PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite paying $300,000 to keep an invasive beetle species out of the state 3 years ago, the Oregon Department of Agriculture says the bugs recently made their way through the cracks and back into the region.
“At this point, [Portland] has a problem,” Clint Burfitt with ODA’s Insect Pest Prevention Management Program said. “It has a Japanese beetle problem.”
Thirty-two of the beetles were caught near Portland International Airport back in 2013. The state paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent another infestation.
But Burfitt says they’ve been detected again, and they may have been here for years.
“As of a few days ago we were up to 265,” he told KOIN 6 News. “This is the most Japanese beetles that have ever been detected in the state.”
Having a Japanese beetle presence means pesticide use will go up, Burfitt said.
“This is something we don’t want to establish here,” he explained. “It eats so many different types of plants and it will result in homeowners using pesticides more often to enjoy what they like in their garden… They’re very attracted to roses.”
They’re also known to feast on cannabis, grapes, hops and other Oregon favorites.
Burfitt says the ODA has isolated the Japanese beetles for now. The next step, he says, will be to develop a professional plan to possibly eradicate them from the area.
The department is urging the public to refrain from spraying pesticides on your own.