Summer is June bug season and if you live anywhere in the eastern United States or southern Canada, you’re already sick and tired of these annoying and garden-destroying pests.
Often associated with warmer weather, the presence of June bugs typically indicates the beginning of summer. In fact, the June bug’s infamous pitter-patter against windows at dusk has become the trademark soundtrack to summer nights in many American households.
But while June bugs are harmless to people and pets, they are annoying and can wreak havoc on our yards and gardens.
Are you wondering how to get rid of June bugs and keep them from coming back? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we are going to learn all about these pesky beetles, what they are, the damage they can cause, and how to get rid of June bugs for good.
Let’s get started!
What Are June Bugs?
There are over 100 species of June bug in the US and Canada.
Also known as the June beetle, May beetle, or green June Beetle, the June bug is a general term used to describe over 100 different species of beetle that is abundant in the eastern and southern United States and Canada.
These insects are generally between 12 to 24 millimeters in length and have a life cycle that allows them to live for up to three years. However, June bugs spend most of their life as larvae or grubs, living in the soil and feeding on tree roots, grains, grasses and more.
By the time the June bug becomes an adult beetle during the early spring or summer, it only lives for a few months to a year. In this time, the adult June beetle feeds on decaying organic materials, leaves, crops, flowers, and other vegetation. Female June bugs will also get busy laying their eggs in the soil of lawns and gardens.
As annoying and damaging as June bugs are, it’s important to keep in mind that they do play their part in our healthy ecosystem.
In fact, June bugs are great natural decomposers and are even an important food source for many other beneficial wildlife like birds and other insects. June bug larvae can also help aerate the soil.
However, June bug grubs are incredibly damaging to landscaping, often eating holes and dead patches into our lawns and killing off garden plants and vegetation from the root up. Adult June bugs are no better, swarming leaves, trees, and crops at night to feed.
June bugs are also attracted to light, and are known to swarm in droves around porch lights and beat against windows once the sun sets.
Sound familiar? If so, it’s no wonder you want to know how to get rid of June bugs! But how do you know if you are dealing with a june bug problem or with some other kind of beetle?
Let’s find out.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs – Identifying A June Bug Problem
Adult June bugs cause damage to leaves and plants while June bug grubs can kill lawns and plants from the root.
Named for the season in which they are most active, adult June bugs generally appear in the beginning of May through June. However, by the time you see adult June bugs, you have likely been dealing with June bug larvae for much longer.
How do you know if you have June bugs grubs before seeing adult June bugs flying around?
Some common signs of June bug activity in your yard include:
- Brown patches in your lawn
- Dead or dying plants and flowers in your garden
- Leaves and vegetation clearly nibbled on
- Hearing tapping against your windows at night during the summer
- Finding beetles congregating around lit porches or lamps
- Finding dead June bugs on your porch in the morning
- Seeing adult June bugs around your home or garden beginning in May or June
One of the quickest ways to determine if you are dealing with June bugs early on is to keep an eye out for those telltale brown patches in your lawn. While many other pests can cause these brown patches, you can easily distinguish between June bug grubs and other insects by simply digging up a small portion of your lawn beneath the brown patches and looking for white larvae.
If you find larvae or grubs under the soil in your lawn, you can rest assured you are dealing with June bugs and it’s probably time you find out how to get rid of June bugs quickly before they become adults.
However, if your soil is free of grubs, you are likely dealing with another pest.
The video below discusses other signs of a June bug infestation and further discusses how to get rid of June bugs once you identify that you have a problem.
So, now you know you have June bugs, but do you know what has attracted them to your property? Let’s find out.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs By Understanding What Attracts Them
June bugs are attracted to certain plants.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of June bugs and are dealing with an abundance of adult June bugs on your property, chances are they’ve been there a while. Remember, June bugs start their journey as grubs that live underground and have likely been hanging around your property for a good year or two.
But what attracted June bugs to your property in the first place?
Like most pests and insects, June bugs are attracted by food sources and shelter. As nocturnal insects, June bugs are most active at night and are also highly attracted to light. That said, it may not be light that has brought June bugs to your property.
If you have once had a lush lawn and a healthy garden, you may have unintentionally provided a smorgsoborg for hungry June bugs.
