Switzerland suffers from 'import' Japanese beetle from EU neighboring countries

Switzerland is increasingly troubled by invasive plant and animal species that are not allowed in the country but still end up there from surrounding EU countries. For example, the Japanese beetle is now also a threat to agriculture in non-EU country Switzerland

Of the invasive alien species, 41 percent come from Asia and 30 percent from North America. The introduction of the alien species occurs in various ways: 40 percent were introduced deliberately and then accidentally released into the environment. Another 32 percent was inadvertently brought to new bieden with trade goods. It is not known how they were introduced for 18 percent of the non-native species.

For example, the Japanese beetle first appeared in Europe in the Spanish Azores islands off the coast of West Africa in the 1970s. In 2014 it was then discovered in northern Italy and in 2017 the beetle was first discovered in southern Switzerland.

In the meantime, isolated finds of the Japanese liver have also been made north of the Alps: in 2021, the city nursery in Basel registered the first discovery. The Japanese beetle is voracious and feeds on more than 300 different species of plants: it causes massive damage both as a caterpillar in the soil and as a beetle in many cultivated plants, pre-destroying fruit crops.

Switzerland now has 1,305 such alien species. “Only” 15% of these are invasive and pose a major problem for agriculture. Among them are 430 animals, 730 plants and 145 fungi. Of these, 197 species are classified as invasive. This means that they pose a risk to people and the environment, affect biodiversity or disrupt ecosystem services and their sustainable use.

In the EU, the Asian ladybug was deliberately introduced in the 1980s for biological control of aphids and is mainly used in greenhouses. The creature has never been approved for use in biological crop protection in Switzerland, but was first discovered there in 2004. Since then it has multiplied and spread enormously.