Do June Bugs Bite and Are They Harmful?

The term ‘June bug’ refers to almost 1000 species of beetles with very similar characteristics. Since they’re very common, especially in midsummer, people often ask do June bugs bite.

After all, some insect bites are not only painful, but they can be harmful and cause a reaction. This article tackles this question and explains all about June bugs, how dangerous they are (if they’re dangerous at all), and how to remove them from your home.

Do June Bugs Bite, Sting or Pinch

June bugs don’t bite, sting, or pinch – in essence, they don’t cause pain on purpose. The way they hurt you is usually by accident, as they have spiny legs. If a June bug walks on your skin, it can accidentally scratch you.

This, however, is almost painless and it’s possible that you won’t even feel it.

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Do June Bugs Have Teeth

June bugs have tiny little mouths that are capable of biting, but they don’t have teeth in the traditional sense. Instead, they have mandibles, which are a rudimentary version of a mouth and teeth (they’re essentially tiny pincers).

Their mouths are designed for eating soft plant material – not for chewing something as hard as human skin.

This means it’s unlikely that a June bug will bite you if it feels threatened. Technically, a June bug could bite you, but it most likely won’t.

A June bug will flee if threatened. Even if it tries to bite you it won’t be able to hurt you or break the skin.

Do June Bugs Have a Stinger

No, June bugs don’t have stingers. That body part is reserved for other species, such as bees, wasps, and hornets.

Can June Bugs Pinch Humans or Animals?

Once again, strictly technically speaking, June bugs can pinch you with their mandibles. For June bugs, pinching and biting are one and the same.

I’d like to reiterate once more that it’s highly unlikely that a June bug will bite (pinch) you.

Are June Bugs Harmful to People?

June bugs aren’t dangerous to people in a direct way – they don’t bite or sting, so they can’t cause any pain. However, they can be very dangerous for your crops or your garden, which I’ll explain thoroughly later.

A single June bug, though, isn’t dangerous at all.

Is a Swarm of June Bugs Dangerous?

You’ll be happy to hear that June bugs are seen in swarms very rarely. Unlike bees or wasps, they aren’t very social insects – they’re lonely for the most part.

However, they are attracted by light (like all other insects), so a swarm of June bugs could appear on your porch if you leave the light on. Swarming, however, isn’t normal behavior for June bugs and you’ll most definitely see other bugs swarming your light too.

Are these swarms dangerous? No – June bugs can be detrimental to your plants, but they don’t swarm plants either. Swarming is, simply, not something June bugs do (unless it’s by accident).

Are June Bugs a Danger to Dogs or Cats

Now that we know the answer to the ‘do June bugs bite’ question, it is safe to assume that they don’t bite animals either. The only way your dog or cat could be harmed by a June bug is if they ate some and had a reaction to them.

This isn’t that likely, though, so there’s nothing to worry about. Even if your pet eats a few June bugs, remember that they can digest things that we can’t, so they’ll probably be fine (that doesn’t mean that you should, though).

Your pet would have to eat incredible amounts of June bugs to get food poisoning.

Do June Bugs Carry Diseases

Believe it or not – no, June bugs don’t carry any diseases. At this point, it seems like June bugs are completely harmless insects that couldn’t cause trouble even if they wanted to, right?

Well, I’m about to reveal that this isn’t strictly true when it comes to gardening.

What Does a June Bug Bite Look Like

Since their bites are unlikely to break the skin and they are therefore pretty much harmless, you’ll probably only have minor redness and possibly some itching. At most, it will be a minor irritation and much less of a nuisance than a mosquito bite.

However, in case you develop a severe reaction, seek medical help straight away.

What To Do If You Are Bitten By a June Bug

Honestly, I’d recommend you write it down, as there are probably very few people who can say that they’ve been bitten by a June bug. Congratulations!

In all seriousness – don’t panic, nothing is going to happen. A June bug simply isn’t dangerous to people. You can wash the bitten spot with warm water and soap if it will make you feel better, but a bite is so medically insignificant that you’ll most likely forget about it in a matter of hours.

Do June Bug Bites Hurt?

No – June bugs don’t have a strong biting apparatus. It’s possible for a June bug to bite you without you feeling it.

Should You Kill a June Bug

While June bugs are definitely bad for your lawn and your garden, they’re relatively useful for the environment. After all, bugs are preyed upon by many animals, and killing June bugs is ridding the environment of good food.

However, if you spray insecticides, is that really going to cause that much harm to the ecosystem? Let’s take a look.

June Bugs and the Ecosystem

Adult June bugs feed on foliage, mostly trees and shrubs, but they’ll eat any food if they’re given the opportunity. Grubs (June bugs in development) live below the ground and they feed on plant roots, which makes them pests.

Those same grubs and then once matured – June bugs – are, in turn, preyed upon by bird species, including turkeys, but also some species of flies (particularly the Pyrgotidae family).

