Good vs. Evil: Asian lady beetles and Japanese beetles

Asian lady beetle

Asian lady beetle - a good bug (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Their names are similar and they’re from the same region of the world, so I can see why some people are still confused about Asian lady beetles and Japanese beetles.  But when it comes down to it, there’s really no comparison. The bug pictured here – the reddish/orange lady beetle, is a beneficial insect. It feeds on aphids and other plant pests and doesn’t destroy anything, though I realize some people resent their intrusion in homes in the fall. On the other hand, the copper-colored Japanese beetle, a recent foreign invader in Iowa, is known to devour at least 300 plants, including hollyhocks, roses, raspberries, linden trees and grapes. If you see your leaves turning to lace, the likely culprit is the Japanese beetle.  Japanese beetles have no known predators here, other than me. So feel free to get rid of as many as you can. As mentioned previously, the most environmentally friendly method is to knock them into a bucket of soapy water when they’re sluggish – early evening seems to be the best time. If you have other suggestions – maybe from our East Coast readers and others who have learned to cope with Japanese beetles – please add your comments below.

Japanese beetles (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Japanese beetles - not a good bug, or just plain evil? (photo/Cindy Hadish)

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    KATHLEEN WANAMAKER said,

    Do Japanese Beatles bite? One landed on the back of my hand and I flicked it off. A couple of days later my hand started to itch. There appeared a raised spot that was itching. It has lasted for three days now.

    Ever heard of this?

    Thank you.

  2. 2

    Astersia said,

    The asian lady beetle is not really a “good” bug – it eats both “beneficials”,
    such as other native lady bugs, and “beautifuls”, such as butterfly larvae.

    Some are considering it an invasive insect, and looking for controls.

  3. 3

    Thank you for this blog, it is very informative and I will be sure to reference it when needed throughout our website once we add our resources section. Keep up the great blogging and thanks again.


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