You might have noticed numerous brown and shining green beetles in your garden and the surrounding area during the months of spring. Well, these are the ones we refer as June bugs, or May beetles, or June beetles. It is something that most of the garden lovers hate beyond limits. They tend to damage the plants beginning from the soil to the roots, to the leaves, stems, fruits, simply everything. They generally invade the gardens during the months of May and June. The commercial products available in the market do come to the rescue of our dear gardeners. However, it might cause more damage to the plants, thus, giving a heartbreaking experience. Moreover, these pesticides may also cause the good organisms to lose their life. Therefore, they seek solutions for how to get rid of June bugs naturally. So, here are 25 exemplary solutions to help you overcome the problem.
Know Your Enemies First
“June Bugs” collectively are a combination of about 200 species of beetles, which are related to the scarabs (1). Generally, June bugs are reddish-brown in color and have lustrous wing covers, which are known as elytra. They come under the category of chafers and feed themselves on the vegetation and leaves to be specific. Their diet can also include grass, flowers, fruits, food crops, sap, and decaying organic material.
Why are they Named So?
The June bugs get their name from the fact that June is the time when the adult June bugs emerge out from the soil. About 52 to 200 eggs are buried by the female beetles in the soil, exactly below the earth’s surface. The white larvae, known as white grubs, hatch within a span of about three to four weeks and are about 25 mm (1 inch) long. These larvae feed on the grass and roots of the plants up to several years. They grow into pupae by the time of early summers, which mature into the adult June bugs within 3 weeks. The adult beetles are heavy-bodied, and their length varies from 12 mm to 25 mm, i.e., 0.5 inches to 1 inch.
Six Common Species Included under the Name of “June Bugs”
The six species, which are generally found, are as follows:
This species of the beetle is generally found in the regions of North America. The bugs are ½ to 1 inch long and caramel brown in color. They are one of the most dangerous pests in the home gardens and low maintenance turf. They generally feed on the grassroots (2).
These beetles can be easily identified by their green color. Green June beetles are about an inch long and are generally found in the area of Maine to Georgia. They are mainly responsible for damage to the peaches (3).
They are considered as the most devastating pests. Active even during the day, Japanese beetles are considered as agricultural pests, and they feed on the crops as well as ornamental plants. Strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, corns, and roses are some of the delicacies it enjoys. It is shiny brown in appearance and is ½ inch to 1 inch long. The plants such as roses, grapes, lindens, sassafras, Norway maple, Japanese maple, purple leaf plum are amongst its favorite ones, upon which it feeds (4).
Figeater beetles are metallic green in color and are 1 to 1.25 inches long. They are so called owing to their love for the ripe figs (5).
Ten-lined June beetles are generally found in the sandy soils in the west of rocky mountains. This beetle resembles a small watermelon owing to its green and white markings. It is about 1.25 inches long and makes a hissing sound on touching. It also generally hits the crops, due to which, it has been named as an agricultural pest (6).
This species is a combination of 206 individual species itself. They are dark brown in color and measure about 1 inch to 1.33 inches. They feed on the foliage of broadleaved and coniferous trees along with weeds, vegetable transplants, and ornamental plants (7).
June bugs are nocturnal, i.e., they are active during the night to feed on plants and also for breeding. They do not bite humans. June bugs are attracted to the nighttime lights. They have a plumper body and lack the skills of flying.
Why are they not Good For You?
Yes, June bugs are not at all harmful to you, but then they can cause great damage to your garden. Some of the reasons that would inspire you to drive them away as soon as possible have been listed here for you:
- Damage your grass –
The larvae of June bugs feed on the roots of grass. This weakens it to the level that the turf comes off similar to the way you remove the carpet. This also, in turn, causes the grass to become brown and gradually die. It develops small ugly patches on the turf making it an unpleasant sight to see.
- Fatal for your Plants and Flowers –
Well, not only the roots of grass, but the roots of plants and flowers also serve as food to the larvae of the June beetles. This causes them to droop and eventually turn brown or gray in color. Gradually, they die due to their inability to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.
- Develops Unpleasant Spots on the Trees –
The bugs also consume moss and barks of the trees as food. This is how they leave ugly spots on the bark and damage them.
- Decreases the Quality of Soil –
The larvae of May beetles reside within the soil. This is why they form tunnels within the soil in search of the food. This will cause the soil to eventually lose its solid structure, which results in the soil to get spongy. Too much of loose soil is an indication that there are a lot of larvae present beneath the earth’s surface.
- Attract the Predators –
There are a lot of predators that feed on the May beetles and their eggs or larvae. These include moles, gophers, armadillos, and flies. The invasion of May beetles will invite these predators, which would, in turn, multiply the problem to manifolds.