June bugs are especially attracted to the plants, fruits, vegetables, and trees listed below:
- American Linden
- Crab Apples
- Crape Myrtle
- Grape Vines
- Japanese maple
- Norway Maple
- Pin Oak
- And Raspberries
During the day, June bugs hide out beneath tree bark, under fallen leaves, and beneath rocks. However, at night they come alive to feed on anything from vegetation, to decaying organic material.
By the end of Summer, female June bugs burrow underground in short grass or soil to lay their eggs, thus beginning another cycle of June bugs wreaking havoc on your property.
But how do you get rid of June bugs without sacrificing your yard and garden or turning off all your lights at night?
Don’t worry. There are plenty of effective methods you can use for how to get rid of June bugs while still being able to enjoy your gorgeous landscaping.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs – Best Treatment Methods
June bugs are treated with a few common methods.
June bugs are annoying whether you see them or not. June bug grubs destroy your lawn and gardens while adult June bugs fly around your head at night, beat against your windows and munch on your plants, shrubs and trees.
So, how do you get rid of June bugs and what are the best methods as recommended by experts?
Some of the best treatment methods for how to get rid of June bugs include:
- Natural Repellents
Natural repellents may include sprays and deterrents that use essential oils, sound frequencies li, or other harm-free remedies to help repel and control a June bug problem on your property. These types of repellents are usually safe for people, pets, and the environment and don’t require the use of chemicals or poisons to control a June bug problem.
- Traps and Bug Zappers
June bugs are mysteriously attracted to light, as we mentioned above, so many homeowners find that the use of traps and bug zappers can help to control and eliminate a large June bug infestation on your property. We will list some of our favorite June bug traps for you below.
- Home remedies
One of our favorite methods for how to get rid of June bugs requires a bit of creativity on your part, but don’t worry – you likely have everything you need to get rid of June bugs in our kitchen pantry or refrigerator and we have listed some of the best recipes and home remedies for how to get rid of June bugs further down.
The last method for how to get rid of June bugs is by the use of insecticides. Insecticides work by using toxic chemicals to kill and repel June bugs and other pests from your yard or garden. While insecticides are effective when it comes to pest control, they are not always safe to use around people and pets and can often be harmful to the environment.
That said, sometimes insecticides are necessary when it comes to how to get rid of June bugs, especially if you are dealing with a very large infestation. We will talk more about which insecticides we recommend for how to get rid of June bugs and June bug grubs further down.
For now, let’s take a look at how to get rid of June bugs using natural repellents.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs Using Natural Repellents
Since June bugs target gardens, it’s sometimes important to use natural repellents.
As we mentioned briefly above, most natural repellents get rid of June bugs safely and effectively without the use of harsh chemicals or poisons. Are you wondering what the best natural repellents are for how to get rid of June bugs?
We have listed some of our favorite products below.
Wondercide EcoTreat Natural Pest Control
One of our favorite natural pest control repellents you can use for how to get rid of June bugs is Wondercide. This product uses all natural ingredients that are safe for people, pets and the environment. This product is also safe for beneficial insects and can be used directly on plants in your garden.
Wondercide also works to get rid of pests like mosquitoes, ticks, roaches, scorpions, crickets, chiggers, and many more. It treats up to 5,000 square feet and uses the active ingredient cedar oil to help repel pests safely and naturally.
BioLogic Nematodes Natural Insect Control
Nematodes are microscopic worms that help destroy garden pests naturally and specifically help destroy June bug grubs underground. This product is essential if you are dealing with dead and dry grassy spots in your lawn and dying garden plants as a result of June bug grubs below the earth.
What we love most about using Nematodes for pest control is that this is a safe, all natural way you can go about protecting your lawn while also keeping people, pets, and the environment safe.
EcoClear Nematode Control
Another natural product that uses nematodes for how to get rid of June bugs and June bug grubs is made by EcoClear. Again, this product is completely safe to use around children and pets and it will not harm beneficial insects like ladybugs, butterflies, and bees.
This product is designed to be used in gardens and on lawns to help protect against garden-destroying pests like June bugs and can even be used on shrubs and trees.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs Using Traps And Bug Zappers
June bugs are attracted to light, which can help to trap them.
