Bloomington-Normal's summer pests aren't showing up in their usual swarms this year. Illinois State entomologist Scott Sakaluk says Japanese beetles have arrived later in the season and fewer in number, citing his intact cherry tree as one of several pieces of evidence. Sakaluk says this might be the result of last summer's dry weather conditions.
"Last year at this time, our back yard was ravaged," he says. "And it was only, I'd say, the past few days that I've actually noticed even a few Japanese beetles out there. It's definitely an unusual year this year."
However, Sakaluk says the drought isn't necessarily a direct link.
"The drought last year isn't going to just have a direct effect on the beetles themselves," he says. "It's going to have a direct effect on any number of other things that could influence the life history of the beetles. For example, pathogens."
He also says the rainy spring could have weakened the beetles' immune system and made them more vulnerable to fungi. But, he says it's hard to trace the exact reason for this change without further research and experiments.
Sakaluk says he expects a conventional outbreak of Japanese beetles next year.
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