What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

June bug in July?
We just moved into our new house located in the middle of Maryland, just west of Baltimore, in late May. In mid to late June I saw some patches (5 to 10 bugs) of fairly large bugs flying around in a section of the yard. As of yesterday, that number has increased exponentially. There were easily several hundred, if not a thousand or more of them flying around. They don’t seem to be eating anything and as the day wore on and got hotter, they seemed to disappear, I assuming in the grass. Looking through your beetle list, they come close to the June Bug. Will they do any damage to my lawn and how can I get rid of them? Any help? Thanks,

Hi Dan,
You have Green June Beetles, sometimes called Figeaters, Cotinis (occasionally Cotinus) nitida. While researching this swarming behavior, of which we have received other reports in the past, we found that occasionally large numbers will swarm over grassy areas on warm sunny days. The National Parks Services Integrated Pest Management page has much information on the Green Fruit Beetle including: ” The green June beetle ( Cotinus nitida ) adult is usually 3/4″-1″ long, and 1/2″ wide. The top side is forest green, with or without lengthwise tan stripes on the wings. The underside is a metallic bright green or gold, bearing legs with stout spines to aid in digging. In the mid-Atlantic region the names ‘June bug’ and ‘June beetle’ are commonly used for this insect, while they are called “fig eater” in the southern part of their range. They should not be confused the familiar brown May or June beetles that are seen flying to lights on summer nights. The green June beetle adult flies only during the day. The larvae are white grubs often called ‘richworms’ because they prefer high levels of organic matter for food. With three growth stages, the beetles develop similarly to the other annual scarab species. Their body lengths reach 1/4″, 3/4″, and 2″ respectively. The larvae have stiff abdominal bristles, short stubby legs, and wide bodies. One unique characteristic of this grub is that it crawls on its back by undulating and utilizing its dorsal bristles to gain traction. Other typical white grubs, like the Japanese beetle grub, are narrower, have longer legs, crawl right side up, and when at rest assume a c-shaped posture. This species is native to the eastern half of the United States and overlaps with Cotinis texana Casey in Texas and the southwestern United States. The adults generally do not feed but occasionally become pests of fruit. Any thin- skinned fruit such as fig, peach, plum, blackberry, grape, and apricot can be eaten. The principal attraction is probably the moisture and the fermenting sugars of ripening fruit. They occasionally feed on plant sap. In turf situations egg-laying females are attracted to moist sandy soils with high levels of organic matter. Turf areas treated repeatedly with organic fertilizers, composts, or composted sewage sludge become more attractive to the female. The grub feeds on dead, decaying organic matter as well as plant roots. This species is commonly associated with both agricultural crop and livestock production areas as well as urban landscapes. Field-stored hay bales, manure piles, grass clipping piles, bark mulches, and other sources of plant material that come in contact with moist soil provide prime microhabitats preferred by both the female for egg-laying and the migrating third instar grubs. The green June beetle completes one generation each year. Adults begin flying in June and may continue sporadically into September. On warm sunny days, adults may swarm over open grassy areas. Their flight behavior and sounds reassembles that of a bumble bee. At night they rest in trees or beneath the thatch. After emerging, the adult females fly to the lower limbs of trees and shrubs and release a pheromone that attracts large numbers of males. Frequently, males repeatedly fly low and erratically over the turf trying to locate emerging females. After mating, females burrow 2″-8″ into the soil to lay about 20 eggs at a time. The spherical eggs are white and almost 1/16″ in diameter. Most eggs hatch in late July and August. The first two grub stages feed at the soil thatch interface. By the end of September, most are third instar larvae and these large grubs tunnel into the thatch layer and construct a deep vertical burrow. The grubs may remain active into November in the mid-Atlantic region. In the more southern states grubs may become active on warm nights throughout the winter. In colder areas they overwinter in burrows 8″-30″ deep. The grubs resume feeding once the ground warms in the spring and then pupate in late May or early June. The adults begin emerging about three weeks later. “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

25 Responses to Swarming Behavior in the Green June Beetle


  2. perla says:

    i got a question… i been looking trough the web and have not find an answer . seriously its said that fig eater beetle does not attacck people and causually sticks on you because of their clumsy flying. but those bugs do really chase after me … for example today i was in the middle of a crowd and it decided to land on me. minutes before i had been chase by another one. last week got chase two times in almost same senario … and actually got one in my head . another time one la see in my ear. i feellike fig eater magnet. is there really something i could do to not attract them. i really look weird running away from them and crouching when one gets stuck on me.please help!

