Home gardeners are always on the lookout for signs of pests that can damage their plants and flowers. During the late spring and summer months, June bugs make their appearance in and around the St. Louis area. While these beetles don’t seem so menacing as they’re smacking into your sliding glass doors, they are serious landscape pests that have the potential to wreck havoc on garden plants.
June bugs are insects that typically measure up to 1 inch in length, are brown in color with a hard shell. These insects are in the scarab beetle family. June bugs damage garden plants and grass in both the larval form and the adult form. Ornamental plants and grass have an appendage called a nodule, located on the roots of the plant. This is the point source by which these types of vegetation absorb vital nutrients through the soil. White Grub worms feed on these nodules thereby choking off the plants ability to survive. Wilted, brown or excessive dropping of leaves and large brown patches of grass usually indicate a grub infestation. June bug larvae are white grubs that feed on decaying organic matter. Grubs pupate in the soil and later emerge as adult beetles. When June bug larvae are feeding on lawn grass, the grass turns brown and can be lifted from the ground with little effort. Lawn grass and shrubbery damaged by June bug larvae cannot obtain adequate amounts of water or other nutrients because the roots are damaged and the plant quickly dies. Adult June bugs damage garden plants by feeding on the leaves, causing them to appear ragged or have holes in the leaves. Heavy infestations of June bugs can completely defoliate garden plants in just a few days.
There are a few natural predators that can help keep June bugs under control. Frogs, birds and snakes all feed on June bug larvae reducing their numbers. Another natural predator of these bugs is the blue-winged wasp, which attacks June bug larvae. These parasitic wasps lay their eggs in June bug larvae, which eat the larvae once they hatch. Home gardeners can remove small numbers of June bugs from plants by hand, placing them in a bucket of soapy water to drown. When June bug larvae are damaging lawn grass, applying an insecticide to the soil may help control them. Bacillus thuringiensis can also be applied to lawn grass, which kills the larvae. This product is not harmful to beneficial insects or domestic animals and is an effective means of June bug control. However, for the avid gardener or truly heavy infestations, it’s best to call in a professional. The extermination experts at Bugs by Brian pest control in St. Louis can help. Just give us a call at (636) 394-0101 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free estimate.