How to Get Rid of June Bugs?
1) Home-made June Bug Repellent Spray
The first ingredient of this spray is garlic. Well, garlic is one of the most versatile products obtained from the manufacturing unit of mother nature. Be it adding deliciousness to our dishes, getting the skin rid of ailments, curing and preventing various diseases, getting rid of pests at home, or to drive out pests from the garden as well, it is capable of doing it all. All thanks to the sulfur-based compound, allicin, it is blessed with (8). This compound aids the activity of garlic against the pests (9).
Another ingredient this spray uses is the mineral oil. Mineral oils are the oils that are obtained from the distillation of petroleum. It blocks the respiratory openings of the bugs, thereby, suffocating them to death.
So, all you have to do is, take about three ounces of minced garlic. Mix an ounce of mineral oil to it. Let the garlic soak in the mineral oil for a day. Strain the garlic and store the oil prepared in a bottle. Grab a spray bottle thereafter and fill it with some water. Add some garlic oil to it and shake well to form a homogeneous solution. Spray it then on the affected area of your garden.
There is also another way, using which you can apply garlic oil to get rid of the June bugs. Just take another container and add a teaspoon of fish emulsion, 16 ounces of water, and a tablespoon of soap to it. Stir the ingredients well to form a paste, and later add some garlic oil to it. Transfer it to the spray bottle and add some water to it. Now, spray it onto the beetles and the affected part of the land.
Isn’t it good to focus on the root cause of the problem to eliminate it? In that way, we can effectively decrease the chances of its future onset. This is how nematodes work. To administer this remedy, you’ll have to wait until the June bugs lay their eggs. Nematodes are an effective remedy if you are looking for something to answer what kills June bugs. Being a parasite that lives in the larvae and the egg itself, it suppresses the development of white grubs (11). It feeds on the larvae while residing within it and eventually kills it. They are easily available in the gardening stores. You can simply administer them by following the instructions mentioned on the label. One of the methods uses it in combination with water. The mixture, hence, formed is then sprayed over the area. This is the best way to kill the pests known as June bugs without having to worry about the toxicity of other pesticides.
3) Hydrated Lime
Another point added to the answer of the million dollar question stating “how to get rid of June bugs” is hydrated lime. It is a proven remedy against a wide array of insects and bugs including the May beetles (12). All you have to do is, take an ounce of hydrated lime and mix it with about 32 ounces of water. Stir the solution well to mix the ingredients. Add a teaspoon of dish wash to this concoction. Transfer the combination to a spray bottle and shake well to mix the constituents thoroughly. Spray it two times in a week onto the land with the bug problem.
4) Boric Acid
Boric acid is next on our list of home remedies that can help you get rid of June bugs naturally. Also, if you are wondering what kills June bugs, there can be no better alternative than the acid. Boric acid is a naturally-occurring pesticide (13). It is a great poison that can get you rid of a majority of pest such as June bugs. Once taken, it damages their stomach and the nervous system. This method can also be used to get rid of other pests like boxelder bugs and cockroaches.
You can simply spray some boric acid onto the area, which is hit by the June bugs. Some of this powder will stick onto their feet while they pass through the area. This is how they will also carry it to their colonies where they will go. This fine powder is ingested into the bodies of these insects when they groom each other.
The alternative administration of this remedy can be done by preparing a bait by mixing 2 tbsp of boric acid powder with 8 oz. of mint jelly. You can simply place this bait on various areas of your garden.
You must ensure that the use of boric acid is done in a minimal amount as it tends to destroy your garden plants if used in greater quantity. If used in small amounts, it can also boost the quality of the soil.
Pyrethrins are naturally occurring pesticides, which are found in chrysanthemum flowers. They are basically a combination of six chemicals that are toxic to the insects. The crushed form of flowers containing pyrethrins is known as Pyrethrum powder. Pyrethrins tend to excite the nervous system of the insects who come in contact with it. This paralyzes their body and kills them. Pyrethrins are often mixed with another compound, known a synergist, to enhance its effectivity (14). Flowers like marigold, Dalmatian chrysanthemum, Persian chrysanthemum, etc. are great sources of Pyrethrins.
Pyrethrum is one of the most recommended remedies to get rid of the June bugs (15). You can either sprinkle the powder obtained from these flowers in your garden or plant them to get rid of the June bugs and other pests.
