Saturday, April 10, 2010

JuneBugs


June Bugs or May Bugs are one of the most common sights of spring. As early as April in Missouri they will begin showing up at porch lights, pole lights and other light sources. Often annoying us as we try to get past their bombardment to enter our house. Many time they enter right along with us; bouncing off the ceiling, the walls and any other surface looking very much like drunken maniacs that can't find their footing.
They seem to have no destination in mind as they crash into lamps, tables, doors, even ceiling fans (this makes for some interesting entertainment).

Many times I've had their sticky legs get caught up in my hair. Fortunately I'm not scared of these little beasts and merely pull the errant beetle from my hair. Many times though I've seen people scream in fright as they are being "attacked" by Junebugs. Trying to convince someone that it is nothing personal on the beetles part, is near to impossible as they are frantically running around and trying to no avail to remove the little demon from their hair. My husband tells me the story of his uncle Benny who when he was a young boy found himself with one of these beetles inside his ear. Now I must admit I would draw the line when they start entering body cavities! So now my husband is afraid that one will enter his ear....I've suggested ear muffs...lol


Junebugs are in the family of beetles called Scarabaeidae, which are the thick bodied scarab beetles. They have very sticky legs that they use to hold on to most any surface. Try handling one sometimes and see how abrasive their feet feel. This makes them incredibly hard to dislodge from your hair by the way.

Adult Junebugs  feed on the leaves of plants, but the damage they cause is insignificant it is the larvae of these bugs that cause the problem. Much of the nutrients they need they get as grubs living underground feeding on the roots of various plants, these may include turf grass, vegetable plants, ornamentals, weeds and other transparent roots. Sometimes the feeding habits of these grubs can cause significant damage to turf, leaving brown patches of grass on lawns that are heavily infested with them. Large populations of grubs may also attract moles to your yard, which enjoy feeding on fat, tasty grubs.

Females and males come together in the springtime in large numbers, emerging from their earth bound tunnels. After mating, the female will deposit her eggs up to 5 inches in the ground. In a few weeks the eggs hatch and the newborn grubs feed on roots. In approximately 3 weeks they will be fat enough to pupate and will remain a pupa for another 3 to 4 weeks; then another round of adults are born.

Overall they are harmless to humans, they do not spread disease, sting or bite. They can just be a bit frightful as they bumble around trying to find a likely surface to land upon, and often finding your head instead. Try not to scream, remember it's nothing personal.

11 comments:

  1. Huh. I opened this page expecting I knew what insect you were talking about -- and I think I do, now, Shelly, but it is not the one we call a june bug here. The one I know is shiny and green-gold and plays havoc with roses and other garden plants. They will eat the leaves right down to the veins. And while they do get caught in one's hair, I'm more worried about them getting caught on a rampage in the garden (although last year I discovered they love morning glory, so a sacrificial planting of that pretty vine kept them well away from the vegetables.)

    I believe this instance is just another illustration of why common names are so useless in the garden world, and I see it could be the same among insect lovers. But, dang it, I prefer the regular old names to the Latin, even if it does seed a little confusion now and then.

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  2. I know exactly which "junebug" you are talking about. We call them the Green Junebug, and they invade our gardens too. These chunky, shiny brown ones we always called Junebugs. I agree with you on the common name thing....I much prefer common names, but they can sure vary by geographical location. We call Eastern Fox Squirrels...Red Fox Squirrels and I posted a blog about them on my other blog and a guy chewed me out for it and said they are not red fox squirrels but eastern fox squirrels. DUH! I just responded and explained that is why we have latin names...sheesh.

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  3. Could you tell me what the scientific name for the Missouri june bug is?

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  4. I wish I could, but beyond family name it is difficult. There are several species of May or June Beetles that live in Missouri. Many are in the Subfamily Melolonthinae which are the typical May Beetles and June Bugs that we see at porch lights. There are many other species that are closely related though

    Here are some of the species that call Missouri home
    1.) Pelidnota punctata - Grapevine Beetle
    2.) Cotinis nitida - Green June Beetle
    3.) Popillia japonica - Japanese Beetle

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  5. June bugs do bite. Today, one bit my 5-year old grandson. He was swimming in the pool and one was in the water. He picked it up in his hand and it bit him on the finger. He must have been allergic to it because his finger turned red and became swollen clear down into the palm of his hand. We gave him children's liquid Benedryl and liquid children's Claritin and it took the swelling down. We took him to the doctor when it was swollen just to be on the safe side. I always thought these little bugs were harmless, but not anymore.

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  6. Apparently I brought one in on my clothes, I was laying on the couch and suddenly felt a sharp pain....when I looked under my leg it was a June bug. It definitely bit me. Maybe it was because I had it pinned accidentally, but I know I was bitten and I have a red mark with two small holes in the center to prove it. They WILL bite. I'm 51 years old and just found this out.

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    1. Junebugs don't bite, if you hold one in your hand, they will attempt to dig out. They don't puncture skin or anything, but they are attemtping to dig with their front legs, they do it to me all the time. They are 100% harmless.

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    2. They do not bite, they attempt to dig out from where they are and sometimes they will attempt to do it with human skin. A good way to demonstrate is to hold one in your hand and make a loose, but snug fist and they will go for the spaces between your fingers and attempt to dig out. it can leave marks but it is not a bite. They are just very confused little bugs.

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    3. Junebugs don't bite, if you hold one in your hand, they will attempt to dig out. They don't puncture skin or anything, but they are attemtping to dig with their front legs, they do it to me all the time. They are 100% harmless.

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  7. Junebugs look like they are hibernating everywhere I see them. They are on the brick wall outside our house not moving..What are they doing..I have one in my hand that seems to be drugged..Do you knoq?

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    1. They are sluggish during the day...but seem to perk up in the evening. Not sure what else it could be except they don't like daylight. Unless they are ready to die. They don't live long and the ones you're finding might be at the end of their life.

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