If you just got hit by a flying bug around your lawn and garden, and you’re wondering what it was, June bugs may have begun their invasion into your garden. It will be a big mistake to take their presence lightly, as they can be very destructive pests.
But I’m guessing you know that already, which is why you’re reading this article.
So, if you’re wondering how you can get rid of and keep them away from your home for good, then you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, I’ll be giving you helpful tips on how to get rid of June bugs and their grubs. You’ll also learn how to prevent them from coming back to your lawn and garden. All you have to do is read to the end!
What Are June Bugs?
The first step to knowing how to get rid of June bugs (or June beetles) is knowing what they look like, understanding their habits, and what attracts them in the first place.
The first means of identifying June bugs is by their size. They are about ½ to 1 inch long, but most bugs in this class, including the Japanese beetle. However, adult June bugs are reddish-brown, and they have hard wings that form a strong armor around their bodies when they aren’t flying.
That aside, one of the most common means of identifying a June bug is its extremely clumsy nature. They move recklessly (almost as if they are drunk), and this is one feature that sets them apart from other beetles of this size. Their clumsiness is also the reason they usually fly into people by accident.
Thankfully, June bugs do not harm humans, but your garden plants will suffer most from a June bug infestation.
Because June bugs are attracted to plants, as it is their main food source.
Adult June bugs and June bug grubs also have a very large appetite, which is why they can do serious damage to the vegetation in your garden if left unchecked.
It gets worse if the June bug infestation occurs in large numbers, as this would mean chaos for whatever plants you have in there.
When they aren’t causing havoc in your garden, they can be found relaxing elsewhere. Adult June bugs are attracted to lights, which is why you can find them around your outdoor lamps or hanging by your brightly lit window.
June bugs are also known as June beetles or May bugs. And while the former seems to be their most popular name, the fact is, these beetles begin their invasion from May, all through to July.
Besides invading your garden for food, adult June bugs also need conducive environments to lay their eggs. If the adults are not gotten rid of on time, they will lay their eggs, and the immature larvae (also known as white grubs) will immediately start to eat the roots of turfgrasses and other plants.
It is easy for the white grubs to get to the roots of plants because adult June bugs like to lay their eggs in the garden soil ( where they hatch). This grants the white grubs easy access to the roots of your garden grass and other plants.
How Long Is The Life Cycle of A June Bug?
Another vital part of knowing how to get rid of June bugs is understanding their life cycle.
Adult June bugs can reproduce quickly and in large numbers. They can also lay as many as 100 eggs in your garden soil in early to mid-summer, and it takes only about 18 days for the eggs to hatch into larvae.
Their larvae are legged worms that are about 1 inch long. They are also characterized by their brown heads and their extremely large appetite.
June bug grubs can spend their growing-up phase underground. During this time, they do very obvious damage to the plant roots in your garden. They will then pass through 3 molt phases.
In the winter seasons, grubs burrow deep into the soil and then hibernate until spring, when they become active again. When they get to the final stage of their larval form, the grubs develop into pupae, which will eventually hatch into new adult June bugs in the next spring season. The cycle repeats itself each year.
This is why you must take every sign of an adult June beetle infestation seriously since their presence only means the possibility of eggs and plant-eating grubs under your garden soil.
Depending on the June beetle species, it can take between 1 to 3 years for the bug to make a full transformation from grub to pupa to adult.
Signs Of June Bugs And Grubs
Now that you understand what June bugs are and their habits, it’s time you understood the signs of a June beetle infestation. This is also a vital step in knowing how to get rid of June bugs.
The signs of adult June bugs and June bug larvae are as follows:
1. You sight them in the evenings
The surest way to confirm a June beetle infestation is by actually seeing them. But not just at any time of the day, as the adults are fond of flying around at night. June beetles are nocturnal pests, and they do not like the daytime.
However, adult June bugs like to hang around electric lights at night (just like other outdoor insects do).
2. Patches of brown grass on your lawn
Another means by which you can confirm a June beetle infestation is by observing the patches on your lawn, specifically brown patches.
If you notice these brown shades across several areas of your lawn, then it is a clear sign that June bug grubs have begun eating the roots of your grass. Of course, the grass will not survive if the roots have been eaten, and that is why they turn brown afterward.
If you notice that the brown patches are becoming larger, then it means the underground grubs are eating the other grassroots in your lawn and spreading the damage.
To be absolutely sure that the roots of your grass have indeed been eaten off, try and pull the grass by hand. If it comes off easily, then your suspicions are correct, June bug grubs have eaten them off.
