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(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Leaf damage caused by the Japanese beetle is seen in trees near the Bureau County Republican newspaper, located in the Princeton Technology Park. The work of the Japanese beetle can be detected by the lace-appearance skeleton of the damaged leaf.

PRINCETON — Japanese beetles haven’t been this bad in this area for a long time, according to Master Gardener Marshann Entwhistle of rural Princeton.

If Bureau County residents look in their yards and see a plant leaf that looks lacy and all that is left of the leaf is the seams, then Japanese beetles have paid a visit, Entwhistle said.

Japanese beetles feed on the foliage and fruits of several hundred species of fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, and field and vegetable crops, but some of the hardest hit are roses and linden, birch, maple and apple trees, Entwhistle said. On roses, the beetle eats not only the flower but also destroy the buds, she said.

Japanese beetles will attack plants ferociously, and people need to be aggressive and attack back as soon as they see the beetle. Physically removing beetles from plants can be an effective control measure in small areas. For those who choose, people can pick the beetle from the plants and place the beetle in soapy water to kill them, Entwhistle said.

People can also use a chemical Sevin spray on the Japanese beetle, but it is highly toxic and needs to be sprayed at night, so children and pets are not around the spray. The important thing is to follow instructions very carefully and to not use more than recommended.

Some places sell bags which can be used to catch Japanese beetles, but Entwhistle said she does not recommend them because they draw beetles to the plants.

Of course another answer is to hire a professional lawn service to take care of the problem, Entwhistle said.

Unfortunately, the season for Japanese beetles is far from finished and people will need to watch for them through July and August and into mid-September, Entwhistle said. Japanese beetles live only about a month, but during that time they lay eggs in the ground which will become grubs next summer, she said.

Though the onset of Japanese beetles appears to be heavy in the Bureau County area, not all parts of the state are experiencing the same level of activity, according to the July 2013 University of Illinois newsletter.

As reported in the newsletter, adult Japanese beetles continue to be spotty throughout the state with many areas having low numbers and correspondingly minor feeding damage on trees and shrubs. However, there have been high numbers and damage in northwestern Illinois from New Bedford, Macomb and Wyoming, as well as reports of high numbers in north-central Illinois in the Rockford area.

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