Department Of Agriculture Works To Stop Harmful Beetles

Aug 20, 2012

Little torpedo-like bug traps have recently popped up around downtown Boise.  They're designed to catch Japanese beetles.  Here’s why the Department of Agriculture has declared war on the insects.

“Roses, blackberries, fruit trees, I’ve seen them feed on dogwoods and apple trees, and a number of ornamentals” Mike Cooper, with the Idaho Department of Agriculture, lists off all the things Japanese beetles destroy.  In fact, the beetles feed on over 300 plants.

The dime-sized bugs are common back East, but Idaho declared them an invasive insect ten years ago, and tries to keep them out. Cooper surveys the Boise area every year, usually catching one or two.

He’s trapped over two dozen in the last three weeks. “That’s cause for concern to catch that many in that small of an area,” Cooper says.

Cooper says they likely came from infested nursery plants shipped from other parts of the country.

Now strange-looking traps hang from stop signs in North Boise and around Julia Davis Park.  They look like miniature missiles with a green canister on the bottom, and bright yellow fins above it.

Cooper says there are almost 50 traps per square mile in the downtown area, and he’ll set out more if needed.  He’s trying to figure out the exact location of the beetles.

Once the beetles are found, they’re not hard to get rid of.  Mild store-bought insecticides do the trick.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio