Call to action: Stop the invasion of the Japanese beetle

The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is currently spreading in Europe. An invasive species that spreads easily in the course of trade and human traffic and can cause massive damage. The invasive beetle threatens the entire agricultural sector, urban landscapes and biodiversity in infested areas.

History of invasion in Europe

2014 first sighted in northern Italy. Gradual expansion and increase in population.
2017 discovered on the southern border of Switzerland, further spread to the north.
2023 discovered north of the Alps (near Zurich), in Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and in the southernmost region of the canton of Wallis in Switzerland.
In a survey in 2023, more than 1500 beetles were detected, indicating that the Japanese beetle must have been established there several years before the outbreak was discovered.

 The IPM-Popillia project

The European IPM-Popillia project, in which e-nema GmbH is also involved, is creating ways of controlling the spread of the Japanese beetle. The aim is to prevent high population concentrations and plant damage in continental Europe.

The IPM-Popillia project provides tools and advice on how to control the invasive species on a larger, continental European scale and how to better prepare for similar outbreaks in the future.

 Host plants of the Japanese beetle

The Japanese beetle can feed on over 400 different host plants. Some of these host plants, such as grapevines, berries, corn or soybeans, are of great economic importance. Landscape trees such as lime and birch, as well as ornamental plants such as roses, wisteria and mallow are also affected.

 Life cycle of the Japanese beetle

The beetle normally develops one generation of beetles per year.
Its larvae overwinter in the soil. When soil temperatures rise in early spring, they come closer to the surface and begin to feed on plant roots. The adult beetles hatch between mid-May and mid-July and are active until September. The first wave of flights takes place at the end of June, followed by the main flight of the beetles in the first weeks of July.

Call to action

The public can play their part in helping researchers find a sustainable solution to the spread of the Japanese beetle.
With the IPM Citizen Science App, anyone can report sightings of beetles in their garden, on farms or in public places simply by using a smartphone. The submitted photos of the beetles and the information provided will help to better understand the spread of the Japanese beetle and find new ways to stop or contain it.

The cooperation of farmers in particular is very important for the project. The use of the IPM App in agricultural areas will provide valuable information about the spread of the beetles, their host plants and the extent of the damage caused.

The IPM App is available at www.popillia.eu  for Android and iPhones. Download the App today, become a member of the user community and share your observations with the IPM-Popillia project!