Remember, June bugs are attracted to light, which is one of the many things that makes them so annoying. There is almost nothing worse than trying to enjoy a summer night on your porch only to be dive bombed by hard-shelled insects.
Luckily, you can use this to your advantage by placing June bug traps around the outside of your home to help reduce and eliminate the number of adult June bugs you have around your property.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorite traps and bug zappers you can use for how to get rid of June bugs.
RESCUE Beetle Trap
First on our list is a beetle trap by Rescue. This trap works to trap June bugs and other beetles throughout beetle season using lures to attract these insects. You can place this trap anywhere around your yard and garden where you have noticed June bug activity to help control the amount of adult June bugs destroying your garden and landscaping.
However, because this trap only works to control adult June bugs, we recommend using it alongside other methods for how to get rid of June bugs like natural repellents or insecticides in order to control them more effectively.
TOLOCO Outdoor Bug Zapper
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Because adult June bugs are so attracted to light, hanging an outdoor bug zapper is a great way to kill and control these insects. Bug zappers work by attracting bugs to the light. When the bug touches the zapper, it is shocked and killed.
These traps are safe to use around people and pets and are harmless to the environment. They also kill pests like mosquitoes, flies, moths, and other flying insects. However, this trap will only kill adult June bugs on your property and will only kill the ones who directly touch it.
COKIT Bug Zapper
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Another electric bug zapper that works well for killing and controlling June bugs is the bug zapper by COKIT. It is a high powered bug zapper that kills a number of pests like adult June bugs, mosquitoes, moths, fruit flies, and more. It works to protect up to 400 square feet and is safe to use indoors and is ideal for indoor use or on your porch.
This product kills beetles and other flying pests instantly, however it only controls adult June bugs, as most of these traps do on this list.
Spectracide Bag-A-Bug Beetle Trap
Beetle traps like the Spectracide trap above are specifically designed to trap beetles like June bugs. This product helps protect your garden and can be placed anywhere you have noticed adult June bugs feeding.
It works by luring the beetle into the trap and then not allowing it to escape again, which helps control and eliminate adult June bug activity. That said, this product only attracts adult June bugs and should be used alongside other methods for how to get rid of June bugs and June bug grubs.
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs Using Home Remedies
Planting chrysanthemums can help repel June bugs.
Many home remedies for pest control use essential oils, vinegar, hot peppers, water, soap, and other ingredients you have in your pantry. While some of these products and recipes do work for how to get rid of June bugs, perhaps the easiest way to go about managing their population in your yard is to get rid of them yourself.
That’s right. Most experts agree that slapping on a pair of gloves and heading out to your garden with a bucket to hand-pick June bugs from your plants is an effective and safe way to help remove these pests and protect your garden.
You can also make your own fruit traps to lure and trap June bugs as well as use a mixture of soap and water to spray and kill them.
Let’s take a look at one of our favorite home recipes you can use for how to get rid of June bugs.
Dish Soap And Water June Bug Repellent Spray
What You’ll Need:
- 4 Tablespoons of Liquid Dish Soap
- 1 Spray Bottle filled halfway with water
Mix the above ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. When you are out at night or when you encounter June bugs while gardening, simply spray the solution directly on the June bugs to kill them. This is a natural insecticide you can use that is safe for people and pets but works to effectively help control the June bug population around your property.
If you want to know how to get rid of June bugs in your garden, perhaps consider also planting some June bug repellent plants, like:
- Garlic White Chrysanthemum
- White geraniums
We also encourage you to plant vegetation that doesn’t necessarily deter June bugs, but that doesn’t entice them either.
Some plants you can plant in your garden that won’t attract June bugs and may even help repel them include:
- American Sweet Gum
- American Elder
- Black Oak
- Common Pear
- Common lilac
- Dusty Miller
- White Poplar
- Flowering Dogwood
- Green Ash
- Red Maple
- Red Oak
- Scarlet Oak
- And Red Mulberry
How To Get Rid Of June Bugs Using Insecticides
June bugs may come out in droves, but they move slowly and are relatively easy to hunt down and control if you catch them early on, and they are especially easy to deal with if you can catch them in their grub stage.
