Treatment to eradicate the invasive Japanese beetle to start | Lower Valley

GRANDVIEW, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Department of Agriculture plans to begin treatments to eradicate an invasive Japanese beetle infestation May 2 in central Washington.

The agency plans to treat about 2,000 acres (809 hectares) in Grandview and surrounding areas of Yakima and Benton counties, state agriculture officials said in a news release Thursday.

The highly invasive pest eats over 300 different plants, including roses, grapes and hops. If they reproduced and spread, the beetles would pose a serious threat to farms, gardens and the environment in Washington state, officials said.

Acelepryn, the product used to treat the area, is a low-risk insecticide that is not harmful to people or pets, officials said.

Licensed applicators will apply the product to plant foliage or directly to the soil. Agency staff will also monitor treatment progress and seek permission to treat people at properties who have not yet responded to agency requests.

The agency will also set up traps to continue monitoring the beetle and is considering quarantine of the infested area to limit the spread of the pest.

Agriculture officials said last year they had tracked beetle activity since the 1980s and occasionally a beetle was found. But they couldn’t explain the recent exponential growth.

Last year, authorities captured more than 24,000 Japanese beetles in the area.

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