How To Get Rid Of June Bugs Beetles and Grubs [GUIDE]

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In the late springtime, you may notice large numbers of brown and iridescent shiny green beetles around your lawn and garden.

These are June bugs, also known by the common names June beetle or June bug beetle. They are a species of beetle from the genus Phyllophaga, with over 100 species of June bugs.

close up of june bug nibbling away on a flowerPin

The brown variety is usually present in greater numbers, while the green variety (also known as scarab beetles) is a bit less common.

Generally speaking, you see these brown bugs at night swarming around your porch light or streetlights. This is because they are nocturnal insects that come out at night.

Scarab beetles are out during the day.

Although they appear quite different, these two types of beetles are closely related.

Both species of beetles begin their life cycles as grub worms under the lawn or garden soil.

At the larvae stage, they are called white grubs or white grub worms. 

What Do June Bugs Eat? White grubs grow and thrive by feeding on the plant roots.

When they emerge in the springtime (usually during the months of May and early June), they move on to do moderate damage to your flowers, veggies, grass, shrubs, and fruit trees.

In this article, we will answer frequently asked questions about June bugs and provide tips to help you cope with them. Read on to learn more:

June Bug Infestation Questions & Answers

#1 – Where Do June Bugs Live and Are Most Commonly Found?

You’ll find June bugs all across North America and in many other locations around the globe.

They are most common in very warm areas and quite abundant in the US southern states.

You can commonly see these insects feed on the plant foliage and leaves of trees, including walnut and oak trees. 

#2 – What Does A June Bug Look Like?

Brown June bugs are about an inch long, reddish-brown, and they are oblong. They have plain brown, hard wings.

Their bellies are usually yellowish or greenish. Being insects, they have six legs that have rough, hairy protrusions.

Green June beetles are actually rather attractive. They are a deep, iridescent, emerald green in color. Their bellies are golden.

They are smaller than brown June bugs, and they are almost pentagonal in shape.

Their bodies are rather flattish, whereas brown June bugs are more rounded.

June bugs feeding on flowerPin

#3 – Do June Bugs Bite or Hurt You?

June bugs don’t bite. You will rarely encounter the green ones as they are fewer in number and don’t tend to swarm about.

When you walk through a lighted area at night in a warm climate, you are very likely to encounter dozens, if not hundreds, of brown June bugs.

They may bumble into you, crawl on you, and feel strange, but they will not bite or hurt you.

#4 – What Is The June Bug Life Cycle?

June beetles live a very short time. After they emerge from the soil in late May and June, the adult beetles live for only a couple of months.

During this time, the females may lay as many as 75 eggs, and therein lies your problem!

Those 75 eggs hatch into grubs that live in the soil underneath your lawn or garden for almost a year, eating plant roots.

What does a June bug do as grubs during the year? They happily munch away on the roots of your edible plants.

This is especially irksome if you are trying to grow root crops such as potatoes and carrots. Remember, the June bug is a common pest both in its larval stage and adult stage.

Then the June bug appears from its pupa stage, turning into a fully grown adult in the following spring. 

Adult June bugs will mate with other June bugs in the early summer, starting the life cycle. They specifically emerge in late spring, hence their common name.

If you have a severe infestation of June beetle bug grubs, you may even see your turf grass begin to peel up from the soil as the roots are chewed clean through.

June bug larvae predation will also damage other flowers and garden plants in your yard.

In fact, they may quickly lay waste to your vegetable seedlings when you put them out in the springtime.

If you have an especially heavy grub infestation of June bug larvae, you may find that the ground underfoot in your yard feels very spongy.

This is because these June beetle grubs tunnel vigorously in search of new food.

#5 – What Sort of Damage Do Adult June Bugs Do?

As adults, June beetles don’t actually do much damage. They do feed on some tree leaves (e.g., oak and walnut).

They may also feed on moss from tree barks leaving unattractive dead spots in their wake. In addition, they also tend to feed on the root systems.

A telltale sign of a grub problem is the noticeable spreading brown patches of dead grass on your lawn.

You may also notice plant leaves with ragged holes.

The main damage they do is simply to reproduce. As noted, a single female June bug can lay as many as 75 eggs a year.

75 multiplied by the number of June bugs currently in your yard is a whole lot of June bugs!

Female June bugs usually lay eggs in the late summer.

The June beetle grubs overwinter in the soil and metamorphose into beetles when the weather warms up in the spring.

#6 – What Eats June Bugs?

