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Unusually warm weather causes Japanese Beetle Boom

Japanese Beetles are causing a nuisance for people, while wreaking havoc on area plants.

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 7:09 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 7:16 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo)  Everyone by now has noticed the infestation.
"It just amazes me how bad it is" said Craig Hayes, Manager and Landscaper at Earl May Garden Center.
Much of the region, including St. Joseph, is in the midst of Japanese Beetle season.

"They usually go through probably about a 4 to 6 week cycle normally" said Hayes.

The bugs started showing up about 3 years ago, and never really left.

"We haven't had a really long hard winter for some time, that usually takes down some populations of insects. said Hayes.

Japanese Beetles are more than just a nuisance, these green bugs can be disaster for plants.

"They come out and usually start feeding on certain plants that are heavilly leafed out or flowered out.' said Hayes.

The aftermath is not pretty, Bryan Gragg, Regional Forestry Supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, explains what can happen after the bugs have their fill.

"You'll see the leaves they're skeletonized so the only thing left is the veins, all everything else has been removed by the beetle." said Gragg.

When it comes to getting rid of these pests, you have two options, you can use environmentally freindly sprays, or set up some traps.
Those that have their own infestation may have to use both methods.

"Both ways is not a bad way to go, [if you have a mild case of Japanese Beetles,] you may want to choose which direction you want to head." said Hayes. 

While there are options to keep Japanese Beetles at bay around the lawn,  the only way to bring the numbers down significantly is a hard freeze. Without that, Hayes fears these bugs will be around for the long haul.

"It's really set us up to have maybe one of the worst insect years that we've seen in a lot of years." said Hayes.

St. Joseph
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Rain chances return to the forecast today with scattered showers possible mainly throughout the day. Most of the day will end up being dry and cloudy besides a few isolated showers. The rain will be light with most areas seeing around a tenth of an inch of precipitation. Temperatures will remain below average today with highs in the mid to upper 60s. Rain chances will start to increase this weekend with scattered showers likely off and on through the day Saturday. A few thunderstorms could develop as well Saturday afternoon into the evening. The rain will be light to moderate on Saturday with most areas only seeing around a quarter inch precipitation. More moderate to heavy rain is set to move into the area Sunday and Monday with a few thunderstorms. Rain totals from Friday through Monday will likely be around 1-2 inches.
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