6) Indian Lilac Oil
Indian lilac oil or the neem oil is an insect repellent existing in nature and has been in use in the gardens and fields for ages to deter the pests (16). It is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. It is a potent bug poison and also prevents the future onset of the bugs. You can simply sprinkle some neem oil directly on the leaves of your plants. Once the beetles consume the leaves, the oil is ingested into the body of these bugs, which damages their exoskeleton. The beetles will eventually collapse and die.
The other way of leveraging the pesticidal benefits of neem oil is using it in combination with water. Take a spray bottle, which can hold a gallon of water. Fill it and add 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to it, with a gallon of water. Mix both the ingredients well. Pour an ounce of neem oil to this concoction while constantly stirring the solution. Once done, spray the solution so formed on the plants and the soil beneath them once in a week’s time. Make sure that all the leaves of the plants are covered.
7) Milky Spore Powder
Milky spore is a disease, which affects the white grubs of the beetles. It mainly occurs due to the presence of rod-shaped and gram-positive bacteria in the soil. This can also be bought from the market in the form of a dry powder. Just sprinkle some powder into the soil. The larvae will eat this powder and the bacteria will reach inside their body. Once consumed, they multiply at a high rate, which gradually leads to the death of larvae (17, 18, 19). Once the larva dies, it decomposes into the soil and, thus, the bacteria are released into it. This group of bacteria then attacks another set of larvae.
Even though it takes a year or two for milky bacteria to show its effects, it is considered the best, as the bacteria keep reproducing themselves into the soil, thereby, helping you to keep the June bugs away for a longer duration of time. Moreover, they do not cause any harm to the other living beings of the garden. However, the disadvantage of this remedy is that it does not give you instant results. Therefore, you need to ensure an alternate remedy before the milky spore powder comes into the action.
8) Essential Oil Sprays For Repelling Bugs And Insects
Essential oils serve as a great remedy to deter a lot of insects and bugs from your house, and June beetles are one of them (20).
A combination of various essential oils like citronella, clove, lemon grass, rosemary, tea tree, cajeput, eucalyptus, cedar, catnip, geranium, lavender, and mint serves as the best remedy to combat the frequent occurrence of June bugs. Each of these oils is a great bug and insect repellent. All you need to do is, simply mix 30 drops of geranium oil, 30 drops of citronella oil, 20 drops of eucalyptus oil, 20 drops of lavender oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil, 1 tablespoon of either vodka or rubbing alcohol, half a cup of natural witch hazel, and water or vinegar in an amount of half cup and a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin.
Add these ingredients to a spray bottle and shake them well to mix thoroughly. Once all the ingredients are well mixed, add some more water and stir well. Simply spray this mixture onto the required areas. Make sure that you shake it well every time before using.
9) Soapy Water
Well, this is the easiest of all if you are wondering how to get rid of the June bugs naturally. As we discussed earlier, when the soapy water comes in contact with the body of the beetles, it forms a soapy film on their body, thus, closing their respiratory pores. This suffocates the beetles to death. Simply grab a wash bin and add some water and soap to it. Mix them well together and place it in the sunlight such that the sun reflects from the base of the bin.
At night, place this container at a location that is often hit by the beetles. The beetles will get attracted to it due to the reflection and drown in the soapy water. You can also opt for spraying this water in your garden. It works similarly, except that it acts directly on the June bugs it comes in contact with instead of alluring them.
10) Molasses And Water
Molasses is the name you are often going to hear when you are learning to prepare bait traps for the June bugs. The fermented mixture of molasses, yeast, and water serves as a great bait to attract the June bugs. Simply mix half a cup of molasses in hot water and yeast in a jar, and shake it well to mix. Once ready with the solution, allow it to rest for a few days in your garden. This will start attracting the June bugs to it. Once the June Bugs enter into the jar, they find it difficult to leave it and, hence, they die.
11) Tomato Leaves
Tomato leaves are the bug repellents that do not pose a threat to the other creatures living in the habitat. A tomato plant serves as an excellent bug repellent in your garden, thanks to the compounds known as Alkaloids present in its leaves, which are toxic for the bugs (23). These compounds can be obtained from the crushed leaves of tomato, which can be used to prepare an efficient bug repellent spray. It also benefits the garden by attracting some good insects that add to the growth of the plants.
All you got to do is, soak some chopped and mashed tomato leaves in a cup or two of water overnight. Strain the water in morning using relevant aids, and add two cups of water again. When done, fill a spray bottle with this mixture and sprinkle it onto the plants that grow in the area hit by the June bugs.
12) Oil Sprays
The insects such as June bugs breathe through the small pores present on their body. What happens when these pores are blocked? The same things that happen to our body when all the respiratory opening have been blocked. This is how this eco-friendly spray made of oil works on the June Bugs. When they come in contact with the oil, the pores on their body are blocked, thus, suffocating them to death (24).
