June bugs aren’t any particular insect species, with the genus Phyllophaga actually consisting of some 900+ creepy, crawling beetles.
But when they invade lawns and gardens across the Northern Hemisphere in early summer, it doesn’t matter whether they’re Japanese beetles or green fruit beetles …
You just want them gone.
Save your luscious lawn from browning and your thick garden vegetables from chewed leaves with our quick guide for how to get rid of June bugs.
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Learn the Signs of June Bug Infestations
Besides seeing these <1-inch shiny, flying beetles with your own eyes, there are a few tell-tale signs that June bugs are invading your yard.
Look for these indicators before jumping into action:
- Dead and spreading patches of grass (browning or balding)
- Chewed, holey, or otherwise damaged plant leaves
- Dying garden plants caused by destroyed roots (or leaf skeletonization)
- Moles in your yard (drawn in by the June bugs)
If once healthy grass is now turning yellow or dry in large patches, these hot weather pests might be to blame. But before you settle on this verdict, cancel out other potential causes, such as direct sunlight (burning), over or under-watering, or plant disease.
Rake (and Care for) Your Lawn Regularly
June bugs will conquer any property with thick vegetation, a luscious garden, or picturesque green grass. But the more natural cover you provide them, the longer they’ll stay (and the more beetles your yard will welcome).
The easiest solution also happens to be the cheapest, and it’s likely something you’re already doing (albeit not regularly enough).
Take care of your lawn.
Mow the grass every 7-14 days in the summer (limit blade height to about 3-4 inches). Rake loose grass shavings and thatch free when you notice a build-up. Set up a sprinkler to rehydrate your grass when temperatures soar (1-1.5 inches a week).
Not only will this disrupt the June bugs’ shelter, but it’ll also expose them to their natural predators, like toads, snakes, and birds.
Spray Insecticides On the Lawn
If your lawn is your pride and joy, then insecticides or other lawn treatments aren’t new concepts to you. But June bugs require special formulas.
When grubs or beetles are killing your lawn, look for products with (or like):
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt): A powder bacteria that can eliminate June bugs without exposing your pets or children
- Sevin: Granules, sprays, or dust reported to kill 100-500 pest species, best when sprayed on the June bugs’ target plant
- Spectracide Bag-A-Bug Japanese Beetle Trap: A hanging trap that lures and kills beetles and grubs
- Scotts GrubEx: Prevents damage to plant roots and prevents grub infestation for some four months
Before you spray your garden vegetables or play area with these insecticides, check their ingredients and safety labels. It’s not unusual for lawn care products to have toxic ingredients for pets, children.
So if you’re trying to create a kid-friendly or pet-friendly home, definitely avoid these products.
Craft DIY June Bug Traps and Sprays
The average homeowner pours about $700 to $2,600 into lawn care each year. Investing in insect traps or insecticide pellets might just push you over the financial edge!
If you have a well-stocked pantry and at least one handy bone in your body, these DIY June bug traps will do in a pinch.
Some of the better “recipes” include:
Molasses and Hot Water
Put ½ cup of molasses and ½ cup of hot water mixed together in a jar. Bury the jar in your lawn (far away from the house) with the open rim exposed. Return to the jar daily to remove the bugs.
Garlic, Water, Mineral Oil, and Dish Soap
Combine minced garlic (four cloves) with about a tablespoon of mineral oil. Remove the garlic chunks the next day, add two cups of water to the remaining mixture, and squeeze in a tablespoon of dish soap. Pour it into a spray bottle, and spritz the plants the June bugs are attacking.
Lime, Water, and Castile Soap
Combine four cups of water, one ounce of lime, and one teaspoon of castile soap in a squirt bottle. Spray it in June bug problem areas to keep them away for good! Reapply as necessary if they’re persistent.
Install a Bug Zapper
The nocturnal June bug may snooze during daylight hours, but don’t let that fool you; these winged critters love light! These beetles have a reputation for swarming porch lights, security lamps, and even lit windows after dusk.
The next logical solution: a bug lantern (or zapper).
Here’s how they work.
Hang a tool like the Flowtron 1-Acre Electric Insect Killer from a hook on a secluded shed or pole far from your home. When the high-intensity light draws curious June bugs over, it’ll “zap” those who come too close.
If killing these critters makes you uneasy, the harmless solution is hanging a standard light instead. That way, the June bugs can still investigate the light and steer clear of your garden without zapping them!
Attract Birds to Your Property
Removing June bugs naturally can also mean meddling with the animal kingdom hierarchy. Luring snakes to your yard may keep the local ecosystem in check and local slithering species well-fed.
Of course, that’s at the cost of having snakes creeping through your grass!
The alternative is turning your luscious yard into a bird-friendly oasis. Avian species like cardinals, blackbirds, wrens, and sparrows are notorious for pecking unsuspecting grubs from the ground for a hearty, crunchy treat.
Add a tall birdbath and hang bird feeders in your backyard to attract local birds. Bright-colored ribbons, birdhouses, or feeding stations (particularly red) can also lure birds to your yard, thanks to their wide visual color spectrum.
As with most household pest infestations, prevention is easier than treating the problem. To prevent these summertime beetles from invading (and ruining) your lawn and garden:
- Practice regular lawn care (raking, mowing, watering).
- Apply natural insecticide treatments regularly.
- Leave an outdoor light on away from your prize-winning tomatoes.
- Encourage natural predators, like toads and birds, to visit your lawn.
But unless those pesky June bugs are destroying your yard and garden, leave them be! These insects are mostly innocent!
Read Also: 7 Easy Home Remedies to Get Rid of Dandruff
Caitlin Sinclair is the property manager at Mirella at Foxboro. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making Mirella at Foxboro the place to call home.