Japanese Beetle Eating its Way through Minnesota

July 28, 2016 07:40 PM

Roger Bothe walks through 39 acres of his soybeans in Cottage Grove a bit disappointed.

"At first, they were just on the leaves," he said. "Now, they're on the blossoms a little bit."

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Bothe is talking about Popillia Japonica, better known as the Japanese beetle.

"This is the worse I've ever seen," he said.

That's saying something considering his family has been working this land in Cottage Grove since 1881.

"Well, they're hurting the yield, of course, and then also what bothers me is that they're breeding now and going to go into the ground and come back next year, maybe stronger than ever," Bothe said.

According to University of Minnesota Entomologist Jeff Hahn, Bothe is spot on.

Hahn says the beetles were first seen in late June. They lay their eggs in July and live for roughly 6-8 weeks.

One natural defense is dry soil. He estimates by mid-August, their numbers will dwindle. The beetles eat several hundred different plants, from roses, grapes and soybeans.

Bothe says the outside rows of his crops are worse. He's thought about treating.

"I've been told that we should have a 30 percent damage before it's feasible to treat," he said. "I guess we aren't there just yet."

Bothe says he typically gets 50-60 bushels an acre. If he doesn't do something, he may not get those numbers come harvest time, so he and his wife have turned to traps to catch them.

"So far, I've got 58 bags," he said.


Todd Wilson

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