The Q&A Archives: Should I be concerned about Junebugs on my trees?

Question: We have sprayed for japanese beatles and other insects, but still notice a large amount of junebugs on our trees and flowers. I need suggestions on how to get rid of these insects and if they will damage my trees?

Answer: Adult June bugs feed on tree leaves but the biggest problem are their larvae, called grubs, which can damage lawns. The June bug, or May beetle, lays a few dozen eggs in June or July, each egg enclosed in a little ball of dirt, in shallow burrows in fields, meadows and lawns. The egg hatches into a white grub that can
hardly crawl because of its large abdomen curled under the body. They feed on the roots of grass and other plants, often doing much damage to lawns and crops. In the fall they burrow down two feet or more to spend the winter. In spring they come back up to continue feeding and growing until fall, when they again burrow deep. In June or July of the next year they become pupae, and in August or September the adult beetles hatch out.

But, and here is the curious thing, the adult stays buried in the soil and does not emerge until the following spring. Then, one warm night, it comes out and flies to the nearest trees where it chews on the leaves until mating and egg-laying time.

Of course, the June bug has its enemies. On farms the hogs root up fields and pastures to find the grubs and beetles. Shrews and other field mammals undoubtedly eat many. So do blackbirds and crows, which have been known to tear up a golf course fairway infested with these grubs. And then there is a slender black wasp which burrows down, paralyzes a grub by stinging it, and lays an egg on its back.
That egg soon hatches and the wasp larva sucks on the body fluid of the living grub -- finally eating all of it.

You can control a grub population with nematodes, and by attracting birds to your garden.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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