Japanese Beetles in Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions

Japanese beetles were first found in New Jersey in 1916 and have spread from Maine to the Carolina’s. The Japanese beetle has been well established in Virginia since the early 1970’s. The Japanese beetle can be found throughout Virginia and populations are dependent on soil type, soil moisture, and host plants. 

What do Japanese beetles look like?  

Adult Japanese beetles are easily recognized by their bright metallic green body and reddish-bronze wing covers. It is smaller than the Green June beetle which is over 3/4 inch long, while the Japanese beetle is around 3/8 inch long. Japanese beetles feed on a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. They can severely damage the foliage for fruit trees, roses, and other summer flowers. The immature stage, also called a grub or white grub can reach pest status on many varieties of grass grown in Virginia. 

Are Japanese beetles harmful to plants?  

Skeletonizing is caused when the adults chew on the leaves and eat between the veins leaving a lacy appearance. They will also feed on flowers, fruit, and buds. Heavily damaged trees and plants will take on a brownish cast as leaves shrivel and die. 

The immature Japanese beetles or grubs feed just below soil surface on the roots and lower sections of the plant. Damaged turf at first becomes stressed in appearance and later turns brown as if it is suffering from drought. Damaged turf can often be pulled back like a piece of carpet exposing the grubs. 

How do you treat Japanese Beetles? 

We do not recommend beetle traps, since they seem to attract more beetles to your favorite plants than they control. If you still want to use a trap, be sure to place it away from the plants you are trying to protect. For a more specific treatment based on your local conditions, contact us so one of our representatives can visit your property to make an assessment. 

What is the life cycle of Japanese beetles? 

Adult Japanese beetles start emerging from the ground in late June and most are out by mid-July. The beetles feed and the females start releasing a pheromone that attracts the males. Egg laying lasts from mid-July to mid-August. Immature grubs feed and develop until the soil starts to cool in the fall. At this point they burrow down about 4-8 inches and stop feeding. In the spring when the soil temperatures start to warm, the grubs move up and start feeding again. The grubs reach full size in late May or early June and pupate. Adult beetles emerge several weeks later and complete the cycle. 

How can Virginia Green Lawn Care help? 

Virginia Green Lawn Care is a locally owned and professional lawn care company offering lawn fertilization and weed control as well as tree and shrub services within Virginia. Our programs are designed specifically for your lawn and include all necessary nutrients for the year, and this includes if you have issues with insects such as Japanese Beetles. Through our various lawn programs and our Perimeter Pest Control service we can help prevent an infestation of Japanese Beetles along with many other insects and pests. Contact us for a free estimate.