How to Get Rid of June Bugs Before They Damage Your Lawn


There’s a lot to look forward to about summer, but the arrival of hot-weather pests is not one of them. June bugs get their name from the month when you will usually start to see them in your garden (they are also sometimes referred to as May bugs). They fall under the scarab category, and according to Orkin, adults are generally half an inch to an inch long and are brown or red in color. Because these aren’t the most graceful flyers, you can often find them crashing into windows or screens.

While adult June bugs are certainly a nuisance, these are the larvae you really need to worry about when it comes to causing damage to your property. As The Spruce explains, larvae are worms that can live underground at various stages of moulting for 1 to 3 years, during which they will chew the roots of plants, disturb the grass and create dry patches in your lawn. Since June bugs can lay 75 to 100 eggs in midsummer, as soon as you spot these pests, you need to act quickly to develop an extermination plan. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can be on your way to ridding yourself of June bugs and protecting your outdoor space.

1. Traps adult insects

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A good first step in controlling a June bug infestation is to target adult insects to stop the reproductive cycle. According to Cedarcide, you can easily make your own traps by mixing one part molasses and one part hot water in an empty jar, then placing the jar near areas where these pests are known to hang out, such as plants or outdoor lighting. Another method is to trap them by hand, as they are so clumsy that they can easily be caught.

2. Apply the nematodes

how to get rid of June bug nematodes

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Once the adult June bugs are taken care of, you can move on to removing the destructive larvae. Nematodes are an effective method of pest control at this stage, as they are microscopic, non-toxic worms that feed on the larvae of various insects. Spruce explains that for June bugs, you’ll want to specifically use a species of nematode called Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. You can apply nematodes by mixing them with a garden sprayer and applying them to a wet lawn, followed by plenty of water to ensure the solution drains into the soil.

3. Apply insecticides

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Insecticides add another layer of larval offense, and there are several different types you can try. The Craftsman Blog recommends starting with something non-toxic like an insecticide made from neem oilbecause they are harmful to June bug larvae, but harmless to beneficial insects like ladybugs, spiders and earthworms. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can try a poisonous insecticide, being careful not to harm other insects and animals.

4. Attract predators of June insects

how to get rid of the June insect predator

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While getting rid of pests takes hard work, you can lighten your load by allowing some of their natural predators to help you out. Cedarcides explains that creatures such as birds, snakes, toads and lizards can all help keep these insects away, so a good strategy is to attract them to your garden. You can summon birds with feeders and baths, and reptiles with shallow pools of water and shady places to hide.

5. Maintain a healthy lawn

how to get rid of junbugslawn

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Finally, to prevent June bugs from reproducing next summer, you need to make sure that your lawn does not provide a welcome place to stay. According to the craftsman’s blog, adult June bugs like to lay their eggs in short grass, therefore avoid mowing your lawn too much and disturbing its roots. You should also take care to water your lawn with the right amount, as too much or too little hydration can weaken your lawn and make it vulnerable to June bugs and other pests.

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