Last year marked the first appearance of June bugs (Green June Beetles) in the yard. I was delighted by their unexpected arrival, but also confused. Where did they come from? What changed in our local environment, to bring them in such numbers after over a decade of conspicuous absence?
They’re back this year, in even larger numbers. I’m happy to see them, and I’m somewhat mystified by the number of resources that call them pests. This page at the Penn State Entomology website provides a detailed list of potential damage caused by the June bugs’ grubs. Reading through the list, it seems to me that most of the effects are cosmetic.
Mounds and tunnels are one of the major complaints. For me, these small blemishes in the yard are exciting evidence of life.
This article from the University of Georgia indicates that a more serious problem may arise if the grubs’ tunnels disrupt root networks, but also says, “A small amount of green June beetle tunneling can help aerate the soil and be beneficial…”
As I was growing up, I heard over and over again how June bugs bring moles into yards, because moles eat grubs. This article from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension argues that moles are more attracted to earthworms than grubs, and, since earthworms tend to indicate a healthy lawn, moles might be considered to also indicate a healthy lawn. (I confess that I would be delighted to find a mole in our yard. More life!)
As for June bugs, the article counsels patience rather than intervention. (I should point out that the article was published in 2006, which means it may not reflect current recommendations. I couldn’t find a more recent reference regarding the connection between June bugs and moles, other than this similar article from 2007. Please comment, if you find something newer!)
Patience is not one of my foremost virtues. Fortunately, in this case no patience is required of me. I have no wish to rid the yard of June bugs. In fact, I hope they stay a bit longer. And come back next year.
Because they remind me of childhood, when summers were filled with long hours of happiness.
And because I want to keep trying for the “perfect” June bug photo…