To prepare an oil spray, collect the ingredients such as a cup of vegetable oil, a tablespoon of soap, and 1 quart of water. Take a container with a lid and add the vegetable oil and soap to it. Close the lid and shake it well to mix both the ingredients. Now, take two teaspoons of this mixture and add it to a quart of water. Mix them well and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle followed by spraying it on the required area.
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring soft siliceous rock that finds a variety of uses in our daily life. Pesticidal usage is one of them. It acts a poison to the bugs as it absorbs the lipids from the body of these insects owing to its coarse structure. This tends to destroy their exoskeleton, thus, being a contributor to their death (25). It has a simple process of application, whereby, you can sprinkle it in the crushed form onto the ground and the leaves of the plants. While the bugs pass through it, they tend to come in contact with it and, then, lose their lives.
14) Bug Spray With Peppers
Pepper is also a versatile pesticide, which shows active pesticidal properties against numerous pests including the June bugs (26). This spray can be prepared by using fresh hot peppers or the chili pepper powder. You can prepare a spray using pepper by mixing a tablespoon of powdered chili pepper in a quart of water. To increase the effectivity, simply add some drops of mild liquid soap. Mix the solution well in a spray bottle and apply it onto the plants.
An alternate method to prepare this spray needs for you to grab half a cup of chilli pepper and a cup of water. Mix both the ingredients well and add another quart of water to it. Allow it to boil on the flame. Once done, allow it to stand in order to reduce the temperature. Add some drops of liquid soap to it when cooled and transfer it to the spray bottle. Spray it over the required area.
Ensure that you keep your hands covered throughout the process as pepper tends to irritate the skin of humans. Also, make sure that you keep your pets and children away from the reach of spray and plants over which it has been applied. They might touch it and may even touch their tender body parts with the same hands.
The next one in our list of effective June Bug deterrents is Rotenone. Rotenone is a compound that exists naturally and is derived from the roots of various tropical plants such as the one belonging to the category of Lonchocarpus, Tephrosia, and Mundulea. It generally finds its application in the form of herbicide, insecticide, and pesticide. Various surveys have represented Rotenone as one of the best pesticides, which can be used in and around the houses in smaller amounts to keep a check on the pests. Rotenone interferes with the breathing process of the insects at the cellular level by its cytochrome-b action. It is generally available in the stores supplying insecticide from where it can be bought and applied, to get rid of the June bugs.
16) June Bug Traps
June Bug traps are a great way of controlling the rising population of June Bugs in your garden (28). The June bug traps generally consist of two compounds, which have attracting action on the beetles. The first one is a sex pheromone while the second one is a floral lure. The everyday activities of June Bugs mainly comprise of two things; first one being the feeding, while the second one is mating. The combined effect of both the attracting compounds acts marvelously by alluring the beetles toward the trap in a great number. The best part of using June Bug traps is that your garden does not have to go through the treatment with harmful chemical insecticides. However, it also has a big disadvantage, which might end you in a bigger trouble. It tends to invite a higher number of beetles than its capacity to trap. This is the reason you might end up having more number of beetles in your garden.
Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt is a naturally occurring bacteria, which is generally found in the soil. It has been used as a powerful insecticide since the 1950s. This bacterium has a spore, in which a protein crystal is found. This protein crystal is toxic in nature for various pests. Once consumed by them, the crystal is released into the stomach of these pests, which is alkaline in nature. This prevents the gut from producing the digestive juices. The pest, hence, loses its life due to the poison (29).
You can simply get the products that have a rich amount of such bacteria to get rid of the June bugs. The bacteria provide you a prevention method, which is as effective as the chemical counterparts while keeping the beneficial organism safe and sound.
Geraniums are the flowers that serve as one of the most efficient methods to deter the June Bugs from your garden. Once the beetles consume geraniums, they fall on their back while their legs and antennae twitch. The beetles remain paralyzed for several hours and die eventually (30).
19) The Attractive Mixture
This is another bait, which attracts the June bugs towards itself. Just grab a banana and mash it properly. Take a jug or a jar and fill it with a cup of water. Add some raw sugar to it and mix well. Now, add the mashed banana and some wine to this. Stir well to obtain a mixture. Once done, keep it in the garden or hang it at a height. This would work similar to the way other baits do. It would attract the June bugs. Once through it, they’ll find it difficult to leave and, hence, die. There has not been a lot of research on this method, but people have reported that it does work for many bugs, especially June bugs.
