If you live in one of the many areas that are inhabited by June beetles you will often find them around your light in the evening or crashing into screens or windows then buzzing around making a racket. Each spring a fresh batch of these insects can be found near lights in the evening hours since this is what attracts them the most.
Even the larvae of the June beetle is easy to discover since they are commonly seen when digging in gardens or lawns in spring and summer. This is the most common white grub found in the soil during these times. In most species of this insect, the adults spend the daylight hours buried just a few inches beneath the soil. When dusk approaches they burrow out of their hiding places and spend around two hours feeding on the leaves of trees and other plants.
The mating ritual for June beetles, like the feeding ritual, takes place during the evening hours. The female will give off a scent that immediately affects all the males within a radius of twenty yards. When this occurs the males stop feeding and fly to the female to mate. Once the female is fertilized she beings laying eggs in groups of three to four or singly and placing them inside small clumps of soil at a depth of up to seven inches.
When dawn approaches the beetles to burrow in the soil to wait out the daylight hours. After mating, this is done simultaneously within a ten minute period which is in contrast to their normal burrowing experience which usually takes up to several hours. In some species of June beetles, this process is reversed with activity taking place during the day and burrowing taking place at night.
The June beetle eggs are left unattended by both parents and will hatch in two to four weeks. Once the eggs hatch the larvae of the June beetle appear as semi-transparent small white grubs that can be found a few inches under the soil. In many cases, they can be found in flower or vegetable gardens but in most cases, they are common in pastures where bluegrass and timothy supply them with an abundant source of roots.
When fall arrives the larvae will burrow into the soil about sixteen to twenty inches where they spend their first winter. They then return to an area near the surface when spring arrives and feed. This burrowing down in the fall and up for the spring months will be carried out until the second summer. During the second summer, they pupate underground using cells they have created by pressing the earth out around their bodies. After a few weeks, the new adults will emerge from the pupae but they remain through the third winter underground until the third spring.
This is a common life cycle for the June beetle although some of the species have cycles that last only one year. Different types of white grubs can be found in soil but the June beetles larvae are easily distinguished by the double row of hairs at the rear end of the body. These beetle larvae are often destroyed and especially in the South where they prove to be very destructive to agricultural crops.
This beetle has a front pair of wings that appear as a hardened shell with a second set of wings underneath. Their antennae, like all scarabs, has several flat plates at the tips that can open and close similar to the pages of a book. There are three leaflets at the top of the antenna that is found at right angles to the rest of the antenna. This is the distinguishing feature that identifies the June beetle from other scarabs.