Invasive Japanese beetles have been wreaking havoc on farms and in gardens across the East Coast and Midwestern United States for decades. Beetle larvae and adult beetles eat the roots, leaves, and flowers of many important agricultural and ornamental plants and trees.
New research shows that this invasive species may also be a significant threat to the habitat and survival of one of America’s favorite insects: the monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterflies depend on the native plant milkweed for habitat and food throughout their migration routes, from Mexico to Canada. Japanese beetles have been found feeding on milkweed flowers, decreasing their fruit and seed sets, and disrupting the next generation of plants. Monarch butterfly populations have already decreased dramatically--around 90%-- in the past 20 years, primarily due to habitat loss, including milkweed decline.
In 2016, the Oregon Department of Agriculture detected Japanese beetles in and around Washington County. ODA recognizes Japanese beetles as a threat to Oregon’s economy and natural ecosystems, and is starting its third year of its eradication and prevention project.
Read more about the study from the University of Kentucky.
[TAGS: Invasive Species, Japanese Beetle threat]
Loads of fall leaves DO NOT need to be taken to the Japanese beetle yard debris drop off site in Hillsboro. Loads of fallen leaves are not a risk to spread Japanese beetle and are not part of the quarantined material. Please see the list below for material that falls within the quarantine.
The yard debris quarantine is intended to prevent the spread of Japanese beetle in Oregon and to ensure the success of the current eradication program. The quarantine went into effect in Summer of 2017 and is still active through 2018. The boundary of the quarantine was expanded because of increased Japanese beetle detections in the county in 2017.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is asking all residents, landscapers, and waste managers that work in the yard debris quarantine area to adhere to the information below in order to comply with the quarantine to prevent the spread of both Japanese beetle adults and larvae:
Quarantined yard debris and material:
Not necessary or acceptable materials:
[TAGS: Washington County, Gardeners, Quarantine, Residents, Yard debris, Landscapers, Northwest Landscaping Services, Updates, Beetles in Oregon]
PLEASE NOTE: THIS POST IS AN ARCHIVE FROM THE 2017-2018 PROJECT YEAR.
Japanese beetles were first observed in Washington county in 2016. Subsequent trapping and risk modeling has determined that certain areas have a particularly high number of beetles that may hitchhike out of the area on high risk yard debris. To aid in successful eradication, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is working to contain the Japanese beetle population to a limited and manageable area.
ODA has enacted a yard debris quarantine as part of a multi-pronged approach to eradicate the Japanese beetle from Oregon. This quarantine minimizes their spread to other areas in the region by restricting where and how yard debris from inside the quarantine area is transported and processed. Two key containment strategies have been implemented: 1) yard debris in household curbside bins are covered and hauled directly to deep burial at the landfill and 2) yard debris picked up by landscapers is directed to be covered and transported directly to a designated yard debris drop-off site at Northwest Landscape Services, 1800 NW Cornelius Pass Rd, Hillsboro, OR. In 2017, approximately 2,000 tons of yard debris were successfully moved into a special deep burial zone at the Hillsboro landfill where Japanese beetles within the material cannot escape.
Why a yard debris drop-off site outside of the quarantine area?
The Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Metro and Washington County worked closely and deliberated over site locations. They ultimately chose this site for a few well-planned reasons. First, the site was chosen as the lowest risk site. This means that the site has the ability to manage the amount of material transferred and has the lowest risk of spreading beetles to other areas through re-sale of compost, recycled soil, or other mechanisms. Additionally, this drop-off site is in the same county where the population exists, Washington County, and is in near other commonly used yard debris drop-off sites reducing the burden on the landscapers or homeowners.
Explore the interactive map with both the boundary of the quarantine area and treatment area, here.
What happens at the drop-off site?
This is a FREE service for those with material from the quarantine area. The time the material sits at the drop-off site is kept short in order to minimize the chance of beetles escaping and re-establishing in the area. Each load is then moved to a deep burial site in the Hillsboro Landfill to join the curbside yard debris from the quarantine area that is picked up by garbage haulers. Project partners monitor the quarantined yard debris to ensure proper disposal of material. When residents and landscapers comply with ODA regulations, they are more likely to succeed in protection of Oregon’s agriculture and natural resources.
"Washington County is the area that is going to benefit the greatest from us being able to do the eradication,” said Clint Burfitt, manager of the Insect Pest Prevention & Management Program for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. For Washington County residents, landscapers, and others involved, the simple act of following quarantine instructions has a hefty ripple effect. If this Japanese beetle population can be successfully eradicated through these early efforts, the costs accumulated, resources used, and negative impacts of this project will stay exponentially lower than if they became established. A big thank you to all of the residents, landscapers, and other folks from within the quarantine area for continuing to make this project a success!
Please do not hesitate to contact ODA with any questions or concerns by calling 1-800-525-0137 or emailing the project coordinator Chris Hedstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can you identify a Japanese beetle?
Japanese beetles have three main identifying characteristics:
The Japanese beetle is the only beetle in this area that has all three of these characteristics. There are a few other beetles in the area, both native and non-native, that are also metallic or otherwise look similar. Check out our Japanese beetle look alike guide to see who’s who.
Examples of common beetles and pests that ARE NOT Japanese beetle:
What to do if you come across some beetles?
If you are within the treatment area and see adult Japanese beetles, then the ODA advises that you dispose of them in a container of soapy water. Using store bought insecticides will not significantly decrease Japanese beetle populations.
If beetles are observed outside the treatment area, please put the specimen in a container or bag and email or call ODA at the contact information provided below.
How long will this last?!
Japanese beetles are already an issue being addressed in Washington County, and the issue can’t be solved overnight. It may take up to 5 years to eradicate the population entirely.
How to help be part of the solution!
Cooperation from those in the treatment area is critical to protect Oregon’s gardens and agricultural economy! Here’s what you can do to help:
[TAGS: Japanese beetle threat, Japanese beetle basics, Beetles in Oregon, Invasive species]
This website is intended to provide readers with information that has been peer reviewed and produced from transparent and accountable sources. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is the lead agency for this project and this website is maintained by Samara Group.
Photos by Jessica Riehl unless otherwise noted.