How to Get Rid of June Bugs: Top Tips Guide

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Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels

June bugs, also known as June beetles or May beetles, are named after the month of June because this is when they typically become most active and noticeable. The name “June bug” is primarily used in North America, where these beetles are commonly found.

During late spring and early summer, adult June bugs emerge from the soil where they have been developing as larvae and pupae. As temperatures warm up, these nocturnal beetles become more active, flying around in search of food and mates. This increased activity is why they are more commonly seen during the month of June.

1. Identifying June Bugs

June bugs are beetles that are typically 0.5 to 1 inch in length and can vary in color from reddish-brown to green. They are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active at night and attracted to light sources.


June bugs, or June beetles, belong to the Scarabaeidae family of beetles. They come in various species, but the most common ones have the following features:

  • Size: 0.5 to 1 inch in length
  • Color: Reddish-brown, green, or black
  • Shape: Oval or rounded, with a robust body
  • Wings: Two sets of wings, with the outer set (elytra) being hard and protective, while the inner set is used for flying
  • Antennae: Short and clubbed, with multiple leaf-like plates on the end

Life Cycle

Understanding the life cycle of June bugs can help you target them more effectively:

  1. Eggs: Female June bugs lay their eggs in the soil, usually in well-draining areas with organic matter. The eggs are small, white, and oval-shaped.
  2. Larvae: After about 2-4 weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae, which are white, C-shaped grubs with a brown head and six legs. They can grow up to 1.5 inches long. The larvae feed on plant roots and organic matter in the soil for 1-3 years, depending on the species.
  3. Pupae: Once the larvae have grown and matured, they form pupae in the soil. The pupae are initially white but darken as they mature. The adult beetles emerge after 2-4 weeks.
  4. Adults: Adult June bugs feed on the foliage of various plants, including trees, shrubs, and garden plants. They are nocturnal and most active at night. The adult stage lasts for a few weeks, during which they mate and lay eggs.

Damage Caused by June Bugs

June bugs can cause significant damage to plants and lawns in both their larval and adult stages:

  • Larvae: The larvae feed on the roots of grasses, causing patches of dead or dying grass in lawns. They can also damage the roots of vegetable plants, leading to stunted growth or plant death.
  • Adults: Adult June bugs chew on the leaves and flowers of various plants, creating holes and ragged edges. Severe infestations can lead to defoliation and reduced plant vigor.

Being able to identify June bugs and understand their life cycle and the damage they cause will enable you to implement the most effective prevention and control measures, keeping your garden and lawn healthy and free of these pests.

2. Preventing June Bugs

To prevent June bugs from becoming a problem, take the following steps:

  • Keep your garden and lawn clean and free of debris
  • Regularly mow your lawn to maintain a healthy height
  • Use natural predators such as birds and toads to control the population
  • Limit the use of outdoor lighting, or use yellow or sodium vapor bulbs, which are less attractive to June bugs

Lawn and Garden Maintenance

Proper lawn and garden maintenance can make your outdoor space less hospitable to June bugs:

  • Mow your lawn regularly: Maintaining a healthy grass height (about 3-4 inches) can discourage female June bugs from laying eggs in your lawn. Additionally, taller grass can help support natural predators such as birds.
  • Aerate and dethatch your lawn: Aerating and dethatching can improve the health of your lawn and make it less attractive to June bug larvae, as they prefer soil that is compacted and rich in organic matter.
  • Remove debris and weeds: Regularly removing debris, such as fallen leaves and branches, as well as controlling weeds, can reduce hiding spots for June bugs and eliminate potential food sources for their larvae.
  • Water your lawn properly: Overwatering your lawn can create an ideal environment for June bug larvae. Water your lawn deeply but infrequently to encourage strong, deep root growth that is more resistant to damage from grubs.

Natural Predators

Encouraging natural predators in your garden can help keep June bug populations under control:

  • Attract birds: Many bird species feed on June bug larvae and adults. Provide birdhouses, birdbaths, and bird feeders to attract birds to your garden.
  • Promote toad populations: Toads are another natural predator of June bugs. Create a toad-friendly environment by providing shelter, such as overturned flower pots or piles of rocks, and a shallow water source.
  • Beneficial insects: Ladybugs, lacewings, and ground beetles are just a few examples of beneficial insects that can help control June bug larvae. Plant flowers and herbs that attract these helpful insects, such as marigolds, dill, and fennel.

Plant Selection

Choose plants that are less attractive to June bugs, or that can tolerate some damage from them:

  • Resistant plants: Opt for plant species that are less susceptible to June bug damage, such as yarrow, coreopsis, and lavender.
  • Tolerant plants: Some plants can tolerate a certain degree of damage from June bugs without significant impact on their overall health. Examples include daylilies and hostas.


Since June bugs are nocturnal and attracted to light, adjusting your outdoor lighting can help prevent them from gathering around your home and garden:

  • Limit the use of outdoor lights: Turn off unnecessary outdoor lights during the June bug season.
  • Use less attractive lighting: Replace white or blue bulbs with yellow or sodium vapor bulbs, which are less appealing to June bugs.
  • Redirect lighting: Aim outdoor lights away from plants and towards a white surface, such as a wall, to draw June bugs away from your garden.

