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Therepopillia japonicait is a new threat to local crops. It was introduced in Italy only in 2014 and its activity causes severe damage in the hot periods of the year, when it emerges from the ground to feed on leaves, flowers and plant stems.
To fully understand how to get rid of popillia japonica I will describe the life cycle.
How to recognize Popillia japonica
Popillia japonicais an oval-shaped beetle, 8 to 11 mm long and 5 to 7 mm wide. It has a bright green body and wings, better defined aselytra, are copper or bronze in color. It can be confused with the indigenous species of beetles but only small tufts of white hairs placed around the abdomen, both on the sides and on the back, distinguish it. It is these white dots that make thepopillia japonicaeasy to recognize.
Plants infested with popillia japonicathey are immediately recognizable: the leaves take on a skeletal appearance and only keep the veins. Therepopillia japonicait feeds on leaves, fruits and flowers. This alien species begins to feed on the plant starting from the top, moving gradually on the lower leaves. There popillia japonicait attacks plants in groups, thus, if the number of individuals is high, the health of the plant is seriously compromised.
Life cycle of Popillia japonica
Females lay single eggs in the soil where thepopillia japonicait goes through two vital stages. Therepopilla japonicaemerges from the ground from the end of May, when temperatures begin to rise. In the north of Italy (where thepopillia japonicais more present) the insect emerges between June and July.
The hatching of the eggs leads to the formation of long larvae, at the end of development, about 20 - 25 cm. The larvae are transparent cream-white in color. The larvae reach their maximum development by feeding on the roots of herbaceous plants. The larvae ofpopillia japonicathey remain in the ground for a long period: in winter, in order to survive the cold, they go to rest assuming the characteristic C-shape. They grow and feed until the arrival of winter, suspending their activity with the advent of cold. The larvae resume all activities with the arrival of the following spring, when, after the stage, they transform into pupae.
The pupae represent the penultimate stage of thelife cycleof thepopillia japonica. The pupae are 15 mm long. The development of this stage is confined to a small earthen cell. It is from this cell that adult individuals emerge in summer. The cycle resumes starting from the month of May in the South, when the new adults emerge from the ground, reproduce again and thrive at the expense of the foliage of the plant species.
Detailed information on how to get rid of popillia japonica are contained in the article:fight against popillia japonica. With thebiological struggle, thepopillia japonicais attacked during that phase of thebiological cyclewhere it is most vulnerable: the larval stage.