Grape-Destroying Bug Found in Nebraska


A grape-eating beetle has made an appearance in Nebraska, posing a threat to the local industry.

The green June beetles were discovered in Lincoln County. The beetles are related to the common May and June beetles, which turn up every year in the state.

These beetles, however, are more of a threat to fruit, especially grapes. They can destroy a crop very quickly; they travel in swarms, eat much of a crop and defecate on the remainder. Also, once they have found the fruit, they emit a chemical to notify other green June beetles of its whereabouts.

Entomologist Dave Boxler with the West Central Research and Extension Center said that the green June beetles are native to the eastern and southern parts of the U.S., and they're common in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Experts think the bugs have been moving north and west because of warmer conditions and milder winters over the past 10 years.

To control the bugs, Boxler said, growers can cover plants with netting and apply insecticide. Digger wasps can also help, because the wasps dig through soil to find beetle larvae and deposit eggs on them. The newly hatched wasps feed on the larvae.