The Japanese beetle is a pest that came to the eastern United States more than 100 years ago. It quickly became established as a pest of field crops, ornamentals, and small fruit. Today, Japanese beetles cause significant damage to these crops throughout the area east of the Mississippi River, and have several populations outside this range, threatening West Coast agriculture (Davis, 1920; Hungate et al., 2016; Potter and Held, 2002). Although Japanese beetle is polyphagous, raspberry is a preferred small-fruit host, inducing significantly more feeding than all other host plants except for European grape (Vitis vinifera) and the blossoms of roses (Rosa sp.) (Ladd, 1987). Adult beetles skeletonize leaves and cause defoliation, and can also cause direct damage by feeding on ripening fruit (Davis, 1920). Insecticides are used to control the adults before, during, and after peak emergence and mating (Potter and Held, 2002). Using entomopathogenic bacteria and nematodes for biologic control has shown promise, but also challenges. Problems encountered with these biocontrols include slow establishment, lack of cold tolerance, and difficulty in culturing and rearing. These drawbacks can make them poor choices for high-value crops that require fast and effective pest protection (Koppenhöfer et al., 2000; Stahly and Klein, 1992). The problematic reliance on a narrow range of insecticides and increased awareness of the impact of insecticides on nontarget species, as well as the incomplete development of biocontrols, suggest a need for new integrated pest management (IPM) techniques for Japanese beetle management.
A key step in developing IPM strategies is understanding the biology and behavior of the target pest. Japanese beetles primarily locate host plants via olfaction (Ahmad, 1982), aggregating in response to volatile compounds that plants release as a result of feeding (Loughrin et al., 1996). Although beetles navigate in response to odors, their activity is also influenced by light quantity. They tend to be most active in the field in full-sun conditions (Fleming, 1972). Research involving wind tunnel bioassays and field observations also showed that the degree of Japanese beetle response to attractants was related positively to light quantity and affected by light quality (Heath et al., 2001; Lacey et al., 1994).
High tunnels provide an opportunity to manipulate a crop’s light environment. The plastics on high tunnels can influence the amount and spectral distribution of solar radiation inside the tunnel, which could affect insects. In an early demonstration planting there were fewer Japanese beetles on raspberry plants in tunnels than on plants in the field, although the study was not replicated and the differences could not be compared statistically (Demchak, 2009). In another study, outside plantings required an application of carbaryl to control Japanese beetle whereas inside plantings did not require intervention, suggesting lower numbers or reduced damage (Hanson et al., 2011).
These observations support the idea that Japanese beetle accumulation may be affected significantly by the environmental conditions in high tunnels. In greenhouses, manipulation of the light environment has been used for controlling other pests. It has been observed repeatedly that aphid, thrips, and whitefly populations were smaller in greenhouses covered with UV-blocking plastics than in greenhouses with UV-transmitting plastics (Antignus, 2000; Antignus et al., 2001; Doukas and Payne, 2007).
Whether UV light has a similar effect on insect pests in high tunnels, where open sides allow insects to enter more freely than in greenhouses, remains a question (Krizek et al., 2005). When a UV-blocking plastic that reduced insect pest populations in greenhouses was used on high tunnels, numbers of leaf miners, but not whiteflies or thrips, were reduced. The lack of impact on these pests may have been the result of unfiltered light and passive movement through the sides of the tunnels (Costa et al., 2003). However, there are many variables that may affect different insect species in high tunnels—such as the levels and range of UV light, the behavior of the pest, and the specific crop—so additional research is needed. Japanese beetles are not related closely to the insect orders reported to be affected by UV-blocking plastics, but their observed flight activity suggests that spectral sensitivity plays a part in their response to attractants (Heath et al., 2001).
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of plastics with different spectral transmittance properties on Japanese beetle populations on high-tunnel raspberries. We characterized several types of UV-blocking plastics currently available, including their transmittance properties in the UV-B, UV-A, and visible ranges. We also examined data collected on foliage temperature to evaluate whether the plastics were associated with temperature changes that might affect Japanese beetle populations indirectly.
