Have you noticed your lawn and plants are being devoured overnight by a mysterious creature? Eaten from the roots up causing fatal damage. You’ve probably got a June Bug infestation, and you need to take action before their newborn larvae wreck your garden.
Through this article, we will help you identify June Bugs and more importantly give you actionable advice on how to get rid of June bugs before they devour your garden.
First, let’s get to know a little bit about them, so we can tackle them effectively.
Table Of Contents
- What Does A June Bug Look Like
- How To Get Rid Of June Bugs
- June Bug Repellent
- June Bug Traps
- June Bug Distribution and Facts
- Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid Of June Bugs
What Does A June Bug Look Like
June bugs are members of the scarab family and you’re most likely to see them from May through July, when they come out of the soil as adults, causing damage to your lawn, and garden.
The term “June bug” is used to refer to about 30,000 species of beetles globally that are part of the Scarab Beetle family. They are referred to as June beetle, May beetle, Japanese Beetle, European Chafers, or Dung Beetle.
Here, however, we will cover the behavior of the most common June bugs. The bugs that you might have already encountered in your backyard.
Binomial name (Scientific Name)
Varies globally. Mainly about ½ to 5/8 inches long
You also need to note that the underside of June bugs is usually hairy, and their body is rigid and shiny
Number of Legs
Three pairs of legs; one on each of the first three bog segments after the head (six legs in total)
June bugs have antennas known as lamellate plates
Green metallic, Reddish-brown, maroon, or black
June bugs are also clumsy fliers as they tend to bump into things in flight. They don’t have stingers, so you don’t need to worry about being bitten.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs
If you have a June bug infestation, you should be concerned about your lawn, plants, or trees. It is possible to control them, ideally when they’re still at the larvae stage as that’s when they cause the most damage.
Treating your lawns in the late summer and early fall is essential if you want to control the bugs. This is just when the eggs have hatched into bugs; thus, it’s easy to target them. You can use organic or chemical options to target the grubs. There are also ways of getting rid of adult bugs, and here is what you need to know:
How To Kill June Bugs
There are several ways you can use in killing June bugs, let’s run through our preferred methods to tackle this nuisance insect:
1. Using Insecticides
For most homeowners, using an insecticide is usually the last option. In fact, it’s only essential if your lawn or hedges have suffered substantial damage.
Be sure to find an insecticide that contains chlorantraniliprole, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, or clothianidin to kill the hatched grubs. You can apply these products from late July to the beginning of September. Timing is essential because you don’t want the grubs to pupate or worse become adults and lay eggs.
Before applying insecticides, it’s advisable to mow your lawn to remove any flowering weeds or shake out any mining bees. This helps to protect the bees and other pollinators that come to your lawn to rest or nest. After applying insecticides, water your lawn thoroughly to make sure the toxins seep down and reach the grubs within the soil.
Insecticides have downsides, though. They can kill June Bug predators, such as flies and wasps. For example, the waved light fly, is known for laying an egg under the June bug’s elytra, where it then feeds on them.
2. Spreading diatomaceous earth
If you want a chemical-free way to kill June bugs, you can buy Diatomaceous Earth (DE), which is used to kill different insects. DE does not kill the bugs immediately like chemical options, but the benefits far outweigh the wait.
DE is fossilized remains of diatoms, which is a type of algae. When spread on the ground, DE forms a powder with tiny sharp edges, which are deadly to insects but harmless to humans. The sharp edges pierce the exoskeletons of bugs, causing them to dehydrate and die.
The use of DE is ideal for killing adult June bugs, and you should target areas where the bugs live and travel.
3. Adding nematodes to the soil
Another biological way of killing June bugs is by adding nematodes to the soil. Nematodes are great for killing grubs, and they’re safe around pets and humans. They work by attacking the larval stage of June bugs by entering through their body openings. Once in the body, nematodes release bacteria that kill the bugs within 48 hours.
Applying nematodes is pretty straightforward. You need to mix it with water and spray the solution on the soil in your lawn or garden. Try using a back sprayer, watering can, or irrigation system to distribute the solution evenly over the ground. The areas should be kept moist for about two weeks to allow the nematodes to establish.
4. Applying Bacillus Thuringiensis to the soil
You can also use Bacillus Thuringiensis, also known as BT, to destroy the bugs. This is also an organic option, so it’s safe around pets and humans. BT is a microbe naturally found in soil, and it’s an excellent option for killing the grubs before they become adults.
When applied to the soil, the grubs consume it whilst they feed on their normal food source. Once inside them, BT toxins break down the guts of the grubs. The grubs die from starvation and infections within a few hours or days.
5. Attracting Predators
It’s also possible to reduce the June bug population in your lawn effortlessly using an ecological approach. You simply need to attract snakes, toads, moles, and birds to your garden or yard. Use trees and shrubs to create an ecosystem that supports toads, snakes, or birds.