3. You find small holes in your lawn in the morning
If you enter your lawn one morning and notice existing holes that weren’t there the night before, that could be a sign that you have grubs inside your garden soil.
This is because other animals like raccoons, skunks, and other predatory garden pests like to dig into the ground in search of grubs to eat. If you have armadillos in your area, their digging habits will prove 100% that there are grubs in your soil, as they are notorious grub eaters.
4. You begin to notice moles in your yard
Moles are a common carnivorous garden pest in the U.S, and while they are very problematic, they can help get rid of June bugs and their grubs in your garden.
Moles love to eat June bug grubs, so if you notice all of a sudden that there is an increase in the male population in your yard, then you can be sure it is the June bug grubs that have attracted them there.
5. Jagged holes in your plant leaves
Adult beetles are not decent eaters, as they chew away at your plant leaves in no particular order. Japanese beetle damage can be considered the worst among the rest, as they have large appetites and can consume a lot of leaves.
That being said, early detection is important if you want to save your garden and its plants from the damage that adult June bugs and grubs can cause.
If you need further confirmation that there are grubs in your garden, then you can dig up some soil and take a close look at it. If you find gray or white bugs that look like caterpillars inside, then you are right — you have a June bug problem!
Besides the grubs, you should also inspect your plants to see if the adults are present. If they are, then you’d find them around the leaves. Please carry out your inspection in the evenings, as that is when they are most active.
How Do I Get Rid Of June Bugs In My Yard?
After confirming the presence of June bugs and their grubs in your garden, the next step would be to eliminate them. Luckily, this isn’t so hard to do, which is why you may not need the help of a pest control professional.
Here’s how to get rid of June bugs and their grubs from your yard.
1. Use bug traps
One of the best ways to get rid of adult June bugs is to trap them. More importantly, before they begin their reproduction cycle.
The good news is, June beetles are very easy to trap, and their clumsy nature makes it even easier. You can also make the beetle traps yourself, so there’d be no need to visit the pest control store to buy one.
To make your June bug trap, mix one part of molasses and one part of hot water into a large jar. Take the jar to the areas that are most affected by the beetle invasion and place it there. You can also place the jar trap near outdoor lighting, as the bugs are known to hang around them.
If you are dealing with a large June bug problem, then you can make as many jars of molasses traps as you will need and set them in different areas of your garden.
You can either place the jars on the garden floor or bury them in the soil, leaving only the top of the jar exposed on the soil surface. Either way can work, as the June bugs will crawl or fly inside thanks to their clumsy nature.
When they eventually fall into the molasses-filled jar trap, they will not be able to get out. The more they struggle, the faster they will begin to drown, and they will eventually die.
Check back in the morning to see if your traps were effective or not(they would most likely be). Take the jars filled with captured June beetles and dispose of them properly.
Do not think that is the end of it, as capturing some June bugs doesn’t mean the end of the infestation. There could be more beetles hanging around the other parts of your garden, so be sure to make another molasses solution and set the jars all over your garden again.
Do this repeatedly until you discover that there are no more bugs to catch.
2. Handpick them
Besides traps, another way to get rid of June bugs is to catch them by hand and throw them away. This will be fairly easy to do, as adult June bugs are clumsy and not the best loafers.
Inspect the areas of your garden an hour after the sun goes down, as this is their favorite time of the day. You will need a flashlight for this to improve visibility. Another thing you will need is a bowl of soapy water, which you can use to drown the bugs after you have caught them.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves and begin to pick them up one by one, dumping them into the bowl of soapy water as you progress. You can use mild dish soap to make the solution, as it kills June bugs and other insect pests.
If the bugs are too many to handle all by yourself, you can have some friends or family help you out. It could be a fun activity if you’re picking the bugs alongside your loved ones.
Kids will love it too, as they are already fond of adventures. And don’t worry, June bugs are harmless to humans, so you guys will be fine.
After you have picked as many as you can, dispose of the bowls of dead June bugs properly. You can repeat the exercise the next night, in case you guys missed some.
3. Use beneficial Nematodes
If you want to know how to get rid of June bugs, you should learn more about nematodes.
Getting rid of adult June bugs is one thing, but what about their grubs? If you have eliminated the adults after they have laid their eggs and not before, it means you will still have young June bugs to deal with.
That’s also not a problem, as you can easily do this with beneficial nematodes.