That said, very large June bug infestations may require the use of insecticides. If you feel you need to use insecticides as a method for how to get rid of June bugs on your property, remember that insecticides use harsh chemicals that can be dangerous to people, pets, the environment, and beneficial insects. For this reason, we recommend only using insecticides as needed and using them with caution.
If you aren’t sure which type of insecticide for how to get rid of June bugs would be right for you,‘we’ve listed a few of our favorites for you to take a look at below.
If you have a June bug infestation in your yard, you’ll want to start from the ground up. Remember, June bug grubs can cause serious damage to your yard and garden. That’s why you should use a product that kills June bugs as grubs.
One of our favorite products for how to get rid of June bugs using a grub killer is Scott’s Grub Ex1. This product works on a number of grubs, from June bug grubs to Japanese Beetles, sod webworms, and more.
However, the active ingredient in GrubEx is Chlorantraniliprole, which is a powerful insecticide that can be harmful to people and pets, so use this product with caution.
Bonide Pyrethrin Garden Spray
If you have a serious June bug problem and are looking for how to get rid of June bugs using an insecticide, you may want to try Pyrethrin Garden Spray by Bonide. This product works as an effective insect killer and is designed specifically to protect gardens and crops.
While the product does use the active ingredient permethrin, which is a naturally occurring chemical made by flowers, it can be toxic to people and pets and should be used only as directed and with caution.
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Another outdoor insecticide you can use for how to get rid of June bugs is the above product by Home Outdoor. This product again uses permethrin to help kill pests like June bugs, ticks, termites, caterpillars, and a number of other garden-destroying pests.
This product is strong and effective and can also penetrate the ground to help eliminate grubs. That said, it uses a strong chemical that is known to be harmful to people and pets and should be used with caution around children and animals.
How To Get Rid of June Bugs – When Should You Call A Professional?
Most people do not need professional assistance for June bugs, but some infestations can get out of control.
If you are suffering from a very large June bug infestation or if you notice your lawn and the vegetation on your property is in danger of dying out completely, it may be time to call in the professionals as a stronger pestistice may be required.
Pesticides use very strong chemical toxins to kill and repel pests like June bugs and should be handled by professional pest control experts. While some professional June bug treatments can be expensive, they can often last for years and can help you gain back control of your yard and garden.
Tips On Preventing A Future June Bug Infestation
You can prevent future June bug problems by eliminating them as grubs.
Now that you’ve figured out how to get rid of the June bugs currently driving you crazy, let’s talk about preventative measures you can take right now to keep these annoying beetles from returning to your home in the future.
In order to prevent June bugs from returning next spring, there are a few methods you can use, which we have listed below.
Invite June Bug Predators
June bugs have many natural predators including birds, snakes, worms, toads, bats and more. You can invite these beneficial predators to your property by making your home more hospitable to them and less hospitable to June bugs.
Since birds are the largest and perhaps best received June bug predators, we recommend attracting them to your yard. Go about bringing in birds by buying bird feeders, bird baths, and birdhouses for them to nest in. The more birds you have around your home, the less June bugs you’ll be dealing with in the summer.
Don’t Mow Your Lawn Too Short
Female June bugs prefer to lay their eggs in shorter grass, as it is easier and more convenient for them. You can reduce the chances of having a future June bug infestation by keeping your grass at least three inches long when you mow.
Introduce Nematodes Into Your Lawn And Garden
Nematodes are microscopic worms that eat grubs in large doses. You can find nematodes at most garden shops or home repair shops. You can also purchase them online, as we mentioned above.
Introduce Bacillus Thuringiensis Into Your Lawn and Garden
Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, is a bacteria recommended by many experts as a natural pest repellent for gardeners, farmers, and homeowners alike. This bacteria is completely safe for people, pets, and gardens, but it is damaging to pests like June bug grubs as well as other garden pests. You can purchase this bacteria in most home and garden shops or online.
Practice Routine Pest Control
Along with the above remedies for how to get rid of June bugs and keep them from returning, it is also wise to practice good pest control routines year round. Use natural repellents, home remedies, or professional insecticides as you see fit to help control pests like June bugs all year.
And remember, controlling a June bug problem begins at the source, so eliminating grubs before they grow into adult beetles is your best bet.
Best of luck and happy summer!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.