent. Proc. (1956) 3:  115-25.


Fleming, W. E.  1968.  Biological control of Japanese beetle.  USDA Tech. Bull. No. 1383.  78 p.


Fleming, W. E.  1972.  Biology of Japanese beetle.  USDA Tech. Bull. No. 1449.  78 p.


Gardner, T. R.  1934.  Comparative oviposition efficiency and collection costs of imported versus established Tiphia vernalis Rohwer, a parasite of the Japanese beetle.  J. Econ. Ent. 27:  497-98.


Gardner, T. R.  1938.  Influence of feeding habits of Tiphia vernalis on the parasitization of the Japanese beetle.  J. Econ. Ent. 31:  204-07.


Gardner, T. R. & L. B. Parker.  1940.  Investigations of the parasites of Popillia japonica and related Scarabaeidae in the Far East from 1929- to 1933, inclusive.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 738.  36 p.


Holloway, J. K.  1931.  Temperature as a factor in the activity and development of the Chinese strain of Tiphia popilliavora (Rohw.), in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  New York Ent. Soc. J. 39:  555-64.


King, J. L.  1931.  The present status of the established parasites of Popillia japonica Newman.  J. Econ. Ent. 24:  453-62.


King, J. L. & J. K. Holloway.  1930a.  The establishment and colonization of Tiphia popilliavora, a parasite of the Japanese beetle.  J. Econ. Ent. 23:  266-74.


King, J. L. & J. K. Holloway.  1930b.  Tiphia popilliavora Rohwer, a parasite of the Japanese beetle.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Cir. 145.  11 p.


King, J. L. & L. B. Parker.  1941.  Summary of Japanese beetle parasite liberations, including the year 1940.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Bur. Ent. & Plant Quar. Surv. Bull. 21:  127-37.


King, J. L. & L. B. Parker.  1950.  The spring Tiphia, and imported enemy of the Japanese beetle.  U. S. Dept. Agric., Bur. Ent. & Plant Quar. E-799.  8 p.


Ladd, T. L., Jr. and P. J. McCabe.  1956.  The status of Tiphia vernalis Rohwer, a parasite of the Japanese beetle, in southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania in 1963.  J. Econ. Ent. 59:  480.


Sabrosky, C. W. & P. H. Arnaud.  1965.  Family Tachinidae.  In:  A. Stone, C. W. Sabrosky, W. W. Wirth, R. H. Foote & J. R. Coulson (eds.), A Catalogue of the Diptera of America North of Mexico.  U. S. Dept. Agric., Agric. Handb. 276:  961-1108.


Tashiro, H.  1987.  Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada.  Comstock Publ. Assoc., Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, New York. 


White, R. T.  1940.  The relation of ants to the Japanese beetle and its established parasites.  New York Ent. Soc. J. 48:  85-99.


White, R. T.  1941.  Development of milky disease of Japanese beetle larvae under field conditions.  J. Econ. Ent. 34:  213-15.