EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 06 - 2020 Num. article: 2020/116

Update on the situation of Popillia japonica in Italy

Popillia japonica (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, EPPO A2 List) was first found in Italy in July 2014 (EPPO RS 2014/179) in the Ticino Valley Natural Park, along the Ticino river, in the two contiguous Italian regions of Lombardia and Piemonte. Phytosanitary measures were applied to contain the pest. Annual official monitoring is carried out using pheromone/kairomones traps, soil coring and visual inspections. As a result, in May 2020, the demarcated area was composed of an infested zone (7550 km2) and a buffer zone of 10 km around the infested zone. The following phytosanitary measures have been taken in the demarcated area:

  • against adults: mass capture traps, attract and kill traps, attract and release (autodissemination traps charged with the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae);
  • meadow treatments with entomopathogenic nematodes (Heterorabditis bacteriophora, Steinernema carpocapsae) and fungi (Metarhizium anisopliae, M. brunneum) against the pest larvae; 
  • identification and monitoring of at risk sites for the potential passive spread of adults, in order to take control measures including insecticide treatments; 
  • restrictions on movement of rooted plants with soil attached and lawn turf; 

In addition, actions are conducted to raise public awareness.

Damage was observed in irrigated meadows, as well as on maize (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max) crops, although it generally did not exceed the economic damage threshold. In private gardens, severe defoliation was recorded on fruit trees, in particular cherry trees (Prunus avium), and vines (Vitis vinifera), as well as on ornamental trees and shrubs (Tilia, Betula, Wisteria, Rosa). Damage on leaves, flowers and fruits were also observed in some crops of small fruits (raspberry, blackberry, cranberry), bordering lawns. The pest was also found in a viticultural area, with the presence of many adult beetles in June and July causing leaf damage from feeding on grapevine plants.

The pest status of Popillia japonica in Italy is officially declared as: Present, under containment, in case eradication is impossible.


NPPO of Italy (2020-05).

Benvenuti C, Barzanti GP, Marianelli L, Peverieri GS, Paoli F, Bosio G, Venanzio D, Giacometto E, Roversi PF (2019) A new device for auto-disseminating entomopathogenic fungi against Popillia japonica: a study case. Bulletin of Insectology 72(2), 219-225.

Marianelli L, Paoli F, Sabbatini Peverieri G, Benvenuti C, Barzanti GP, Bosio G, Venanzio D, Giacometto E, Roversi PF (2019) Long‐lasting insecticide‐treated nets: A new integrated pest management approach for Popillia japonica (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 15, 259-265. https://doi.org/10.1002/ieam.4107

Marianelli L, Paoli F, Torrini G, Mazza G, Benvenuti C, Binazzi F, Sabbatini Peverieri G, Bosio G, Venanzio D, Giacometto E, Priori S, Koppenhöfer AM, Roversi PF (2018) Entomopathogenic nematodes as potential biological control agents of Popillia japonica (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) in Piedmont Region (Italy). Journal of Applied Entomology 142, 311-318.