Milan – It was first reported in Italy in 2014. Now the Coldiretti Agriculture Organization launched the infestation alert in North Italy. Its name…Popillia japonica. It’s not a robot or cartoon character: it is a beetle, it comes from Japan and its preferred dinner is your lawn.
The little creature was only known to live in the Azores (PT) and in Kunashir Island (Kurile Islands – Russian Far East). Now this polyphagous pestis has been spotted on the European mainland and there could be already an infestation after three years from its first appearance within the Ticino Valley Natural Park.
(Source: EPPO Global Database).
Coldiretti warned that the beetle already infested 151 municipalities and it’s very greedy of lawn grass – directly from the root – during the larvae stage, or flowers when it’s an adult. But this Japanese beetle is quite adaptable: three centimetres long and preferring roses, it doesn’t mind feeding of other plants (more than 300, including fruits, flowers and vineyards).
How could it be arrived?
The presence of two airports near the infested area suggests that airport activities might have been responsible for the introduction of P. japonica. That’s why official control measures have been taken.
How to face the emergency?
Authorities have been continuing the controls and putting traps for mass trapping purposes.
Additional “weapons” at our disposal are the “Metarhizium anisopliae“, a widely distributed soil-inhabiting fungus that can be used as a biological insecticide to control a number of pests, or the “Bacillus thuringiensis“, commonly used as a biological pesticide.
Unfortunately, according to the declarations of Ettore Pradini – President of Coldiretti Lombardia Regional Federation – “in the last few decades we’ve been observing an explosion of several foreign species that are able to spread thanks to the absence of natural predators – that they have, instead, on their country of origin.
Let’s see how we will face this situation and eventually get rid of this new “oriental friend”.
Do you know the Japanese Beetle? Have you ever seen one on your lawn?