Thursday, June 28, 2012
Most people aren’t aware that Japanese beetles are now in Callaway County but they are all around us, says James Jarman, agronomy specialist at the Callaway County MU Extension Center.
Jarman has set up a trap about a hundred feet outside the front door of the extension office in Fulton. It has been attracting from 500 to 1,000 Japanese beetles every day.
The pesky insects attack corn and soybean crops and Callaway County has thousands of acres of each crop. Japanese beetles also gather on flowers, shrubs and trees. Because of the unusually dry and warm weather, Japanese beetles showed up about three weeks earlier than normal this year.
The beetles are especially damaging to fruit trees, ornamental plants and field crops.
In corn fields, Japanese beetles typically feed on green silks and tassels in corn. Tassels and developing silks of corn can be damaged severely by adult Japanese beetles. Feeding on corn silks can disrupt pollination and result in substantial drops in corn yields, Jarman said.
On soybean plants, Japanese beetles eat the foliage. They also like to munch on more than 400 flowers, shrubs and trees. They also feed on grapes, blackberries and raspberries. “They eat leaves first,” Jarman said. “They eat the fruit only after it ripens,”
Jarman said a Callaway County farmer called his office on Tuesday to report Japanese beetles were eating on his corn plants.