A garden feast
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
July 23, 2011 6:11 pm
We moved into our current home late last summer, and were disappointed to see all of the apples on our apple tree eaten, or on the ground full of holes.
The same thing is happening this year, and on top of that, many of the flowers we planted are being eaten! Oh the humanity!
Please help identify this culprit…Definitely not a helpful bug.
Signature: Vince S.
You are being plagued by one of the most well known invasive exotic species to have been introduced to North America, the Japanese Beetle. The beetle is so well known because it was originally introduced to North America on nursery stock that entered the U.S. in New Jersey. Since that time, it has spread across the country and despite all attempts to eradicate it, the Japanese Beetle populations show no sign of being under control. Numerous products are on the market, including Japanese Beetle traps. Because Japanese Beetles are relatively indiscriminate eaters, they will consume hundreds of different cultivated plants. When the hoards have defoliated one plant, they will just move to another species. They are especially fond of roses, much to the chagrin of many home gardeners. Regarding your apples, we are not fully convinced that the Japanese Beetles are feeding upon them, and if they are, we suspect they are only doing peripheral damage. While they will feed on the leaves of the apple tree, the damage you describe does not sound like Japanese Beetle damage. We suspect birds might be picking at your apples while the beetles feed on the foliage. It is also worth noting, that according to BugGuide: “Adult females lay eggs in soil June through early fall. Grubs feed on roots until hibernating underground (4-8″ deep) as third instar larvae when cool weather comes.” It looks like there is mating activity going on in your photo of the apple tree.