Yard And Garden Plague: Japanese Beetle Now Established In North Dakota

It’s long been said that North Dakota’s cold winters keep out the riff-raff. Well, that may no longer be true. Japanese beetles, which voraciously gobble over 300 different types of yard, garden and agronomic crops is apparently here to stay, and is surviving our winters.

Recent news releases by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and North Dakota State University confirmed a situation that was hoped would never happen. Japanese Beetle is surviving our North Dakota winters, meaning it overwinters and has established itself within the state. In the past, we’ve only heard about the devastating effects of Japanese beetles on other states’ yards and gardens. Now, it’s poised to happen to us. We had always hoped it wouldn’t live here, that our winters were too cold.

The Japanese beetle was first detected in 1916 in New Jersey, arriving from Japan. It has steadily progressed westward and was first detected in Bismarck in 2001, arriving on infested nursery stock, but it didn’t survive winters. Japanese beetles were again found in 2012, again in infested nursery stock. Since then, the beetle has been intercepted every year, and North Dakota now joins surrounding Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana, in states where the beetle has officially become established, and it’s now living over winter to breed and populate.

Japanese beetle is now found in 15 North Dakota counties, and is established and overwintering in 4 counties – Cass(Fargo), Burleigh(Bismarck), Ward(Minot), and Grand Forks County. 


  • 1/2 inch long
  • metallic green thorax and coppery brown wing covers with purple sheen in sunlight.
  • 5 patches of white hairs on each side of abdomen, and one white patch on the last abdomen segment. See red arrows on photo. 

sources: North Dakota State University and North Dakota Department of Agriculture. 


2 Responses

    1. Don Kinzler

      Hi. We just have to all be very vigilant, and apply insecticides as soon as beetles are detected to prevent populations from exploding. I’m sure next year there will be recommended pesticides published by NDSU, and I’ll pass those along. Thanks.

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