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Invasive Japanese beetles found in Washington County

A record number of invasive Japanese beetles have been found in Washington County this summer.

A Japanese beetle

PORTLAND, Ore. – Invasive Japanese beetles are turning up in record numbers in Washington County.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has found 265 beetles in traps within the city of Portland this summer. Workers also found live beetles damaging roses and other plants.

“What we know right now is that this infestation is localized yet producing enough adult beetles that we can find them feeding on roses and other plants in this area,” said Clint Burfitt, manager of the ODA’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program.

The department placed more traps in the area of Northwest Saltzman and Northwest Thompson roads. Burfitt said the infestation had been present for over a year before it was detected this summer.

The invasive beetles are bright metallic green with copper-colored wings. They feed on a variety of plants such as trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits and vegetables, according to the ODA.

It’s unclear how the Japanese beetles arrived in Oregon, but the ODA said the pests have previously been found on air cargo carriers at Portland International Airport.

No plans to eradicate the beetles are in place. Burfitt said the ODA will continue to set traps to hopefully locate the breeding population before making a plan of action.

“Without community action, this pest will spread and cause an increased use of pesticides by homeowners and producers of agricultural crops such as cannabis, hops, nursery plants, and wine grapes,” said Burfitt.

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