Once they make your garden their home, they will make the June bugs their food. This will help reduce the bugs on your lawn or garden with minimal effort.
Some people also collect larvae to feed their fish or pet reptiles.
June Bug Repellent
It’s also possible to scare away Junes bugs without necessarily killing them.
One way you can repel them from your garden is by growing tomatoes. The leaves of the tomato plant are natural bug repellent that wards off June bugs and other insects. So, simply grow tomatoes as a companion plant to the site bug-free.
Keeping your grass healthy is the most effective way of preventing June bug infestation. Ensure your lawn has an irrigation system and good drainage. Also, make sure you mow your lawn during the summer, but don’t get too low, keep your grass about two or three inches tall.
Essential oil sprays also make excellent repellents. A combination of different oils, such as rosemary, cajeput, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, lavender, catnip, eucalyptus, and mint can be a great option. Once you create the solution dilute it with water and simply spray the target areas.
June Bug Traps
It’s also possible to control the population of June bugs in your lawn or garden using traps. June bug traps usually have two compounds, which attract the bugs. The first compound is a sex pheromone, while the second one is a floral lure.
The traps are designed around the everyday activities of June bugs, specifically feeding and mating. These bait compounds lure the bugs to the trap in great numbers. Traps are great because you don’t need to use toxic chemicals on your lawn or garden. However, you may need a number of traps to accommodate a massive number of bugs.
Another simple trap is the use of vegetable oil with a white light above the jar. The bugs are attracted to the light, but they fall and get stuck in the oil.
You can also use a mixture of molasses, yeast, and water to set a bug bait. Just create the mixture in a jar and place it on your lawn. The bugs will be attracted to the jar, and once they’re in, they won’t be able to leave; hence, they die.
June Bug Distribution and Facts
June bug species are found globally including North America and Canada Europe (1400 species), the United Kingdom (88 species), and Australia (2,000 species). They can also be found in some South American countries
During the day, they hide in trees, and they come out at night. They are strangely attracted to lights, which sometimes end up killing them.
The adult June bugs usually appear in May, and they start disappearing at the end of summer. You also need to note that adult June bugs live less than a year.
What Attracts June Bugs
Even though Junes are nocturnal insects, they are attracted to bright lights. You’ll find them around well-lit windows, porch lights, and security lights during the night. If possible, you can turn off your lights during the night and only use them when needed.
Organic material and soft, moist soil also attract them to your yard. Grass clippings are their ideal food due to easy access. They don’t need to fly or climb to eat. So, you need to avoid leaving clippings on your lawn after mowing.
June Bug’s Life Cycle
The female June bugs lay their eggs in the soil or turf. This usually occurs in early summer. A female June bug lays about 10 to 70 pearl-like eggs at a time. They dig about two to 10 inches below the soil’s surface to lay their eggs.
In early August, the first larvae emerge in the soil, and this is called the first instar stage. Bear in mind that there are about three stages in total. Commonly known as white grubs, the larvae are usually c-shaped and measure less than half an inch.
Larvae feed on turf roots and decomposing organic matter as they grow. By September, most of the grubs reach the second instar phase, with a size of about half an inch. They get to the third stage at the beginning of October. At this point, they remain under the soil during the winter.
In early spring, the grubs re-emerge to feed on lawn roots. About 76 percent of them live up to this point. They then reach the pupa stage in May, and two weeks later, they emerge as adults.
Keep in mind that they spend most of their lives underground. For example, the grubs can stay in the soil for up to three years. This is the period they take before they pupate.
What Do June Bugs Eat
As adults, June bugs eat leaves and flowers from your favorite shrubs and trees during the night. They then disappear during the day.
When focusing on how to get rid of June Bugs, remember they are most destructive during the larvae stage. They feed on turf roots, causing significant patches of dead grass on your lawn. Unfortunately, they also feed on the root system of most plants, leading to significant issues for plant recovery.
If they’re in your garden, they can destroy crops, such as corn, potatoes, small grains, and strawberries, as well as make vegetation look untidy and diseased.
Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid Of June Bugs
Junes bugs are not harmful to humans in any way. In fact, they are attractive and remarkable creatures. The problem is the damage they inflict on your lawn and plants, especially during the larval stage.
June bugs will also attract toads and snakes to your home. This may come with some benefits in the management of rodents and snails, but most people are not comfortable with this idea. Whatever the case, it’s possible to address your June bug problem.
Keep your lawns healthy, use insecticides when required, set traps, and use nematodes. Most of these products are available online.
Just be sure to find the right product for your home, making sure it’s safe for use around kids and pets.
For effective removal of June bugs, it’s vital to apply the products when they are most vulnerable. This is while they are still white grubs (larvae).