Antelope Valley Press

June bugs can be unwelcome pest in your yard

- Neal Weisenberg­er

In spring when digging in your garden you may have found some large white grubs. They may also be in and around your compost piles.

Now you may have noticed large metallic green bugs starting to fly around. Both of these creatures are the same creature just at different stages of life.

The large metallic green beetles are called green june bugs or green fruit bugs. Green june bugs fly noisily at night in search of food, which include hollyhocks, ripening fruit, the foliage and fruit of many trees and shrubs. Here in the Antelope Valley they are particular­ly fond of peaches.

The larva of the green june bug is also a pest — in fact, usually the bigger pest. The larva may eat roots of grasses, alfalfa, vegetables, and ornamental plants. Luckily it prefers decaying organic matter and is mainly found in compost piles.

Many people confuse the green fruit bug with a Japanese beetle. The Japanese beetle looks similar in shape and size, but has bronze colored wings.

The life cycle of the green june bug starts as spherical eggs laid in the soil with high organic content. In fact the beetle likes to lay its eggs in horse manure or around stables. They also like compost piles. The larva often emerges after a prolonged rain and look like white grubs. The larva lives for a summer devouring roots in its path. The larva develops in pockets in the soil in which it pupates in the late spring of the second year after hatching. Adults emerge in June or July.

The control of green june bugs is normally done by killing the grubs, not the adults. Fumigating the soil or drenching the soil with a pesticide is the most common. Rototillin­g the soil if possible, has had limited results. Turning your compost pile frequently in the spring can control the grubs in the compost pile.

A backyard control method that has had some success is to trap the adult beetles. A mixture of equal parts of grape juice and water or equal parts of peach juice and water has been reported as an attractant for green june bugs.

Place an inch of solution in the bottom of a one gallon container. Make a funnel of a small mesh wire and insert the funnel in the jar. The beetles are attracted to the jar and crawl down the funnel into the jar. The green june bugs cannot climb back out of the jar.

The green fruit bugs and their grubs look bad, but they usually do very little damage to the landscape and garden.

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