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June Bugs: Types, Photos, Facts + How to Get Rid of Them 2023

June Bug

The June bug is a sizeable beetle that is a common sight in many regions during the warm summer months.

The June bug is a fascinating insect with its iridescent green or brown body, distinct buzzing flight, and intriguing life cycle.

June bugs do not bite or sting; however, they eat foliage and plants, so for garden owners and plant lovers, June bugs are considered a nuisance. These buzzing bugs also chew on roots, destroying plantings from beneath the soil. 

While they may not be pollinators, June bugs still play a vital role in the ecosystem as a food source for many predators, including birds, mammals, and other insects.

Join me as we delve deeper into learning about June bugs, and uncover ways to control them from damaging your lawn and garden.

What are June bugs?

Junebugs belong to the Scarabaeidae family, Melolonthinae sub-family, and the Coleoptera order but can have very different appearances. 

There are around 300 species of beetles. While they all possess a heavy oval-shaped body, some unique features differentiate them. 

The Phyllophaga species or ‘leaf eaters’ are often mistaken for cockroaches due to their hard, dark, and shiny bodies. This species is nocturnal and identified by its dark brown exterior, six legs, hairy underbelly, and antennae. Adult June bugs can measure up to an inch and are found in the evenings, flying around light sources or plants. 

Another beetle commonly called a June bug or Japanese beetle is the Popillia Japonica species. This species is a slightly smaller June bug variety that measures around half an inch long, has iridescent copper wings and body, and a green head and thorax.

Types of June Bug

Even though there are hundreds of different species, there are six main types:

  • Common June beetle (Phyllophaga): this group is referred to as May bugs, May beetles, June Bugs, or June beetles. They usually have a dark reddish-brown color and measure over 1⅓ inches.
  • Ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata): This specie has green and white stripes on its back that give it a watermelon look. It can measure up to 1 ¼ inches long and hisses when touched. This bug can be found west of the Rockies, and its larvae are considered an agricultural pest. 
  • Green June bug (Cotinis nitida): this beetle can measure up to an inch and has a green body. The Green June beetle can be found in places ranging from Maine to Georgia.
  • Green fruit beetle (Cotinis mutabilis): Also known as Figeater Beetle, this bug has a metallic-green coloration, measures up to 1 ¼ inch long, and can be primarily found in the southeastern U.S.
  • Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica): This invasive beetle has a brown-green metallic sheen, and it is considered an agricultural pest to a variety of crops like strawberries, roses, corn, tomatoes, and raspberries. This bug can measure up to 1 ½ inches. Unlike other bugs, this beetle has a daytime activity cycle.
  • European Chafer (Rhizotrogus majalis): this invasive beetle has a caramel-brown colored back, can measure up to ½ inches, and is found throughout North America’s temperate latitudes.
Common June beetle (Phyllophaga)

Common June beetle (Phyllophaga) – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata)

Ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) – Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Green June bug (Cotinis nitida)

Green June bug (Cotinis nitida) – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Green fruit beetle (Cotinis mutabilis)

Green fruit beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

 

Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica)

Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

European Chafer (Rhizotrogus majalis)

European Chafer (Rhizotrogus majalis) – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

The June Bug’s Life Cycle

The life cycle of the Junebug begins in early summer during mating season and has four stages: egg, larva, pupae, and adult.

A female insect will lay eggs in several groups with up to 200 eggs for the season. She places these eggs 2-10 inches below the soil’s surface to keep them safe.

June bugs’ eggs only need 2-4 weeks to mature.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae, known as white grubs, feed on roots and decomposing matter, killing plants and grass roots from the bottom up. These beetle larvae have a distinct c-shaped and cream-colored body with a brownish-red head. Some species are in this larval stage for one year, while others need up to three years. 

In their second stage, the larvae pupate into pupa and require larger amounts of food to support their growth in this stage. 

The pupal then metamorphoses into adult beetles. They burrow several inches below the surface during winter to avoid freezing temperatures. 

Once warmer temperatures arise, the winged adults emerge from the soil during spring and early summer when food is most plentiful. 

Upon maturing and entering adulthood, the bugs can move beyond the grass and roots they were previously feeding on and attack nearby foliage. 

Adult bugs will become active during late spring and will remain so until late summer. 

How to Identify Them

Full-grown adults are usually dark brown-black, tan, or dark chestnut, measuring from 0.5 to 1.0 inches long. 

June bugs are known to damage turfgrass. The larvae feed on grass, roots of plants, and broadleaf weed and mature in the soil. June beetle grubs require 2-4 years in the soil to fully develop, unlike other white grub pests, which only have one generation yearly. 

June bugs are native to North America and can be typically found in low numbers anytime you dig in turf or a landscape planting. It’s unusual to see turf damage from June bug grubs. Dead patches in lawns are much more likely caused by Japanese beetle or European chafer. June bug grubs are much larger than European chafer or Japanese beetle when fully grown. This trait makes them even more attractive to raccoons and skunks.

Facts & Habits

  • Not aggressive: June bugs do not bite or sting people.
  • Active at night: These beetles are generally nocturnal and spend most nights breeding or feeding on plants.
  • Nighttime light attracted: Only male June bugs are attracted to lights. Being weak aviators, you’ll find these bugs attached to window screens (mostly at night).
  • Clumsy Flyers: June bugs do not have proficient flying abilities, so they tend to bump into random objects. 

Are June Bugs Harmful to Humans?

No, these bugs are harmless to humans, as they do not sting, bite, or transmit any disease. However, they can still damage your plants and lawns. 

Because they are an excellent food source for many wild animals and other pests, June bugs can become a critical problem during summer for you and your family.

Signs of June Bug Infestations

Here are some signs that may indicate that you have a June Bug infestation in your garden:

  • June bug carcasses
  • June beetles flying around your property
  • Increase in spiders or other pests
  • Dead spots on your lawn
  • Dead plant roots
  • Holes or bites in trees or shrubs’ leaves

How to Get Rid of June Bugs

Just like their grubs, June bugs can be problematic for your lawn and plants, but besides this, adult June beetles can also be annoying when clinging onto your window screens and buzzing around porches or other outdoor areas. Here’s how to get rid of June bugs:

  1. Target the grubs: wiping out this pest is easier when they’re still grubs, so spotting these bugs in their early stages will be helpful. The grubs remain near the soil surface until fall; if you catch them, spray them with insecticide.
  2. Remove adults with a homemade trap: now is the time to target adult bugs before they lay more eggs. Fill a jar with equal parts of molasses and hot water to attract them. Mix and bury the trap near the area you spotted them, leaving only the opening above the soil. This mix will drown and kill them.
  3. Remove by hand: if you still see odd June bugs around your garden, simply remove them by hand using protective gloves and place them in a jar of soapy water to dispose of them.
  4. Spray insecticide: if all else fails, you can get a potent pesticide to eliminate these bugs. However, remember that these insecticides can damage other beneficial insects in your garden, so use them with caution.

 

Other Pest Control Guides from Planet Natural:

Carpet Beetle: How to Identify and Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

How to Get Rid of Potato Beetles (Bugs) Effectively

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Melissa Askari is a biologist and master gardener who is known for her contributions to the field of sustainable living. She is a regular contributor to Planet Natural, a website that provides information and resources for gardening, composting and pest control. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices and helping people create beautiful, healthy gardens using natural methods. With her expertise in both biology and gardening, Melissa is able to provide valuable insights and advice to gardeners of all levels. Her passion for the natural world is evident in her writing and her dedication to promoting sustainable practices that benefit both people and the planet.