By implementing these detailed preventive measures, you can create an environment that is less attractive to June bugs and reduce the likelihood of infestations and damage to your garden and lawn.

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Photo by byrev on Pixabay

3. Eliminating June Bugs

If you already have a June bug problem, try these methods to eliminate them:

  • Handpick and dispose of June bugs in a bucket of soapy water
  • Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil to affected plants
  • Use beneficial nematodes to target June bug larvae in the soil
  • Place a homemade June bug trap near the affected area

Physical Removal

Manually removing June bugs can be a simple and effective method, especially for smaller infestations:

  • Handpicking: Wear gloves and go out at night when June bugs are most active. Pick them off plants and drop them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them.
  • Trapping: Create a homemade June bug trap or use commercial traps to attract and capture June bugs. Place the traps near the affected area but away from your plants to avoid attracting more bugs to your garden.

Organic Control

There are several organic methods you can use to control June bug populations:

  • Insecticidal soap or neem oil: Spray affected plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the product instructions. These treatments can help control adult June bugs but may not be as effective against larvae.
  • Beneficial nematodes: These microscopic roundworms are natural predators of June bug larvae. Apply beneficial nematodes to your lawn and garden, following the product instructions, to help control the grub population in the soil.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of affected plants. This natural product can help deter adult June bugs by causing them to dehydrate.

Cultural Control

Changing certain practices in your garden can help reduce June bug populations:

  • Crop rotation: Rotating your crops each year can help prevent the buildup of June bug populations in your garden, as they may not be able to find their preferred host plants.
  • Floating row covers: Use floating row covers to protect vulnerable plants from adult June bugs. Make sure the covers are secured at the edges to prevent the bugs from getting underneath.
  • Tilling: Tilling your garden soil in the fall can expose June bug larvae and pupae to the surface, where they will be more vulnerable to natural predators and cold temperatures.

Chemical Control

Chemical control should be considered as a last resort, as it can have negative effects on the environment and beneficial insects:

  • Pesticides: Choose a pesticide that is specifically designed for controlling June bugs or beetles. Apply the pesticide according to the product instructions and always follow safety guidelines. Keep in mind that chemical control may not be effective against larvae and may harm beneficial insects, so use it sparingly and only when necessary.

By using a combination of these detailed elimination methods, you can effectively reduce June bug populations and minimize the damage they cause to your garden and lawn. Always remember to practice prevention techniques to help keep future infestations at bay.

4. Top Tips for Dealing with June Bugs

  • Act early in the season to minimize damage
  • Rotate your crops to prevent the buildup of June bug populations
  • Use floating row covers to protect vulnerable plants
  • Encourage natural predators to visit your garden

5. Homemade June Bug Trap Recipe

Here’s a simple recipe for a June bug trap that can help reduce their numbers in your garden:


  • 1 large plastic container with a lid
  • 1 small plastic container (such as a yogurt cup)
  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 string or wire


  1. Cut a small hole in the lid of the large container, just big enough to fit the small container inside.
  2. Mix the molasses and water together in the small container.
  3. Place the small container inside the large container, positioning it below the hole in the lid.
  4. Secure the lid onto the large container.
  5. Hang the trap near the affected area using the string or wire.

The sweet smell of the molasses will attract June bugs, which will fall into the container and become trapped.

(Video) How To


What is the fastest way to get rid of June bugs?

The fastest way to get rid of June bugs is to combine physical removal (handpicking or trapping) with organic control methods, such as insecticidal soap or neem oil. This approach allows you to quickly reduce the number of adult June bugs while addressing the underlying issue of larvae in the soil.

Do June bugs do anything to you?

June bugs do not pose a direct threat to humans, as they do not bite or sting. However, they can cause significant damage to plants and lawns by feeding on foliage and plant roots, which can negatively impact the health and appearance of your outdoor space.

What are June bugs attracted to?

June bugs are attracted to light, particularly white or blue lights. They are also attracted to plants, as adult June bugs feed on the foliage of various trees, shrubs, and garden plants. Female June bugs are attracted to well-draining soil with organic matter for laying their eggs.

Are June bugs safe to touch?

June bugs are generally safe to touch, as they do not have any venom or harmful substances on their bodies. However, it’s a good idea to wear gloves when handling them to avoid any potential irritation from their legs or exoskeleton.

What color light keeps June bugs away?

Yellow or sodium vapor bulbs are less attractive to June bugs and can help keep them away. Replacing white or blue outdoor lights with yellow or sodium vapor bulbs can help reduce the number of June bugs drawn to your home and garden.

For more pest control tips and tricks, check out these helpful articles:

With these resources and the tips provided in this comprehensive guide, you should be well-equipped to tackle any June bug problem you may encounter. Remember, early intervention and prevention are key to minimizing damage and keeping your garden and lawn healthy and pest-free.

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