Japanese beetles are invading, according to the University of Missouri Extension service, and gardeners should be on the lookout.
The service said the beetles are about three weeks early in Missouri.
“Certainly we need to be looking at this point,” said Wayne Bailey, a state entomologist for University of Missouri Extension, in a statement. “These beetles are gregarious feeders, so if you have one, a lot will come in."
He said the critters send out chemical signals to their brothers and sisters that the feeding is good, drawing more beetles to gardens.
Ask a local gardener about Japanese beetles at Garden Heights Nursery, in Richmond Heights.
The extension services maintains records of Japanese beetle counts from traps in St. Charles County and other surrounding areas. Counts in the two monitored traps in St. Charles County show the numbers are on the rise, with as many as 1,400 beetles counted in one day in one trap today.
In the statement, Bailey said: "They do eat about 440 different plants, but their favorites include Linden trees and roses. They feed high in the plant, out in the sunlight, and can do a lot of damage to trees and ornamentals and shrubs."
The service said the Japanese beetle was first found in the United States in Riverton, New Jersey in 1916. The service's page about the beetle includes recommendations for pesticides to combat them.
Have you noticed Japanese beetles in your garden? What have you been doing to combat them?