Irritating as they are, June bugs are an abundant source of protein for many wild critters.

This is both a curse and a blessing, depending on your situation.

Instead of asking – What attracts June bugs? Ask What do June Bug insects attract?

Take note – if you have lots of June bugs and June beetle in your yard, your space will be very attractive to wildlife such as:

  • Box Turtles
  • Armadillos
  • Possums
  • Gophers
  • Skunks
  • Moles
  • Toads
  • Birds
  • Wasps

June bugs are an important food source for these animals. 

You can also set up water sources, bird feeders, bird baths, and birdhouses to encourage birds to visit your yard.

Most of this wildlife is beneficial, but some can cause you problems.

For example, gophers, moles, and armadillos can lay waste on your lawn by digging burrows for a June beetle snack.

Toads, box turtles, and possums, on the other hand, are beneficial.

While possums can be somewhat problematic if they take up residence in your attic or under your house, toads and box turtles are entirely beneficial.

Having them in your yard and garden is a very good thing, indeed.

It goes without saying – it’s best not to attract skunks to your yard because of their tendency to spray when frightened and because of the very real danger of rabies.

It is worth noting that possums almost never contract rabies.

In fact, you can count the number of documented cases ever on the one hand.

This is because possums have a very low body temperature that will not support the rabies virus.

June beetles also attract meat-eating birds such as Blue Jays, mockingbirds, crows, owls, and others.

If you have chickens, they will certainly enjoy your June bugs. Common lizards and geckos also feed on June bugs, as do most reptiles.

#7 – Can the June Bug Insect Be Dealt With Entirely Naturally?

If you want to attract wildlife to your yard, you may not consider June bugs to be a problem.

A healthy population of native wildlife or natural predators in your yard may establish a very good balance and keep your June bug numbers controllable.

It is also possible to reduce the number of grubs in the soil by introducing nematodes.

These very tiny, structurally simple creatures live in the soil and are parasitic to June bug grubs and other beneficial insects or pests that are also soil dwellers.

Having a healthy population of nematodes in your soil can help keep your June bug grubs under control.

To use nematodes, purchase them online or at your local garden center and follow package directions to introduce them to your soil in the late summer at about the same time female adult bugs lay their eggs.

Another natural substance you can introduce to your soil is called a milky spore.

This is a bacterium (Bacillus popillate– Dutky) that combats all lawn grubs organically.

It will not only reduce the number of June bug grubs in your soil, but it also works against Japanese beetle larvae, maggots, flea larvae, cutworms, and more.

#8 – Should You Use Pesticides To Control June Bugs?

While it is certainly possible to enlist a pest control company or spray poison all over your yard yourself, this is the least desirable way of controlling June bugs.

When you poison June bugs and their larvae, you also poison beneficial flora and fauna in your yard.

You endanger your health with pesticide exposure and risk polluting the water table and waterways with runoff from pesticides.

However a couple of options. Apply Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to control the June bug grubs in the healthy lawn. And according to pest

However, you may opt to spray insecticides, such as chemical sprays, carbaryl, cyfluthrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin, when there’s too much damage in your area.

#9 – Is There A Safe Way To Directly Control June Bugs?

You can deal with the damage you see and the individual June bugs you see on a case-by-case basis.

When you see damaged plants and grass in your yard, take positive and specific steps to remove damaged organic matter.

  • Eradicate any June bug-heavy infestation you may see
  • Amend the soil and replace the plants

Seek out brown June bugs in your yard in the early morning hours when subdued after a night’s activity.

Collect them and dispose of the June beetle by either dropping them in hot soapy water or, if you have chickens, giving your hens a feast!

You can also reduce the number of June bugs in your yard by keeping your grass mowed a little bit higher throughout the hot summer months.

Tall grass discourages adult June bug females from laying eggs. They prefer to lay their eggs in very short grass.

Keeping your grass a little bit taller will help it to retain moisture and reduce the amount that you need to water.

Wet grass is also attractive to June bugs, so by keeping your grass longer, you discourage them in multiple ways.

Setting a June bug trap can also help resolve this issue. You can also use vegetable oil with a white light above the jar as a simple trap.

Focus On Controlling June Bugs Rather Than Eliminating Them

No matter how hard you try, you will never eliminate June beetles.

You could poison every existing adult and every grub on your property this year, and new ones would just come along and take their place next year.

Rather than opting for elimination, focus on establishing a balance, attracting beneficial wildlife, and being vigilant in keeping your June bug numbers under control.

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