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ISDA stopping invasive insect in Caldwell

Posted at 9:12 AM, May 24, 2024

CALDWELL, Idaho — On Tuesday, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) began treating yards in the Caldwell area fro Japanese beetles. This the second year of a five year treatment for the invasive insect. The second phase will be in july.

  • Japanese beetles breed underground first feeding on grass and then once grown, feed on most agriculture
  • ISDA has been surveying Idaho fro 20 years and this is the first time finding the bug
  • The treatment is optional, ISDA uses an EPA approved insecticide

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

It may look like brown sand or gravel, but what it does could stop an invasive insect from causing catastrophic problems.

"They would be devastating to the crop yields out here and we just, we don't want to see that for our farmers, we don't want to see that for Idaho's economy," said Lee Blahato, Caldwell resident.

Lee Blahato has lived in Caldwell for 6 years, and knows how many farmers call Caldwell home.

"I run into more people than not that have some sort of agricultural something going on," said Blahato.

She even let me tour her backyard garden.

"I've got squash here. We have really bad squash bugs," said Blahato.

Which is at risk of being attacked by these guys, Japanese beetles, which reproduce underground and start to eat.

"It's going to feed on the roots of the grass, kill the grass and from there it's going to eat everything else. Your roses, your hops, apples, grapes. Everything that we love, it loves too," said Andrea Thompson, administrator for the plant industry's division for ISDA.

That's why the Idaho State Department of Agriculture is going yard to yard in parts of Caldwell to stop the beetles from ever making it to the surface, using an EPA approved insecticide that kills the bugs before their population gets out of hand.

"This outbreak has been caught early we've surveyed Idaho for 20 years and this is the first find in the Caldwell area," said Thompson.

Treatment began last year AS a part of a 5-year plan to stop the species from spreading across the state. Blahato is glad her garden and nearby Idaho's farms are being protected.

"Pesticide treatment doesn't sound like the best thing when you hear it on the surface but when you think about the Caldwell and Idaho economy as a whole, I'm thrilled that they are out here trying to protect our investment and our economy and our community," said Blahato.