The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Pest Program is now seeking consent from residents of Yakima, Benton, and Franklin counties to treat for the invasive Japanese beetle.

Japanese beetle numbers declined 18% in 2023

The Pest Program was able to report a successful decline in Japanese beetles in 2023, from 23,944 trapped beetles in 2022 to 19,655 trapped beetles in 2023. This was despite receiving responses from less than half of the target properties for pest trapping and treatment.

Camilo Acosta, WSDA's Japanese beetle eradication coordinator, said in a press release:

We’re starting to see progress from the work we’ve undertaken. But to really knock back the number of beetles, we need a lot more people to sign up to have their properties treated. We need everyone in the impacted communities to pull together with us to eradicate this beetle.

Treatments begin in April 2024. This is when the larvae (grubs) begin feeding on lawn roots. Lawns are treated with a larvicide called Acelepryn®, which is considered a "reduced risk" pesticide by the Washington State Department of Health. It is not considered a health risk to humans, pets, wildlife, or any insects that don't go through a larval state in the soil.

A satellite map of the treatment areas for Japanese beetles in Yakima county.
Washington State Department of Agriculture

Consent forms for treatment have been updated this year

Due to concerns about the language in previous consent forms, the WSDA has made updates to this year's consent forms for treatment. Residents in the affected areas are encouraged to review the new forms and consider signing up for free treatment, especially if they have declined in the past.

The Pest Program will be proactively visiting community events and sending mail to residents, sharing treatment maps and consent forms, starting this December and into 2024. An online consent form will be available in January.

A satellite map of the planned treatment zone in Pasco, WA for the Japanese beetle.
Washington State Department of Agriculture

Treatment plans extending to Pasco, WA

Treatments are planned for Grandview, Sunnyside, Outlook, Mabton, and Prosser. A square mile in the Pasco area is being added for the first time this year. The Japanese beetle was first detected in Yakima County in 2021.

The Washington State Legislature has provided funding for the treatments, so residents will not be charged any fees.

WSDA's acting entomology branch manager, Tiffany Pahs, emphasized:

We’re at a critical juncture. I’ve lived in a state infested with Japanese beetle, and it is a major pest not only for farmers but for anyone enjoying the outdoors. If the community comes together now - getting their properties treated and following the quarantine restrictions - we have a real chance at getting rid of this pest.

Learn more at the WSDA Japanese Beetle project page.

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