Interestingly, these flies catch a June bug mid-flight and lay an egg under their hardened backs, knowing that the bug won’t be able to reach it there. Once the fly egg hatches, the larva feeds on the June bug while it’s still alive.

There are hundreds of larger insects that feed on these bugs, while small mammals, particularly skunks and raccoons, that will also feed on these bugs.

The grubs are actually more nutritious than adult June bugs, so they’re targeted more often.

From the examples above, it is not difficult to see that June bugs are an important food source in their respective microhabitats. However, you won’t be causing much damage by killing a couple of bugs in your immediate vicinity.

Crop Damage Caused By June Bugs

When it comes to foliage, June Bugs can certainly make an impact.

Let’s start with lawns. Grubs, which normally live below the ground, will surface at night to eat blades of grass. Because they tend to dig toward the surface and loosen the soil, they can even cause damage to patches of grass that they don’t even come in contact with.

It is well-reported that they cause more damage by digging than they do by eating! This type of damage is especially common with lawns in dry areas that are maintained at very short heights.

Setting the digging damage aside, grubs mostly feed on roots. This also includes grassroots, which is just another way they can harm your lawn.

When it comes to adult June bugs, they’ll feed on any type of vegetation, and they’re also known for damaging fruits and vegetables. So, anything from your lawn to your lettuce and strawberries is on the menu.

Ornamental trees, such as oaks, are also targeted. It’s found that damage is localized – June bugs move on from one plant to another if they’re not controlled, and they won’t move far away if they have food where they are.

Despite the wide variety of plants they are known to feed on, adult June bugs aren’t nearly as dangerous as grubs. That’s because grubs destroy the roots, which can lead to the death of the plant. 

Grub damage can be extensive enough to kill small plants. Established plants, however, often recover.

If you suspect a June bug infestation, look for signs of wilting and discolored patches of grass.

How to Prevent June Bugs from Getting In Your House

Starting off with the good news – June bugs have no interest in being in your house. If a June bug is found in your house, it likely wandered there by accident. They want to be outside where there’s plenty of food to forage.

However, they can be attracted accidentally. Lights, for example, are a major attractant at night, and you can expect convergence on the light source. So, the first step would be removing all attractants.

Seal All Entry Points

The most effective method of fighting June bug infestations is sealing all cracks and crevices, thus preventing entry to your home. This, actually, applies to all insect infestations.

The next thing you can do is apply biological and chemical control methods.

Introduce Natural Predators

One of those control methods is the introduction of natural predators and the most common natural predator of any insect is the frog. There are other predators, of course, some of which are considered to be beneficial insects.

Parasitic wasps, for example, will plant their eggs in the grubs. The wasp will eventually kill the grub, thus preventing an invasion, while the wasp itself is harmless.

You can also introduce parasitic nematodes – specifically the species Steinernema spp. and Heterorhabditis spp. The application of these nematodes can actually be done by amateurs, so you don’t have to hire a professional to do this.

Chemical Control

You can use preventive or curative insecticides. This is very similar to preemergent and post-emergent herbicides that we use to control weeds in our gardens.

It is fair to say that by killing the bugs in your yard, you’re minimizing the chance of them invading your home.

Preventive insecticides have to be applied while the June bugs are still young grubs or before they hatch. Established grubs and adult June bugs aren’t affected by preventive insecticides. The ideal time for an application depends on your region, so make sure to check that in your local gardening store.

Curative insecticides are applied to grubs and it’s best to apply them late at the night. Grubs often come out at night to feed on your lawn, and they’ll be killed as soon as they come in contact with the insecticide.

It’s important, however, to remove June Bugs as soon as possible – put simply, bugs tend to smell after they die especially if we are dealing with an infestation of insects. This is when they are most likely to attract birds and other animals.

How to Remove June Bugs from Your House

Another good method of catching June Bugs is building a simple insect trap containing a sweet solution.

This type of trap works with most insect species, and June bugs are no different. Take a container (it can be a big water jug) with a large funnel opening and fill it with half a cup of molasses and water. Alternatively, use fruit juice – it’s the sugar that attracts the insects.

Simply leave it in a place where bugs occur in your house.

The sugary substance and water combination will attract the June bugs, and once they get in, they won’t know how to get back out. The same type of trap can work with bees and flies.

Verdict: Do June Bugs Bite

It is technically possible for a June bug to bite, but they’re far too weak to pierce human skin. June bugs flee if they’re in danger – they don’t fight back. Even if a June bug did bite you, it’s possible that you wouldn’t feel it, that’s how weak their bites are.

Although they’re harmless for us, June bugs are dangerous for plants, especially young plants. 

June bug grubs developing under the ground are actually more dangerous than adult June bugs, but they can be controlled with methods explained in this article.