As of this week, around 250 Japanese beetles, a highly destructive invasive species of insect, have been captured mostly in the area of Kendrick Park.
Clark Van Hoosier, city of Sheridan arborist, said the first beetle was captured by a city employee around Aug. 17 in the park.
Van Hoosier said the USDA collectors also brought pheromone traps to set to capture additional insects. He said that indicates the population of Japanese beetles in Sheridan isn’t huge but it is what he called “decent-sized.”
Unlike many other insect pests, the Japanese beetle is a generalist, with adults feeding on, and damaging, the foliage, flowers and fruits of over 300 ornamental and agricultural crop plants and trees. According to the USDA, the larval stage of the insect, known as white grubs, feet on the roots of grasses and can be highly destructive to lawns, golf courses and pastures.
Van Hoosier said Japanese beetles are native to Japan but have been in the U.S. Since 1916. The insect is reportedly well established in states east of the Mississippi River, and populations can be found as well in Montana, Nebraska and Colorado.
Van Hoosier said this is the first year that the beetles have been officially identified in Wyoming. At this time, he said, the majority of the beetles have been found in the Kendrick Park area.
Van Hoosier said there are a large number of chemical controls for both the adult and larval stages of the insect, but probably the best control right now is for people to turn off their irrigation.
He said the city has turned off all irrigation to the parks and has asked the school district and some others to turn off their irrigation as well. He said the Japanese beetle isn’t an insect we’re prepared for, but hopefully it’s one we can eradicate.
Van Hoosier said anyone who has questions can contact him via email at email@example.com or call the Weed and Pest hotline at (307) 655-8297.