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Japanese beetle

Japanese beetle

Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica (Newman), is an invasive plant pest that was first introduced to eastern North America from Japan in 1916.

Japanese beetle causes damage during two phases of its life cycle; the larval and adult stages.

Larvae feed on a wide variety of plant roots, reducing the plant's intake of water and nutrients. In this stage of development, the beetles like to eat grass, ornamentals, shrubs, and garden crops. When the larvae feed on grass roots, it results in patches of brown dead grass which may feel spongy and can be easily pulled away.

The adults are skeletonizers – they eat the leaf tissue and leave the veins behind. Attacked leaves look like lace that soon withers and dies. They will often attack flower buds and fruit. Japanese beetle adults will heavily feed on over 300 plant species, including landscape and ornamental plants; nursery stock; and, food plants found in fruit and vegetable gardens, orchards and agricultural crops. Elm trees, maple trees, roses, grapevines, fruit trees (including peach, apple, apricot, cherry and plum trees), blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and other small fruit, are all preferred Japanese beetle hosts, along with turf.

Plant pest card: Japanese beetle

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Adult: Oval outline from above, almost 10 mm long and 6 mm wide, abdomen, thorax and head metallic green with metallic copper-brown wing coverings and contrasting 12 white tufts of hair along the sides and rear of the abdomen.

Larva: a typical C-shaped creamy white grub with a yellowish-brown head (20 mm).

Signs of Japanese beetle include skeletonized foliage and dead grass caused by larval feeding.

© 2023 His Majesty the King in Right of Canada. Aussi disponible en français. Use without permission is prohibited. Photo credits: J. Baker, D. Cappaert, S. Katovich (, CFIA. Please report suspect specimens.

The Japanese beetle response in British Columbia

The Province of British Columbia (BC) is the only Category 1 Japanese beetle pest-free area in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is collaborating with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF), municipalities, industry and other non-governmental stakeholders to prevent the spread of Japanese beetle in BC and maintain the province's pest-free status.

Find out more about the Japanese beetle in British Columbia and:

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