June bug is a name used to describe an assortment of plant-eating bugs appearing in early May and June throughout eastern Virginia. The flying creatures can destroy grass, trees, and garden plants and cause irreparable damage. If you’re wondering where all the flying bugs are coming from, it is most likely your own yard.

June bugs are also called June beetles, May beetles, and other similar names. Despite the number of names and varieties, they all have one thing in common – they are a hazard to your yard and garden. These winged beetles tend to fly clumsily at dusk and are attracted to lights, so you might see them swarming around porch lights in the evening or maybe see the remains of those that died overnight the next morning.

Most of them have a short lifespan but can still wreak havoc on a yard from underneath the ground where the grubs are growing and on top where the leaves of many plants and bushes provide a nice meal for the adults. Larvae emerge from the ground in late May and June when the ground heats up in the warm Virginia sun. After finding a mate, females can lay up to 75 eggs that will hatch and become active within weeks.

Do I Have June Bugs?

Like most bugs, the June bug likes warm, moist soil, so eastern Virginia makes a perfect habitat for them. If you have a garden or routinely water your yard, then you most likely will see evidence of them on the leaves of your ornamental plants. The shiny bugs eat around the hard stems of leaves, leaving a lacy pattern of holes behind.

Large patches of dead grass in your yard can be another way to tell if you have June bugs. The larvae eat the roots of grass and plants before emerging from the ground. If you regularly fertilize and water your yard, then you are providing a perfect environment for these little pests. Grubs are also tasty treats for small animals, such as raccoons and opossums that create holes by digging for the yummy snack.

Green June bugs are common in eastern Virginia and are most attracted to ornamental and vegetable plants. Treating them is difficult for gardeners who raise fruits and vegetables and need to treat them with special pesticides to avoid contamination. Both the roots and leaves are at risk. June Bugs arguably cause more destruction than any other pest and are difficult to treat. Yearly treatment is required to kill both the grubs and the adults. Most natural pesticides don’t work because they only kill the adults and cannot penetrate underground to kill the grubs.


There are several choices of treating your yard for June bugs. Applying nematodes can help eradicate June bug grubs. Nematodes are small roundworms that burrow underground and feed on the grubs, killing them before they erupt from the ground and start eating leaves.

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can also treat June bugs. Bt is bacteria that kills many garden pests, including June bug grubs, and is considered safe for children and pets playing in the yard. It can be purchased as a liquid concentrate or powder to be sprayed or sprinkled directly onto plants.

Tomato plants can also offer some relief from the leaf-munching bug. Tomato plant leaves are a natural pest repellant but need to be placed strategically to ward off the most bugs.

The best way to treat your yard and garden for these unwanted pests is to call a pest control service. Professionals are trained to safely treat yards underneath the soil, on top of the grass, and sensitive plants such as fruit and vegetables. Eco Pest Control technicians are trained to treat a variety of issues and can safely help you fight June bugs without endangering plants or pets. Contact us for more information on keeping your yard safe and pest free this summer.