Japanese beetles have a distinctive appearance, with shimmering green bodies and bright copper wings. But don’t be fooled by their beauty — these .6-inch long, .4-inch wide insects feast on more than 200 different plant species in North America.

They don’t wreak much havoc in their home country of Japan, where they have natural predators. But since their introduction to the United States in 1916, Japanese beetles have had free reign to feast on everything from maple trees to holly to peaches and plums. Their population exploded in the northeastern U.S. and continues to expand westward.

Japanese beetle larvae are C-shaped, off-white grubs that take refuge underground during the fall and winter. They thrive in well-maintained grassy areas (like your front lawn), consuming the roots of grass, shrubs, and ornamental trees. They develop in spring and reach adulthood by summer.

Adult beetles rise from the ground in early summer to feed. For the next two months, they feast voraciously in large groups, covering a lot of ground. Females will stop eating only to a find a nice patch of soil in which to lay eggs. One mating cycle typically produces 1-5 eggs.

It’s easy to tell when you’ve had a visit from a flock of Japanese beetles. They eat leaves down to the vein, leaving behind skeletal foliage. They also gobble up fruit and flowers. These fair-weather pests can travel several miles if they catch wind of a new food source. You can expect them to start disappearing in late August and September with the arrival of cooler temperatures.

Japanese beetles like plants that grow in full sunlight. Cherry trees, apple trees, birch trees, and roses are particularly vulnerable. These beetles have been known to eat rosebuds from the inside out.

How do you combat a Japanese beetle infestation in your yard?

The insects move slowly, especially in the morning. You can easily hand-pluck the beetles off of your plants and throw them into a bucket of soapy water.

You can also spray your plants with neem oil to protect them. Neem is a common natural defense against garden pests because it prevents feeding.

Or, raid your kitchen: garlic and chives are useful in beetle-proofing your outdoor area. You can even use the remains of dead beetles to stave off the live ones.

But these DIY defenses have their limits. Japanese beetles might move slowly, but they spread out over large spaces, and their presence attracts other beetles to the area. The best solution to an invasion is to act fast and contact a trusted pest control provider like YES Pest Pros. YES Pest Pros can help save your lawn, and supply more information about Japanese beetles and other invasive species.Call YES Pest Pros today at 1‑800‑524‑8544 or visit http://www.yespestpros.com.