For those who don’t know, nematodes are microscopic worms that eat the larvae of many pest insects. And this makes them one of the best pest control weapons you can use to fight a June beetle infestation.
There’s a particular nematode species that is ideal for eradicating June bugs, and this is called the Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. You can buy beneficial Nematodes from a pest control store and apply them in your garden so nature can take its course.
You can also add the nematodes into a spray bottle and apply them across your garden soil. Gardening experts advise that you pour plenty of water across your garden soil so that the nematodes can sink deep enough to where the grubs are.
Nematodes are safe to use around your garden, and they are non-toxic, so they will not damage your soil or the roots of your garden plants. The only thing they will do is to eat June bug larvae.
4. Use organic insecticides
Another means by which you can get rid of June bugs and their grubs is to use organic insecticides. These types are non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about them harming your plants or contaminating your soil.
A neem oil insecticide is perfect to use because it can kill June bug larvae but won’t harm other beneficial insects like spiders, ladybugs, and earthworms (which can also help you eradicate June beetle larvae by eating them).
You can get a bottle of neem oil insecticide from a pest control store and apply it generously across your garden soil. The pesticide will sink in deep and do the job. You can also pour it into a spray bottle and apply it across your garden plants to kill June beetles hanging around.
5. Attract June Bug Predators
Besides nematodes, there are other June bug predators you can use to get rid of them. These include –
Natural predators like frogs and lizards enjoy eating June beetles and Japanese beetles, so you can buy as many as you need from a gardening store that sells them and let them loose in your garden.
They will naturally go around searching for food and eat as many June bugs as they can find. Another good thing about using predators like lizards and toads is that they will not damage your garden plants. They are only interested in eating June bugs and any other destructive insect pest they can find.
As for birds that eat June beetles, you can easily attract them to your lawn by using a bird feeder or birdbath. Once the birds see the feeder and bath, they will swoop down on your lawn to eat the grain inside. And while they’re at it, they can sight the more juicy June beetles and go for them as well.
Birds have good eyesight, so it won’t be hard for them to spot the beetles when they land on the feeder. For best results, the feeder shouldn’t be too far away from the topsoil, just so that the birds can land low enough to spot the beetles.
Make it a habit to refill the bird feeder when it is empty, so the birds will have reasons to keep visiting, which will help you eradicate the bugs faster.
6. Install bright lights away from your garden
As I have mentioned before, June bugs are attracted to outdoor lighting, which is why you can find them hanging around your lamp posts or bright windows. And you can use this knowledge to get rid of them.
Install bright lights a few feet away from your garden so they can play around in that direction. For more effective results, install very bright lights which can kill them.
Yes, June bugs are usually found lying dead next to bright lights in the morning. And for some reason, the bugs will not leave the lights, even when it’s going to kill them.
7. Use a bug zapper
A bug zapper can also be used to get rid of June bugs. Bug zappers are electronic devices that have bright lights installed in them. These lights attract the June bugs, and once they contact the bug zapper, they will be electrocuted instantly.
Bug zappers are common and can be found in any pest control store in your area. Just install the bug zapper around the plants the adult June beetles are attracted to in your garden and let their love for bright lights do the rest.
8. Make your lawn unfavorable
One important part of knowing how to get rid of June bugs is the condition of your lawn. After successfully disinfecting your garden of adult June beetles, you will want to ensure that they don’t come back. And one of the best ways to do this is to make your lawn unfavorable for them.
Adult June bugs like to lay their eggs in the soil of short grass, so be careful not to trim your grass too low. Also, do not overwater or underwater your lawn so they can remain in prime condition and be more resistant to June bug attacks.
To ensure that you don’t face a full-blown June beetle infestation soon, it would be in your best interest to get rid of the adults before they lay their eggs. Follow the tips provided here for the best results in June beetle eradication. Hopefully, this article on how to get rid of June bugs has been helpful.
What Attracts June Bugs?
To determine how to get rid of June bugs, you need to know what attracts them. Besides laying eggs and plants to eat, June bugs are also attracted to bright outdoor lights and well-lit windows.
They love the lights so much that they usually over-expose themselves to them and die from the heat.
What Plants Keep June Bugs Away?
Tomato plants are known to repel June bugs and other types of insect pests in the garden. Plant some tomatoes around your lawn to help control the June bug population.
Can A June Bug Hurt You?
Now that you know how to get rid of June bugs, you may be wondering if they can hurt you. Thankfully, June bugs are harmless to humans, as they do not attack or bite. If you ever experience a June bug flying into your face, it results from their clumsiness.