Japanese beetles taking over crops in the tri-states - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Japanese beetles taking over crops in the tri-states

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WARSAW, Ill. (WGEM) -

Tri-state farmers face a major threat this summer, and it's not the weather.

Japanese beetles are infesting corn and soybean crops, destroying the plants in a matter of days.

And farmers say the tiny bug is costing them big time.

 

"Once one gets to a spot they tend to congregate together", said Joe Zumwalt, who farms 1600 acres of corn and soybean crops in the Warsaw bottoms.

 

And just in the past two days Zumwalt says he's finding more and more of his soybean plants that are covered with up to 8-10 Japanese beetles feasting all at once.

"This is the worst infestation we've had since I remember. I've been a farmer for 15 years, this is the worst infestation of Japanese I've seen," said Zumwalt.

But Zumwalt says his soybean crops aren't his biggest worry.

"The biggest concern has been in the corn crop because if they really clip those silks, and you don't get that ear pollinated, there may be nothing out there," said Zumwalt, "A normal silk will be long and full and you can tell that that's correctly pollinated. The Japanese beetles at this silk. This should look exactly like that."

To combat the beetles, Zumwalt says he and other farmers in Warsaw are flying in pesticides specifically to spray for the beetles.

He says he's had to spend nearly $40,000 to spray all of his crops, just to keep the bugs at bay.

But he says the extra cost is worth it.

"It could completely eliminate that soybean plant in a matter of a week, so it's something you've got to be out scouting for and got to treat," said Zumwalt.

Unfortunately for Zumwalt he says the Japanese beetle infestation is just beginning in the tri-states, and could last another 4-6 weeks.

But he's hopeful the extra money he's spending on pesticides will do the trick.

"As we've walked through a few fields, I've seen some dead beetles, and I'm tickled to death because I want to see these things gone," said Zumwalt.

Local Ag experts tell WGEM it's just too early to tell if this damage will affect the price you pay for corn at the grocery store.

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