Green June bugs are large velvety, metallic green beetles. An adult June bug burrows into the soil during the day and emerges to feed right after dusk. It buzzes loudly and bounces off of objects while it flies. Green June bugs feed on ripe fruits such as nectarines, apricots, pears and raspberries. Green June bug grubs are a white beetle larvae that live in soil and chew up the roots of plants. Grubs can kill off large patches of your lawn. You can get rid of green June bugs with a beneficial bacteria that infects and kills the beetle.
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Things you need
- Dish soap
- Milky spore powder
- Sevin dust
Start early. The bugs are easier to kill in the morning when they are least active. Inspect roses and all fruit bearing plants including grapes, apricots, blackberries, peaches, plums and figs. Knock the bugs off the plants into a small bucket of hot soapy water to kill them.
Look for patches of loose soil with numerous small mounds of dirt near insect tunnel entrances. Pull up a handful of grass to see if the roots are loose, if they are loose and the soil is spongy the bugs have tunnelled in. Insert a spade into the loose soil and dig three inches into the ground. Adult green June bugs tunnels create a 2-inch deep layer of spongy topsoil. A lawn that receives direct sunlight and has patches of brown grass is likely infested with green June bugs or their larvae. If you find damaged brown patches of grass with little mounds of disturbed soil, dig up the grass and knock any grubs you find into a bucket of hot soapy water to kill them.
Grow your grass a little higher than you normally would and cut it 1-inch higher when you mow it. This keeps the June bugs away because they lay their eggs in short grass. During the spring, only water your lawn when it is absolutely necessary. This allows the roots of the grass to grow deep into the soil to find water and makes it harder for the adult June bugs to tunnel through them.
Treat your lawn with milky spore or Bacillus popilla-Dutky, a beneficial bacteria that specifically targets green June bugs as its host. Sprinkle 1 tsp of milky spore powder on your grass, every four feet. Apply it in rows that are four feet apart. The milky spore takes 21 days to infect and multiply in its host insect before it will kill it. When the dead green June bug decomposes the bacteria reproduces rapidly and releases spores that spread into the soil to infect and kill off more June bugs. The ability of the insecticidal bacteria to reproduce means that you only have to apply it once.The bacteria does not harm earthworms, bees or other insects that keep a lawn healthy. Milky spore can be applied in spring, summer and in the fall months before the ground freezes.
Dust your fruit crops with a thin layer of powdered Sevin to prevent the bugs from consuming ripening fruit. Wait seven days before picking any fruit after you dust it, and be sure to wash it off thoroughly before consuming it.
Tips and warnings
- Green June bugs are attracted to and feed on ripe, thin skinned fruits.
- Since the Milky Spore only uses green June bugs and Japanese beetles as hosts, it is a safe pesticide to use around children and pets.
- Wash all clothing and your hands thoroughly after using Sevin dust as it is a toxic substance. Read the Sevin instructions carefully before use to ensure that you apply it safely.
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