TESTIMONY. “Whether it’s a Japanese beetle or something else, it attacks my cherry trees and my catalpas”

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After the alert launched by ANSES, and relayed by “La Dépêche”, of the probable invasion in France of the Japanese beetle, an insect pest for trees and crops, a resident of Tarn-et-Garonne wonders. For the past few days, at nightfall, a hundred beetles have been attacking its catalpas and cherry trees.

After the Asian hornet, another harmful insect is about to colonize France: the Japanese beetle. In any case, this is the information launched, as an alert, by the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) about this insect, spotted in 2014 in Italy, which could threaten nearly 400 species of plants.

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Japanese beetle: the probable arrival in France of this insect pest of trees worries

Has the Japanese beetle ever made its home in our area? A resident of Tarn-et-Garonne fears it.

Denis Valmary, residing in Labarthe, a village in Quercy, has been observing “for 10 or 15 days the presence of a number of flying insects” on his property. “It was when I read the article in La Dépêche that I wondered if it was not about Japanese beetles. At first, I thought it was a kind of rather elaborate beetle. They arrive at nightfall to feast and land at the tops of the trees. They feast on the leaves of my catalpas but also of my cherry trees.”

One of the beetle specimens captured by Denis Valmary

Denis spotted a colony of a good hundred of these funny insects which have similarities with the Japanese beetle but do not have the characteristic color, a shiny green-blue on the head and the upper part of the legs, so that the wings are rather predominantly brown. Tuesday evening at his home in Labarthe, Denis went into “warrior” mode. Armed with a badminton racket, he neutralized several beetles to capture them. On Wednesday, he came to show a specimen to the editorial office of the newspaper, in Montauban, and is looking for an entomologist who could identify for sure this gluttonous insect of tree leaves.

Not to be confused with rose chafer

In the south-west of the department, in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, a reader also sent us a beautiful photo (taken on May 18, she specifies) of a beetle placed in the middle of rose petals. Let’s quickly reassure Nathalie: it’s a rose chafer that had taken up residence in her garden. Aptly nicknamed the rose chafer, it is a very pretty beetle of metallic green color with golden reflections. Unlike the Japanese beetle, the rose chafer does not cause devastating damage in crops, vegetable gardens, forests or beds of ornamental plants. Its larva is even very useful in the garden since it promotes compost.

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