June marks the beginning of summer. As you head outdoors and enjoy the warm summer nights you may notice a small, reddish brown bug, clumsily flying around your porch light. It may even bump into you! June bugs (also known as May beetles or June beetles) are not the best at flying. They fly around aimlessly and often bump into things. If they happen to fly through an open door or window, they have a hard time finding their way back out. Although they are not harmful to humans, they are a big nuisance, especially in large numbers. They are especially harmful to trees, as they feed on foliage.
There are many varieties of June bugs. They may be green, black and even striped, but the most common in Southern California is the uncoordinated, chestnut-colored variety. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program of the University of California notes that the scientific name is Coenonycha testacea, Serica fimbriata, and Serica alternata and they are often found feeding on the foliage of Avocado trees.
The larval state, called the white grub, causes damage to turf, by eating the roots of grass and plants. According to Ohio State University’s “Bug Doc”, the white grubs are C-shaped and may feed for more than one summer before pupating and emerging as adults in the spring. Patches of brown and loosened turf could be signs of a grub infestation. A well maintained lawn is the best preventative measure. Overwatering or overfertilizing your lawn may attract female June bugs to lay their eggs there.
If you do notice a large number of June bugs around your home or if you see yellow or brown patches on your lawn, make sure the damage is caused by white grubs before applying any chemicals. Drought and other types of insects can cause the same type of damage. To inspect for grubs cut three sides of a square foot on your dying grass. Dig about two inches deep and pull back to see if there are C-shaped white grubs. Once white grubs are confirmed you can begin to take control measures. UC’s IPM recommends using blacklight traps at night to catch the adult beetles. Gardening Know How recommends using insecticides such as Sevin to kill the grubs. And of course, you can always count on the professional help of Accurate Termite and Pest Control, so you can have a bug free summer.