Ahmad, S. 1982 Host location by the Japanese beetle: Evidence for a key role for olfaction in a highly polyphagous insect J. Exp. Zool. 220 117 120
Anderson, V.L. & McLean, R.A. 1974 Design of experiments: A realistic approach. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY
Antignus, Y. 2000 Manipulation of wavelength-dependent behavior of insects: An IPM tool to impede insects and restrict epidemics of insect-borne viruses Virus Res. 71 213 220
Antignus, Y., Nestel, D., Cohen, S. & Lapidot, M. 2001 Ultraviolet-deficient greenhouse environment affects whitefly attraction and flight behavior Environ. Entomol. 30 394 399
Carey, E.E., Jett, L., Lamont, W.J., Nennich, T.T., Orzolek, M.D. & Williams, K.A. 2009 Horticultural crop production in high tunnels in the United States: A snapshot HortTechnology 19 37 43
Costa, H.S., Newman, J. & Robb, K.L. 2003 Ultraviolet-blocking greenhouse plastic films for management of insect pests HortScience 38 465
Doukas, D. & Payne, C.C. 2007 The use of ultraviolet-blocking films in insect pest management in the UK: Effects on naturally occurring arthropod pest and natural enemy populations in a protected cucumber crop Ann. Appl. Biol. 151 221 231
Elliott, A.C. & Woodward, W.A. 2007 Statistical analysis quick reference guidebook with SPSS examples. 1st ed. Sage Publications, London, UK
Fleming, W.E. 1972 Biology of the Japanese beetle. USDA Tech. Bull. 1449
Hanson, E.J. & Gluck, B.I. 2013 High tunnels for organic raspberry production in the midwestern US: Proceedings of the Second International Organic Fruit Symposium Acta Hort. 1001 73 77
Hanson, E.J., Weihe, M.V., Schilder, A.C., Chanon, A.M. & Scheerens, J.C. 2011 High tunnel and open field production of floricane- and primocane-fruiting raspberry cultivars HortTechnology 21 412 418
Heath, J.J., Williams, R.N. & Phelan, P.L. 2001 High light intensity: A critical factor in the wind-tunnel flight of two scarabs, the rose chafer and Japanese beetle J. Chem. Ecol. 27 419 429
Hungate, B.A., Kearns, D.N., Ogle, K., Caron, M., Marks, J.C. & Rogg, H.W. 2016 Hydrogen isotopes as a sentinel of biological invasion by the Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica (Newman) PLoS One 11 3 E0149599 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149599
Johansen, N.S., Vänninen, I., Pinto, D.M., Nissinen, A.I. & Shipp, L. 2011 In the light of new greenhouse technologies: Direct effects of artificial lighting on arthropods and integrated pest management in greenhouse crops Ann. Appl. Biol. 159 1 27
Koppenhöfer, A.M., Wilson, M., Brown, I., Kaya, H.K. & Gaugler, R. 2000 Biological control for white grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in anticipation of the establishment of the Japanese beetle in California J. Econ. Entomol. 93 1 903 909
Krizek, D.T., Clark, D. & Mirecki, R.M. 2005 Spectral properties of selected UV-blocking and UV-transmitting covering materials with application for production of high-value crops in high tunnels Photochem. Photobiol. 81 1047 1051
Lacey, L.A., Amaral, J.H., Coupland, J. & Klein, M.G. 1994 The influence of climatic factors on the flight activity of the Japanese beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): Implications for the use of a microbial control agent Biol. Control 4 298 303
Ladd, T.L. 1987 Japanese beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): Influence of favored food plants on feeding response J. Econ. Entomol. 80 5 903 909
Littell, R.C., Milliken, G.A., Stroup, W.W., Wolfinger, R.D. & Schabenberger, O. 2006 SAS® for mixed models. 2nd ed. SAS Institute, Cary, NC
Loughrin, J.H., Potter, D.A., Hamilton-Kemp, T.R. & Byers, M.E. 1996 Diurnal emission of volatile compounds by Japanese beetle-damaged grape leaves Phytochemistry 45 919 923
Raviv, M. & Antignus, Y. 2004 Invited review: UV radiation effects on pathogens and insect pests of greenhouse-grown crops Photochem. Photobiol. 79 3 903 909
Stahly, D.P. & Klein, M.G. 1992 Problems with in vitro production of spores of Bacillus popilliae for use in biological control of Japanese beetle J. Invert. Pathol. 60 283 291
Switzer, P.V. & Cumming, R.M. 2014 Effectiveness of hand removal for small-scale management of Japanese beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) J. Chem. Ecol. 107 293 298
Yao, S. & Rosen, C.J. 2011 Primocane fruiting raspberry production in high tunnels in a cold region of the upper midwestern United States HortTechnology 21 429 434