Illinois Sees Decline In Japanese Beetle Numbers

Jul 17, 2013

Credit Jacqui Stephens

Illinois' Japanese beetle population is on the decline this summer. But experts say it's too soon for plant enthusiasts to start cheering.

For the past several years, Illinois' has witnessed an explosion in the Japanese beetle population. Because they feast on plants, the insect is a major nuisance for gardeners. But the U-of-I Extension Office says this summer, they've noticed that in some areas a major decease the bug's population.

Candice Miller is with the extension's branch office that covers northwest Illinois. She says that observation is consistent with what they have seen in their territory.

"Some areas like Rockford are still reporting high numbers. Other than that, from what I've seen, it's been pretty spotty," Miller said.

Officials say last summer's drought could be a contributing factor. But they stress that it may be too soon to say whether the bug's smaller-than-usual numbers will stick around for the rest of this summer.

The metallic bug first arrived in the U.S. about a century ago and made its way west, mostly attacking ornamental plants. But the bugs also eat corn and soybeans.