20) Fermented Fruit Cocktail
Well, your favorite fruit cocktail can do more than simply giving you a delicious option to enjoy. One of this extra benefits is getting you relief from the June bugs (32). Just open a can of fruit cocktail and leave it in the sunlight for a few days. This will initiate the fermentation process. Once you realize that it’s perfect for the application, simply pour the fermented fruit cocktail in a container. Add some water to it, up to the brim, and place the container at a location that is hit by the June Bugs. The sweet-smelling fermented fruit cocktail will act as a bait to the June bugs, thus, attracting them toward itself. Once they get in the container, they find it difficult to leave and, hence die, thanks to the water.
21) A Bug Spray Made From Pyrethrum
We have already discussed the application of pyrethrum to get rid of the June Bugs in the garden. Another way of administering pyrethrum for its strong repellent actions is to use it as an ingredient in a spray where it can be combined with other contents to enhance the efficacy (33).
Simply collect the ingredients such as 2/3 cups of pyrethrum flower, a gallon of water, and about 4-5 drops of liquid detergent. Pour some water into a jug and add powdered pyrethrum to it. Stir well to mix the ingredients. Filter the contents using an appropriate aid and then add the liquid soap to the water hence obtained. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and spray the concoction onto the plants.
Eggshells serve as an insecticide which provides you an additional benefit of adding fertility value to your soil. Crushed and dried eggshells have been used in gardens and for organic farming since ages, as it helps keep various pests, such as June Bugs and slugs, away from the vegetation in your premises (34). There are many ways by which you can use eggshells in your garden to get rid of the June bugs. Once they come in contact with the eggshells, their bodies will turn belly-up. This will paralyze their body and eventually cause them to die. In addition to the pesticidal properties of eggshells, they also increase the calcium content in the soil, thus, adding to its value.
The first method is the simplest one. Simply take some eggshells and allow them to dry in sunlight. Once done, crush them in a coffee grinder to form a fine powder. You can store it in a container. This powder can, then, be sprinkled in the soil of the garden. You can also go for spraying it directly onto the bodies of pests or over the leaves of the plants directly. This would not only kill the pests residing on the leaves, but will also kill the ones from their colony that they come in contact with. With these benefits, it is now the time to store those eggshells every time you consume eggs.
23) Invite Predators To Your Garden
The problem of June bugs can also be solved by inviting some predators who feed on the June bugs in your garden. This may include various birds and some good organisms that benefit your soil. Crows are the best when it comes to taking care of your garden and making it pest-free. You can simply attract the crows by putting out a treat for them and let them handle the pest situation in your garden. Skunks, wasps, skunks, moles, frogs, and many other predators will make your garden bug-free (35).
It is a painful sight when you observe the destruction that June bugs have caused to your garden overnight while you left it blooming the other day. This, then, contributes to the implementation of the remedial measures, but by that time, you have already lost the beauty of your site. To avoid this in the first place, you could try some preventive methods. After all, “Prevention is better than cure.”
- Have your garden bloom with some plants, which bears the flowers rich in the pyrethrum content. This includes marigold, pyrethrum daisy, Persian chrysanthemum, etc. Once the flowers dry, they would end up contributing some pyrethrum content to the soil beneath the plant. This would empower the soil to fight against the June bugs.
- Planting some tomato plants can also help you keep the June Bugs away from your garden. As we are aware, the tomato leaves are rich in the contents that are toxic for the June bugs,. When the dried leaves of the tomato plants mix in the soil, they would make the soil conditions unfavorable for the June bugs to survive. Also, bugs refrain from entering the premises having tomato plants, thanks to its bug repelling capabilities.
- Cover your plants with the row covers. This would ensure that even if the June bugs attack the garden, they are not able to reach to the plants and damage them. Make sure that you get the row covers that allow an appropriate amount of sunlight and air to reach to the plants.
- Keep treating your garden with crushed egg shells from time to time. This would not only keep various pests away, but will also enhance the quality of the soil.
- Keep the garden clean. Make sure of clearing the dead and decayed leaf litter, vegetation, etc.
June Bugs are one of the major threats to your dream of having a garden that offers a breathtaking sight. Even though they have a short lifespan as compared to the other garden pests, they breed fast and, hence, it is a never-ending issue. This makes dealing with them at right time, the most important part of your garden care routine. A combination of right time and right remedy will not only focus on getting rid of the adult June bugs, but will also help you to prevent the future onset by targeting the larvae. While you may also try some chemical insecticides, they may not come out as a great approach since they also cause harm to the flora of your garden habitat. You can try one of these natural solutions instead, which will help you by keeping the May beetles away while having no or negligible side-effects on the plants in your garden.
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