By Steve Lopez

For human beings; they appear to be small and harmless and they even good-looking or attractive. But for an equally beautiful and fragile plant life; they are big, they are numerous. Thus they are mean and the very sight of them could be a deadly nightmare.

Japanese beetles are known to be a terror among flowers and crops. Such creature vaguely allude to the mysterious yet highly aesthetic far eastern land itself. However, the damage they can create is similar to any natural calamity that might destroy plants indiscriminately.

They very much emulate the samurai warrior class of ancient Japan in a sense that they are both attractive yet ruthless at the same time. The Japanese beetles measure about 15 millimeters long and 10 millimeters wide. They have iridescent copper-colored forewing and a green pointed head.

In Japan, they are every bit benign and undamaging because of the presence of other pests; the natural enemies who have the strength and ferocity to repel their wholesale infestation of crops. However, in United States of America they are a unique type of pests and there is no other warrior insect in this land to stop their advance. For that reason they are a serious threat to 200 known species of plants.

It is ironic for an insect known to be voracious infesters of vast tracts of cultivated land to have been described as poor fliers. Indeed, Japanese beetles excel in crashing at their destinations due to their inferior aviation skills. However, it does not say the same for their brute strength and numbers.

According to mainstream history, these samurai insects have found their way in America in 1916, in a nursery near Riverton, New Jersey. But modern studies concluded that prior to 1916, the presence of Japanese beetle larvae were detected in a shipment of iris bulbs in the early 1910's. Their presence in Canada was first discovered in a vehicle of a tourist at Yarmouth, arriving in Nova Scotia via a ship from Maine in 1939.

Back then nobody ever thought that these insects were destructive. But the following decades proved them to be very harmful that the angry gardeners could very much make allusions of them with the mythical swarm of locusts of Egypt during the Biblical Ten Plagues. There is, however, a way to repel these creatures.

The surest way to destroy them is to destroy their source of strength - reproduction. One way is to spread milk spores around the perimeter where they may likely spawn their larvae, exterminating them during their infancy stage. Another way is through pheromone-bated traps, though the success rate is more of a liability since it attracts more beetles than the traps can handle.

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