2 new invasive insects found in Minnesota

Pictured Asiatic garden beetle (left) and Elm seed bug (right). (Courtesy of Minnesota DNR/Bugwood.org) (Supplied)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced two new invasive insects have been found in Minnesota this summer. 

The elm seed bug and Asiatic garden beetle were spotted by homeowners and reported in August to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which later confirmed they were invasive insects, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Elm seed bug

The elm seed bug, also known as Arocatus melanocephalus, is a nuisance pest that feeds on elm seed, linden and oak. The insect is native to Europe and was first confirmed in the U.S. in 2012, but can now be found in mostly western states like Oregon, Washington and Utah. 

The DNR said the elm seed bug is active in mid-June, is approximately 1/3 inch long, and appears a dark rusty-red and black color. 

"The underside of the insect is red. On the back behind the head, there is an upside-down black triangle set inside two rusty-red triangles. Next to the edges of the wings where the abdomen is exposed are alternating white and rusty red-black patches," the press release reads.

The DNR says the elm seed bug is similar to the box elder bug in the sense it can enter a home in large numbers. To prevent that, the DNR suggests sealing cracks on the outside of buildings, using insecticides as a barrier treatment, and vacuuming the insects that do make it inside. 

Asiatic garden beetle 

The Asiatic garden beetle, also known as Maladera formosae, feeds on the leaves and flowers of over 100 plants including fruit, vegetables, perennials and annuals. The invasive insect prefers the roots of ornamentals and garden plants including butterfly bush, rose, dahlia, aster, and chrysanthemum, according to the DNR. 

The insect is native to Japan and China and was first found in the U.S. in 1922 but can be found in New England and a few Midwestern states like Illinois and Indiana. 

The DNR describes Asiatic garden beetles as "about 3/8 inch long, are chestnut brown, and may have a slight iridescent sheen. The abdomen protrudes slightly from the wing covers. Adults emerge at night and fly actively when temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit," the press release reads. 

The DNR did not say where in Minnesota the insects were reported but is asking homeowners to report potential sightings to the MDA’s Report a Pest line with a photograph or call 1-888-545-6684.