June bugs or June beetles are brown or dark green measure around 2.5cm long and 1.5cm wide. Their undersides have a metallic green or gold colour.
Brown june beetle (left), Brown June beetle grub (right)-photos Later’s Canada
June bugs are ugly suckers! They have spiny legs and that feels strange when they land on you. One night while we were outside they were landing all over us (A few years ago). These were the Brown June Bug. Green June Bugs are a little later in the spring and appear in May or June. Green June Beetles fly around in the day and the brown ones fly at night.
Green June beetle on a peach (left), Green June beetle larva (left)-photos Clemson University
Habitat & Lifecycle
June bugs are found everywhere in North America and many other parts of the world. The larvae is a white to yellow grub. They have rows of stiff short hair to aid them in movement. They overwinter as grubs deep in the soil (lawn) and move to the surface in the spring to feed. Green June Beetles mature in June and become adults in early July. One generation per year. Females lay eggs in late summer. Adults of the Brown June Bug emerge in the spring. They are nocturnal. Lifecycle is three years. (See photo below diet and damage)
June Bug grub damage on grass” (left)-University of Nebraska, June Bug grub damage on potatoes (right)-Michigan State University
Diet & Damage
When they are adults June Bugs do little damage, however get rid of them since after they lay their eggs in the soil and your lawn the grubs do a lot of damage! Adult june bugs eat leaves of walnut, oak, and foilage from many plants. The grubs feed on organic matter in the soil and damage grass in your lawn as they eat the roots. They will eat roots of your ornamentals, weed roots and other seedling roots, corn, roses and potatoes. Lawn grasses wilt and turn brown and will eventually die from root loss.
June Bug Lifecycle-Utah State University
How To Control June Bugs
- Milky Spore Disease
Milky Spore is a naturally occurring bacterium (Bacillus popillae-Dutky) that will get rid of June bugs organically. It works on many common lawn grubs including June Bug & Japanese Beetle larvae and doesn’t harm earthworms. You sprinkle it on your lawn like grass seeds just before a rain or water it well into the soil for 15 minutes or longer right after you put it down. Don’t mow your grass until the Spore has been watered into the soil. Milky Spore has been known to last 15 years or more with only one treatment!
- Grub-AwayÂ® Nematodes – are beneficial nematodes applied to lawns and gardens. They control numerous soil dwelling pests, including borers, cutworms, flea larvae, weevils and maggots.
- Small Mammals & Birds
Skunks, armadillos and other small mammals will often be seen pulling back the turf in search of grubs. Bears have been know to do this as well but not usually in your gardens as a rule. Birds are great control on lawns….attract them with bird baths. Your chickens will also eat them but they’ll eat the grass too so it would be wise to only have them eating away in your orchards.
- Hand Pick
If you see any damage, dig around in the soil or lift pieces of turf and destroy the grubs when you find them. Collect the beetles in the morning when they are not very active and destroy. You will find them on many plants and they are easy to shake them off. A flashlight in the evening will attract them and you can destroy them using stomp method or drop in hot soapy water.
- Ensure a Healthy Lawn
Cut your grass higher in the summer as beetles prefer to lay their eggs in short grass. Keep your lawns well-drained and aerated. In the spring don’t water your lawns too often to ensure deep root growth.