The Japanese Beetle

Popillia japonica, commonly known as the Japanese beetle.
Popillia japonica, commonly known as the Japanese beetle.

Do you know what this funky bug is?

It is a Japanese beetle and it’s a serious pest in our vineyards. These insects damage our vineyards by skeletonizing the foliage, that is, munching only on the leaf material between the veins, and sometimes they also feed on the grapes.

Our vineyards can tolerate natural levels of Japanese beetles with no effect on vine growth or fruit quality, but unfortunately intensive feeding on the foliage and fruit does reduce the grape quality. We try to control the Japanese beetles by monitoring our vineyards regularly, keeping the vineyards mowed, which reduces egg-laying, and when needed, spray with insecticides (primarily Sevin). There are also Japanese beetle traps that are available, however they are not recommended, because they are highly efficient at attracting the beetles and actually attract more beetles to the vineyards.

Harvest is just around the corner so we are even more diligent checking the vineyards and trying to use Sevin as little as possible.

Norton vineyard, Japanese beetle damage
Norton vineyard, Japanese beetle damage
Close up of Japanese beetle damage
Close up of Japanese beetle damage