Japanese beetles and the Polar Vortex

ltiltonJuly 22, 2014

There was a lot of speculation here last winter with the abnormal [for this century] cold, whether insect pests would be reduced or eliminated. The JBs showed up on schedule at the beginning of this month, but I've noticed a lot fewer of them. I had to spray the cherry tree, but nothing else was suffering damage on a scale to create a real problem.

Something to be said for the cold.

Has anyone else in vortex territory noticed this?

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I see more JB that I have ever seen, but they're attacking only a weed (the notorious air potato vine I'm trying to kill)...so I've actually let them be as they aid me (at present).

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:28PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

About the same as last year here.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:42PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I'm in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, and we were definitely affected by the cold winter. For the last few years, the Japanese beetles had all but disappeared. Last year I saw a few, and now this year I'm seeing a lot more. Not as bad as it was 7 or 8 years ago, but they are making a comeback here, and I'm worried next year will be worse. No idea why the population dropped off like it did, and no idea why they are making a comeback.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 5:27PM
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The Green June Beetles here seem to show up enmasse when the peaches on Reliance are getting ripe, that sure held true last year (drought for us) and is holding true this year but the ripening and GJB emergence are slightly more than a week later than last year. We have until about 2 weeks ago had a decent amount of regular precip.. The vortex temps. left here about a week ago and it's been sweltering in the 90s - low 100s ever since.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:27PM
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alan haigh

Worst JB season ever- guess they packed their bags and moved east.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:43AM
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Numbers on my place are WAY down this year (so far...)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:46AM
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No matter how fancy the name of the storm, a winter storm cannot freeze the ground fast enough to get to them. Drought affects them in laying eggs successfully though.

My place is so low this year that using a trap was a waste of time and money. My friend 10 miles away has them as bad as ever. This would likely be from the effects of people using grub killing stuff throughout my neighborhood. he lives in the country with a huge yard and doesn't put anything down for them.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:15AM
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About the same here as in year's past.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:24AM
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I've been seeing many more JB than ever before but like dbarron bug they are, for the most part, eating unwanted plants, wild grape and virginia creeper in my case. So based on the old saying "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" I have not instituted an extermination plan for the JBs. Yet. Occasionally I'll find one on my basil, and those are treading on thin ice, but thus far that haven't risen to the level of being a problem.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:27AM
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nyRockFarmer(5A Southern Tier, NY)

I'm seeing more than the past few years here in south central NY, but it isn't bad so far.

I think the idea behind the cold snap killing pests was targeted more to the invasive tropical species moving up from the south. The native tick population exploded, so maybe a cold winter tips the balance in favor of local cold hardy species over southern ones .

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I'm seeing huge numbers compared to the past ten years. Maybe some JB predator got set back by the cold.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:27AM
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higher than usual in the Detroit area, but not a lot higher. The real mystery is the disappearance of SVB and squash bugs. What will I do with all the zucchini?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

JBS number are up a bit this year. I have to use my sprayer the last 3 weeks.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:19PM
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We had record lows in my area of SW PA ( -14 degrees) and this is the worst I have seen the Japanese beetles for some years - they are decimating my grape leaves and Japanese plum leaves.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:18PM
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I had to spray my cherry tree, it was getting to the defoliation point, though most of the other trees were just about untouched.

I saw a nice little white spider, killed by the spray. I was sad.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:24PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Hardly any..i personally squished 5 and my kids picked a few (they play with them). I noticed a little damage to the raspberries, but not much else. I would say they are down about 90% here from the past few years. Although keep in mind I never had them when i first started growing fruit trees. Rose Chafers were also pretty light (they were last year too). Not sure..maybe something else is doing it..but it was very cold here... 45+ days below 0F...constant snow cover, frost depths that cause deep water pipes to burst...

Plum Curculio was the worst i ever witnessed.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 3:11PM
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I'm in north central PA an they were horrible this year, Went out one day an they were all over my cherry trees an grape vines an raspberries, What does everyone use to spray them with?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:00PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Strangely, we don't have JB here. We pretty much have every other fruit pest, but no JB.

My theory is that the ground around here gets so saturated in the spring time, that it drowns the beetles. At times, even the earthworms drown.

It doesn't explain why we have other grubs like June beetles, but perhaps JB drown easier.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Here in Illinois, the temperature has been around 50 to 80 and I've seen (and picked some JB) some leave damage on roses, cherries and plums but not as severe as years past. Maybe the extreme cold winter get to their grubs?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:26PM
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I remember one year after a bad spate of drought the previous, the JBs were noticeably smaller. Still plenty of them, but stunted.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 4:45PM
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nyRockFarmer(5A Southern Tier, NY)

It could be that snow cover during the "polar vortex" was the factor that differentiated the local effects.

I now most of the major storms in recent years seem to go below me (through PA) and curve up through Hudson Valley/Mass. High pressure from the cold fronts often keeps the moisture to the south and I'm out of range from lake effect snow. We usually get very little snow cover here for some geographical reason.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:57AM
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