June Beetle or June Bug
The June beetles are velveted green with orange or rust stripes. The size of the beetle can range from one-half to 1-inch long. Peak flights for this beetle are in June, the reason we call the beetle June bug.
Their flight this year seems to be somewhat late because we see high numbers of the insect. These beetles prefer sandy soils; we have plenty of this in Effingham, making it easier to tunnel.
Green June beetles have a single generation each year. Currently, we are at a point in the cycle where the females are laying eggs (10-30 per female). From this point, the eggs in the soil will grow to become grubs. These grubs will overwinter in the soil. During warmer days in winter, these grubs will be active.
Fresh mounds of trails or pulverized soil can be spotted during these warm days. This activity will increase as spring approaches until finally, we have adult beetles emerge, and they take flight.
These noisy beetles may not particularly inspire vibrations of delight for most folks, but then again, they are going to visit whether they be invited or not. So, let’s maybe “grit our teeth” if need be and find out just what these beetles are all about.
Why do we see them for a few hours each night only? Where are they the rest of the time? Do they bite? Are they outstanding bugs or maybe not so good?
Read on, and maybe you’ll look at these beetles differently,” or maybe not. You be the judge and jury!!
What we see over the next weeks crashing about putting our pets into a tizzy and possibly some of our pets owners as well are the adult June Beetles.
June Beetle Life Cycle
And yes, we will see them only for a few hours each night before they “disappear” somewhere. We will soon find out where that somewhere is.
When we see these beetles making their crash landings, I suspect some thoughts about the intelligence level of these creatures must come into doubt. However, there is little done in Mother Nature’s community without reason.
So now to explain, ” the June Beetles (as have many other true beetles) have evolved to have very hardened front wings and leave a second pair they keep neatly folded underneath to give them the ability of flight.
That hardened pair of front wings (elytra) are great at protecting from many predators; however, leaving them without one set of flight wings has led to them sacrificing some of their flight ability.
The protection factor may be better than many of their insect kin. However, a graceful flight is not an option. They have little choice but to make crash landings. They are attracted to light. So for that reason, many of those less than graceful landing sites will be our window screens.
As we see them at the moment, the June Beetles are just as they were all winter. They live as adults buried in the soil. When things warm up in spring, they come to the surface for that few hours in the evening. It’s during this period that mates are chosen, and mating occurs.
The females tend to have much smaller flight wings than the males. So yes, it’s mostly the guys that cause all this ruckus crashing around. Boys will be boys!
After a few hours of crashing about, the whole June Beetle community very quickly digs a shallow tunnel into the ground to prepare for the next “night out,” In the case of fertilized females, they will lay eggs in the soil.
Can June Beetle Bite?
So, do these June beetles bite … not at all. Those clingy legs may send a few shivers when they accidentally crash land on us but bite us they do not.
So, now the other side of the story. With eggs deposited, phase two of the June Beetle’s life starts.
For our common species, we will not see the hatched eggs become crashing adults for three years. The eggs hatch into larvae we call grubs and live their life underground.
This is what gardeners frequently encounter as white, transparent, light brown hardened heads and are usually curled into a C.
Over the three-year period, they pupate and emerge as larger grubs. It is at this grub stage that the June Beetle is not a gardener’s pal.
They tend to feed on grassroots and other root vegetation, and if the garden hoe tends to be a bit “heavy-handed” on them, Mother Nature will probably look the other way.
The vast majority of insects in Mother Nature’s community are precious to us and all wildlife in their role in pollinating plants. Without them, life, as we know it surely, would not exist.
However, it would seem June Beetles are considerably lower in the scale of value. They may get a high rating if you happen to be a Robin that’s found a delicious juicy grub to take to an impatient hungry family of nestlings or a skunk foraging for evening snacks; however, in the big scheme, June Beetles may not get the higher PR ratings.
However, June Beetles are undoubtedly here to stay. So best to understand them, and maybe the odd “squish” wouldn’t hurt for those grubs that end up in our gardens!
Can these bugs cause damage?
It depends. If the population is high enough in your yard, it could warrant controlling the pest. Grubs are capable of pruning the roots of plants. These grubs also attract birds, armadillos, and skunks. I get several calls about armadillos, and if you want to reduce armadillo traffic, you remove the food (grubs). The adult beetles can feed on fruits such as apples, peaches, and figs.
How do we determine if we have enough beetles to spray?
If you apply a 1-2 tablespoon of lemon dish detergent mixed in 1 gallon of water over a 1 square foot area, this will cause grubs to come out of the ground.
If you see more than 4, you may want to consider controlling the insect.
The best time for control is generally August-October. I would suggest trying to control in September-October since we had a later flight this year.
If your soil is dry, irrigate before application. Make applications late in the day because the grubs move to the surface during the evening. If you follow the above tips, you should have better control of the grubs.
The good thing is if we miss an application for these insects, our turfgrass will probably survive. But, if our farmers miss this application and the June bugs populations are high, they can lose a lot of valuable food for the livestock
10 Things About June Bugs
June bugs go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
June bugs often fall prey to a species of female fly that will lay
an egg under the beetle’s wing covers, where it will hatch and feed on the beetle, eventually killing it.
Each female will lay 50-200 small pearl-like eggs in the ground.
June beetle larvae are considered excellent fish bait.
Lifespan: up to our years.
The June bug is nocturnal and attracted to bright lights. Many June
bugs die after becoming exposed to light for too long.
Few different species are commonly called June
bugs and these include: Chafer Beetle Green June Beetle Japanese
Beetle Ten-Lined June Beetle
June bugs are one of nearly 300 species of Phyllophaga -a very
a large genus of New World scarab beetles.
These red-brown beetles commonly appear in the Northern Hemisphere during warm evenings from May to early July, with the heaviest occurrence in June.
After hatching, the larvae can live for 2-3 years in the ground before surfacing to become an adult.