Oriental beetles are a common garden pest that can cause significant damage to plants, lawns, and gardens. These invasive insects are similar to their close relatives, the Japanese beetles, and are known for their voracious appetite for a variety of plants, including ornamental plants, flowers, and turfgrass.
One way to control oriental beetles is through handpicking, which is often most effective in the morning and evening when the insects are less active ^. Chemical treatments are also available, but it’s essential to carefully read and follow the product label for the safest and most effective application. Remember, early intervention is critical to prevent severe infestations and damage to your garden.
Identifying Oriental Beetles
Oriental beetles (Anomala orientalis) are insect species found in the United States. Adult beetles are small in size and typically have a combination of black, multicolored or tan wings with copper-colored backs. Males and females are similar in appearance.
Some key features of Oriental beetles are:
- Black, multicolored, or tan wings
- Copper-colored back
- Similar appearance in males and females
The life cycle of Oriental beetles consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adult beetles are active during the summer months and lay eggs in the soil. The larva, also known as grubs, feed on plant roots and hibernate during winter. They pupate in spring before emerging as adults.
The life cycle stages include:
- Larva (grub)
- Adult (beetle)
Comparison to Japanese Beetles
Oriental and Japanese beetles are both invasive insects found in the United States, originating from Asia. However, they differ in appearance and behavior.
|Black, multicolored, or tan wings/copper-colored back
|Metallic green with copper-colored wings
|1/2 inch in length
|Larva feed on plant roots
|Larva feed on plant roots, adults feed on leaves
While both species can cause damage to plants, Japanese beetles are usually more destructive as their adults also feed on leaves, in contrast to the Oriental beetles which have their larva causing damage to plant roots. Oriental beetles can be handpicked from plants, just like Japanese beetles, with increased efficiency during morning and evening hours when they are less active.
Damage Caused by Oriental Beetles
Garden and Landscape Damage
Oriental beetles are invasive species that cause significant damage to a wide range of plants in gardens and landscapes. They mainly target the following:
- Trees: leaves become skeletonized or tracery-patterned
- Flowers and shrubs: roses, raspberries, and many others are consumed or disfigured
- Lawns: infestations lead to brown patches, as a result of grubs feeding on roots
For example, a garden with beautiful roses may lose its visual appeal due to damaged petals and leaves caused by these beetles.
Oriental beetles also wreak havoc on agricultural crops, leading to reduced yield and economic losses for farmers. They primarily attack the following crops:
- Soybean fields
Comparison between Oriental beetles and Japanese beetles in agricultural damage:
In conclusion, while both Oriental and Japanese beetles cause considerable damage to various plants and crops, they might target and damage different kinds of crops and gardens to varying extents.
How to Control Oriental Beetle Infestations
Insecticides can be effective in controlling oriental beetles. When using these products, wear gloves and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Example: Ortho Home Defense.
- Effective in killing beetles and their larvae
- Easy to apply with a spray bottle or granules
- Can be harmful to beneficial insects, like aphids
- Chemical exposure risk if not used safely
Applying Natural Remedies
Natural remedies, like dish soap and water, can be used to help control oriental beetles. For example, mix a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle with water and apply directly to beetles.
- Non-toxic and safe for plants
- No harmful chemicals
- May not be as effective as insecticides
- Need to reapply frequently
Applying Traps and Barriers
Traps, like yellow sticky traps or light traps, can help control oriental beetle infestations by attracting and capturing the bugs. Window screens can prevent beetles from entering your home.
- Non-invasive and chemical-free
- Can be used in combination with other methods
- Traps can be unsightly and require regular maintenance
- Not effective for large infestations
To prevent oriental beetle infestations, adopt the following practices:
- Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation with caulk
- Regularly inspect plants for signs of beetles, scale insects, or mites
- Keep the outdoor area clean by removing dead leaves, debris, and standing water
- Encourage natural predators, like birds, to visit your garden
- Consult a pest control expert for advice on prevention and treatment
- May not be foolproof against persistent infestations
- Some methods, like sealing your home, can be time-consuming and require professional help
Additional Information and Tips
Protecting Your Garden From Infestations
To safeguard your garden from Oriental beetles and other pests like Asian lady beetles, consider the following preventive measures:
Regular monitoring: Check your garden for any signs of infestation at least once a week. Keep an eye out for damaged leaves and grubs.
Seal entry points: Doors and windows can be possible entry portals for beetles. Install tight-fitting screens and weather stripping to keep insects out.
Attract beneficial insects: Encourage natural predators, such as birds and certain insects, to visit your garden. Plant flowers that attract these beneficial insects.
- Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Georgia gardeners can plant nectar-producing flowers to attract parasitic wasps.
- Farmers in Washington, Connecticut, and California can house native bird species to control beetle populations.
Removing Beetles from Indoor Spaces
If Oriental beetles find their way into your home, follow these simple tips to remove them:
Traps: Use non-toxic pheromone traps to lure beetles and capture them indoors. Dispose of the captured insects regularly.
Physical removal: When you spot a beetle, use a vacuum or sweep them into a dustpan and remove them from your living spaces.
Remember, prevention methods can vary depending on your location and the specific pests in the area. Consult local U.S. Department of Agriculture or extension offices for more information and region-specific tips.
While dealing with garden and indoor beetle infestations can be challenging, following these recommendations can help maintain a healthier environment for your plants and living spaces.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Oriental Beetle
Subject: Southern NH Beatles.
Location: Southern NH
August 4, 2017 3:18 pm
Hi and thank you for providing this site. I’ve got some good pictures (I think) of a beatle. He had lunch with me on my deck today. I’ve looked at a ton of pictures trying to figure out who this little guy is but to no avail, so I have dubbed him Frank for the time being. Do you know Franks official name?
We identified this Oriental Beetle, Exomala orientalis, thanks to Arthur V. Evans excellent book Beetles of Eastern North America where it states: “This immigrant species from Asia is now established from Maine south to Georgia, west to Wisconsin.” According to BugGuide: “adults emerge in late June and July.”
Letter 2 – Oriental Beetle
Subject: Mystery Beetle
Geographic location of the bug: Potomac, Maryland
Time: 09:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We always try to identify insects we find. But we’ve been unable to ID this particular insect, which we believe is a beetle. We’ve looked in 2 different guides, but no match. Can you help us?
How you want your letter signed: Caleb & Adam
Dear Caleb & Adam,
We identified this Invasive Exotic Oriental Beetle, Exomala orientalis, thanks to Beetles of Eastern North America by Arthur V. Evans. Here is a matching image on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “native to E. Asia, adventive in NA (*NS-GA to ON-WI-*MO)(*BG data), and spreading” and “earliest US records: 1920s.”