Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)

Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)

The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, is native to Japan. However, it has been invading North America since the early 1900s. It skeletonizes plants by eating only the green, leafy material and leaving behind only the leaf veins. The beetle is known to affect: elm, maple, grape vine, hops, canna, crape myrtles, peach, apple, apricot, cherry, plum, rose, zinnia, corn, asparagus, soybean, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, among others.

The first Japanese beetle found in the US was found in 1916. It is believe that the beetle was transported with a shipment of iris bulbs. The first Japanese beetle found in Canada was found in 1939, in a tourist’s car after arriving in Yarmouth, NS by ferry from Maine.


Here are some distinguishing features of the adult Japanese beetle that may help positively identify it:

  • Approximately 15cm long and 10cm wide
  • Iridescent, copper-colored forewings
  • Green thorax and head
  • Is a very clumsy flier
  • Adults appear in summer, emerging from the soil in late June-July
  • Peak is in July-August, and after that they gradually disappear


PEIISC factsheet on Japanese Beetle

The Japanese Beetle is considered a priority species for the PEI Invasive Species Spotters Network.  If you see this insect, please report your sighting.