June Bugs in August

June Bug August 2

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?

June Bug August 2

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.

June Bug August 2

Mounds and tunnels are one of the major complaints. For me, these small blemishes in the yard are exciting evidence of life.

June Bug August 2

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…”

June Bug August 2

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.

June Bug August 2

Because they remind me of childhood, when summers were filled with long hours of happiness.

June Bug August 2

And because I want to keep trying for the “perfect” June bug photo…

June Bug August 2

10 thoughts on “June Bugs in August

  1. pinklightsabre September 7, 2013 / 11:45 AM

    Exquisite photos! Thank you for stopping by my blog today. – Bill

  2. bardessdmdenton August 8, 2013 / 2:37 PM

    ‘For me, these small blemishes in the yard are exciting evidence of life.’ Love that, Rae, the rest of your reflection and all the photographs. Learning to live alongside and certainly in respect of nature is being alive!

  3. Trileigh August 5, 2013 / 10:40 AM

    I loved this, Rae! June bugs were always such a favorite of mine when I lived back East: just gorgeous with all those metallic colors, and they moved slowly enough that we could catch them and look at them up close. Your photos are beautiful too, as always.

  4. Sharon Poch August 3, 2013 / 8:19 PM

    When my figs ripen in August, the June bugs completely cover one or two of the figs and they look like jeweled balls. They don’t attack the whole tree–just feast on a few. They are as much summer to me as cicadas and dragonflies..

  5. timelesslady August 3, 2013 / 7:46 PM

    I always loved June Bugs. When I was young we mainly found them in Virginia at my grandparent’s home. Every now and then a stray June Bug finds its way to NJ. Great pictures.

    • Rae Spencer August 3, 2013 / 7:55 PM

      I was shocked when I discovered that there are places without June bugs. How can you have summer if you don’t have June bugs? Then I moved here, and summer after summer passed without them. After a while, I stopped looking for them. When they showed up last year, I was thrilled. It was like rediscovering a necessary part of summer that I had forgotten was necessary.

  6. Angela August 3, 2013 / 4:47 PM

    We have these everywhere, Rae, and they infest my mother-in-law’s bottle brush tree.We have no moles here, but they can decimate a fruit tree in no time. I find their erratic flying habits terrifying — they are always where you DON’T want them to be. They fly so close to me when I am gardening and yet they have an entire yard in which to explore. I’m afraid I have little to no patience with them, and their weighty girth beckons me to simply smack them like a small ball across the yard if they get too into my space.

    When I was young, my friend’s brother used to catch these things and tie a string around them and then swing them at high speed in fast circles. Scared me to death and he used to torture us with them.

    Your pictures are gorgeous, as always, and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who is terrorized by these things……

    • Rae Spencer August 3, 2013 / 5:28 PM

      Oh dear! I hope I didn’t give the impression of being terrorized. I quite like them. I’m sorry you had bad experiences with them when you were younger. It’s tough to forget the kind of fright that your brother’s friend gave you.

      As far as the adult bugs eating fruit, I found lots of references to them feeding on over-ripe and damaged fruit. It seems they cause the most trouble when they follow behind Japanese beetles. (This entry at Encyclopedia of Life has more details.)

      • Angela August 4, 2013 / 12:35 AM

        🙂 No, I guess it is simply me and my phobia that immediately strikes terror whenever I hear about or see one. Hah! I suppose I appreciate them, from a distance. Their colors are glorious and remind me of the rainforest. But up close, well…..

        Thanks for the link — I will check it out. I wonder about the bottle brush trees — they seem to like the sap/nectar in the blossoms. I’m not kidding when I tell you there can be 100 of them at a time in the tree. It’s quite surreal.

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