There are fewer pests that are as annoying during the summer season as June bugs since they can do a lot of damage to your garden by eating your trees, turf, and shrubs. Below you can find a complete guide on how to get rid of June bugs during all stages of life using natural methods that are safe for you and the environment.
What are June bugs?
June bugs may also be known as May bugs, and they are a type of scarab beetle. The name refers to the time of year when they are most active. The adult bug will eat leaves and cause damage in your garden.
However, it is not the adult bug that causes the most nuisance in gardens and lawns but rather their larvae since they wreak havoc by eating grass, roses, and other shrubs during their short summer fling.
The adults are brown to red, and they measure about 0.5 to 1 inch long. They can be recognized easily from afar due to their clumsy flight pattern that causes them to hit windows and other obstacles frequently.
The June bug larvae can be recognized by their off-white body with six developed legs that can be observed clearly with the naked eye, and the brownish head.
Apart from eating your plants, June bugs can also attract other pests, such as moles and voles. These pests come to hunt the June bugs. This might seem like a good thing in theory, but the moles will dig through your garden and yard, which will only exacerbate the damage that the bugs have already done.
Thus, the best solution is to take the problem into your own hands. While there are plenty of insecticides that you can spray on plants, most of these can be toxic to other beneficial insects. Below, we have prepared a list of natural methods that you can use to get rid of June bugs safely once and for all.
How to get rid of adult June bugs
If you want to get rid of June bugs efficiently, time is of the essence since female bugs will start to lay their eggs in the grass in mid-summer. As such, your goal should be to eliminate the adult bugs before this time so that they don’t have the chance to reproduce.
This won’t just help you get rid of the pests, but by preventing the female June bugs from laying their eggs in your grass and shrubs, you’ll be able to help your garden look better the whole season. It also boosts the health of the plants so that they can look even better the next spring.
So how do you get rid of adult June bugs naturally? The easiest method is to set up a trap overnight. There are traps available for purchase, but you can make your own using just three items: a jar, molasses, and water. To make the trap, you need to start by pouring half a cup of molasses into an empty jar or a milk jug and add half a cup of hot water over it.
Now shake the contents until they have mixed well, and they have a sticky texture. You should bury the open jar around the plants in your garden that the bugs are attracted by. Only the neck of the jar should be above the soil.
Leave the trap overnight and check it each morning to dispose of the dead bugs, and refill it if necessary. Depending on the size of your garden and the number of bugs that you are up against, you might need to use multiple traps. If the next day, the trap is full of dead bugs, then this is a sign that a single trap is not enough.
Since June bugs are attracted by light at night, you can also place a few traps close to a porch light source. When they fly into the light source, the bugs will smell the molasses and fall straight into the trap.
Another natural method to get rid of adult June bugs is to make your insecticide. Since this insecticide doesn’t use harsh ingredients, you won’t have to worry about it damaging your plants or the local wildlife.
To make the natural insecticide, you will need to start by mixing one tablespoon of mineral oil with four cloves of minced garlic and leave it to sit overnight. The next day you should strain all the garlic bits until you are left with a mix of oil and garlic juice. Add the garlic oil in a container and mix it with one pint of water and one tablespoon of mild liquid dish soap.
Now get a one-pint spray bottle, fill it with the mixture, and spray the insecticide onto plants that show signs of June bugs activity. You can also spray it directly onto the June bugs themselves.
Since June bugs are very slow, it is also possible to pluck them off your shrubs by hand. This is a good method for small gardens and when dealing with a small infestation. While June bugs don’t bite, you should still use gloves when picking them up since they have sharp spikes on their legs that can scratch your skin.
How to get rid of larvae
As mentioned earlier, June bug larvae do the most damage to your garden, and if you don’t manage to prevent the adult bugs from laying eggs, we have prepared a short list of natural methods to help you eradicate the larvae.
The easiest method to keep June bug larvae out of your yard or garden is to discourage the adult bugs from choosing your home as a breeding ground. What does this mean? The bugs prefer laying their eggs in short grass, and during the early-to-mid-summer season where female June bugs are most active, you should try not to mow your lawn too short.
So how short is too short? You should avoid keeping the grass below 3 inches tall during the season where the bugs lay their eggs. Anything taller than 3 inches is good.
One natural enemy of June bug larvae is the nematode, which is a beneficial microscopic worm that attacks and kills the larvae. These worms won’t damage the plants or attack beneficial insects, such as bees and ladybugs. You can purchase nematodes online from all your favorite shops or at your local garden centers.
If these methods fail, or you’re looking for more options, you can also purchase an insecticide that’s made from Neem oil. This oil is derived from Neem seeds, which makes it an insecticide that’s natural and approved for organic gardening. It is safe to use on plants, and it won’t kill or harm beneficial insects.
Use their natural predators
While many predators will hunt and kill June bugs, not all of them are beneficial to your garden. Moles, for example, can wreak just as much havoc to your home as June bugs, so you don’t want to attract them. However, there are plenty of other beneficial predators that can keep the June bug population under control without damaging your garden.
The predators that you can attract to your garden are birds, frogs, and snakes. You can attract birds and frogs by placing a birdbath or by adding a shallow pond in your garden. These predators will also need a place to hide during the day, so make sure that your garden offers natural shelters. If not, you should try to create some.
What if June bugs get inside the house?
June bugs are attracted to light, and during the night, if you leave your windows or doors open, they can easily make their way inside. Once inside the house, the June bugs are harmless, but their buzzing is annoying and loud. Their clumsy flight pattern will have them constantly bump into objects, which will make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
You shouldn’t squash them since that will leave a mess, and you’ll then be required to clean up the stain. Instead, you should use your vacuum cleaner to suck them up.
You can also set up the molasses trap we’ve mentioned earlier inside your house, near windows, doors, or other places that June bugs may use to get inside.
If you find that more than a few bugs have gotten into your home, then this means that there may be a serious problem that will require investigation. The simplest solution is to try and keep all doors, windows, and entryways closed during the night.
If you want to keep them open, then make sure that you have bug screen doors installed. At night, you should also try to limit the number of lights that you keep on. The fewer lights that are on, the less enticing your home will look to the bugs.
June bugs can also get inside using cracks or crevices in the foundation. If you find any, you should seal them as soon as possible.