The Popillia Japonica Newman Beetle feasts ona variety of 300+ plant species; including decorative plants, fruits and vegetables (including corn). However, the beetle possess an interesting digestive quirk. Not half an hour after eating Geranium pedals, the beetle rolls over on its back, legs antennae twitching in the air, and it remains in such a position, completely paralyzed for several hours.
During this unfortunate state they are often killed off by predators or find themselves in an unfavorable environment. In the laboratory, the paralytic effects of ingesting the pedals have been shown to last for around twenty four hours for this species of beetle. Ohio and Michigan are some of the largest producers of these targeted plants, most of them have to deal constantly with Popillia japonica Newman Beetles. So obviously finding a way to ulitise the toxic effects of Germanium plants would save everyone a lot of hassle and money.
This is just what Chris Ranger at ARS Greenhouse Production Research Group in Toledo is trying to do. Hopefully ARS and Ranger will be able to meet their goal of identifying the responsible component in the Germanium’s pedals, and then work it into a new kind of targeted pesticide. Staving off the overpopulated species could be an advancement that saves the ornamental plant industry $450 million dollars each year.