June Bugs: Information, Pictures, and Facts

June bugs, sometimes called May beetles, are one of up to around 300 species of plant-eating beetles. Why are June bugs called June bugs? They show up in the late spring to early summer months within the Northern Hemisphere. Some of the bugs you see flying around your lights in those first warm months are likely June bugs.

Facts, Identification, and Control

June bugs are part of the Phyllophaga genus, and the Scarabaeidae family—scarabs if you are familiar with ancient Egypt and the icons of that culture. June bugs, unlike some common names for insects, are not one single critter.

What does the June Bug look like?

June bug color can vary a lot, considering there are so many species lumped in with this name. Most June bugs tend to be a reddish-brown hue, while others are a light caramel shade or as dark as black, and some June bugs have an iridescent green color.

June bugs have somewhat stout bodies with wings that look like an armored shell when not in flight. They can measure roughly 160 mm or thereabouts.

Facts about June Bugs

Where Do They Live?

June bugs are abundant in the Northern Hemisphere, and are prevalent in North America throughout several regions, although they tend to prefer more humid areas.

So, where do June bugs come from when they infiltrate your yard? They emerge from the ground, which is where the June bugs lay their eggs. The larvae are also known as white grubs and develop underground before they become adults.

What Do They Eat?

June bugs are plant eaters and will feast on the leaves of oak, walnut, and many other trees. They can create a lot of damage to crops such as corn. June bugs will also eat several of your ornamental plants, such as roses, hosta plants, and decorative trees.

The larvae of June bugs are the grubs that can become a problem in your yard. Grubs will nourish themselves on the organic material in the dirt as well as plant roots.

How Did I Get June Bugs?

If June bugs are in your area, there is not much you did to attract them aside from having the soil they like and sometimes plants they enjoy eating. June bugs are attracted to light and are most active at night.

So, lights in your yard can lure some of them in, but not enough that turning off lights will get rid of the problem. The best defense against June bugs is to treat your lawn for grubs (preventing the next generations).

How Serious are June Bug Problems?

Plant and Lawn Damage

If grubs are significant in your yard, they can show signs of damage by eating the roots of plants and grass. If you dig and always find larvae, you will need to treat your yard for them. Your lawn can look patchy from grubs eating the roots.

Leaf and Crop Destruction

Adult June bugs can cause a lot of damage to plants, ornamental trees, and gardens. They eat through the leaves, creating holes and reducing the health of plants if there are a lot of June bugs present.

What Can I Do about June Bugs?

Trapping or killing adult June bugs is one form of elimination. However, preventing future seasons of these beetles by treating your yard for grubs is one of the most effective prevention measures.

Signs of a June Bugs Infestation?

Plant damage is the main sign of June bugs, aside from seeing them around your house where they will be attracted to light. Rose bushes are one of their favorites.

Holes in the leaves of decorative plants are a sign you have June bugs. You will likely also see them flying or crawling around porch lights or outdoor window sills where the light attracts them.

June Bug Prevention and Control tips

Control tip #1

Hand-picking or trapping the adults is one of the first things you should do to eliminate future seasons of June bugs. You can also create traps with a half cup of molasses and a half cup of hot water. Shake the mixture well, then leave these jars near plants June bugs love, such as roses.

If you can bury the jars leaving only the neck and opening exposed, this will make them more stable and provide easier access for June bugs. Change out the traps as needed and check each morning for drowned June bugs.

You can use a variety of containers with this safe mixture and also set it out near lighted areas, such as windowsills, to trap adult June bugs.

Control tip #2

To prevent June bugs from laying eggs in your yard, keep your grass a little longer. The females seek out shorter grass to lay eggs. You can also buy nematodes at garden centers, and these microscopic worms kill grubs in your lawn.

Control tip #3

Apply a grub-deterrent with a neem oil base. Neem oil can kill off grubs but is safe for bees and other insects such as ladybugs. If you have hard-to-kill grubs, you can try a chemical product such as GrubEx.

Control tip #4

When do June bugs go away? They can be a pest during the early part of the summer, but most adult June bugs will die at the end of the summer.

The average lifespan is around three years, but much of that time is the grub phase. Kill adult June bugs when you see them. Do your best to guard your lawn against grubs to prevent future infestations.

June Bug Professional Pest Control

If you’ve tried several products on your lawn and you still have a severe grub problem and an abundance of June bugs, then consider calling professional pest control. Sometimes you will need an exterminator for a couple of years to reduce the population in your yard and get it under control.