    • bugman says:

      Maybe you smell like a fig or a ripe peach.

    • Texgal says:

      I have the same problem! May whip out a tennis racket and whack them as they are constantly hitting me in the head.

      Should be entertaining for the neighbors to watch. There goes that crazy lady again!

    • Cindy S French says:

      I was stuck in my car today while over 50 or more swarmed and pelted my windows. I was literally being attacked by them. I never got out of the car I just left and told the client why I had to leave. There were so many I would have been covered by the time I ran 20 ft to the door. Yes they do attack!

  3. Joann says:

    These beetles are really not funny. I have a producing fig tree out back, and just now came back from trying to gather figs. The figs are literally covered with these beetles. Golf ball sized figs grow to baseball size once the beetles converge on them. There is no way I can save the figs. I’d just like to know how to eliminate the beetles! And they DO dive bomb you and swarm over you if they are disturbed. Get a couple of those caught in your long hair and suddenly you aren’t laughing.

    • bugman says:

      Though we sympathize with your situation, we do not provide extermination advice.

    • Tim Miller says:

      A lot of bugs can’t stand soap did you try Dawn regular strength soap spraying a mild soap spray will suffocate most bugs even those pasty stink bugs and the soap will not hurt the trees at all it actually helps them

  4. Duke says:

    In Southern Indiana.
    Hundreds in my back yard. In my 60 years I’ve never seen more than two
    (mating) at a time. Recent heavy and prolonged rains for the last week.
    Third day for this “swarm”. No mating observed. Fascinating.

    • Joyce Hardman says:

      We had a lot of them growing up in San Diego , California in the nineteen sixties and seventies. There are rare sighting these days

  5. Susan says:

    Today is the first day I’ve seen them this year. After a long dry spell it rained, and now they ate swarming everywhere. Most are low to the ground. Some are just plain crazy flying. We always called them June bugs because they came out in the heat of summer.

  6. Carol L. says:

    For several weeks dozens of them are constantly swarming in and out of my orange tree. I removed all the fruit as I thought this was attracting them but they still keep coming. Have lived here 2 years and not had this problem before. Everything I read doesn’t mention citrus trees so what the heck are they doing in there?

    • bugman says:

      We don’t think the behavior you are experiencing has to do with feeding. According to BugGuide: “The adults can often be seen in numbers flying just inches over turf. The larvae may be considered pests because they destroy the roots of valuable plants.” The activity might have something to do with mating and laying eggs.

  7. Cyndy says:

    I’m being invaded every evening as it starts to get dark. Thousands of the brown June Bugs swarm the roof of my house! It’s really unnerving to hear them slapping against the vinyl siding and the metal roof. It sounds like a hail storm! How do I get rid of them way up there?!

  8. Barbara Jae says:

    I live on the 4th floor of a 4-floor apartment complex. They are swarming my terrace. Don’t ever remember seeing them before. They are quite large. Two landed on my terrace rug and when I hit them off with a broom, it looked like they were copulating. How do I get rid of them?

    • Carol says:

      LOL they were copulating. They swarm to mate and then lay their eggs. If you have potted plants on your terrace more than likely in a few weeks you will find some of their hideous white grubs in the soil of your plants. I had hundreds of them last year and I had to turn over the soil in all of my raised planter beds to looks for the nasty grubs and destroy them.

  9. Cyndy says:

    My friends and I went to the $1 store and bought butterfly nets. We now have a nightly tournament to see who can catch the most June Bugs. We each have a bucket with water in it and empty our nets in them as necessary then count them up when the swarming stops! It’s fun!

  10. Cyndy says:

    Making the most out of a creepy situation!

  11. Cyndy says:

    Starting to wonder if we’ll ever run out of June Bugs!!

  12. Bun says:

    But WHY do they chase people? Me and my dog start running as soon as we see one coming our way.

  13. Charlene Davidson says:

    Sigh…. I’m a letter carrier… I’ve been questioning my career ever since these beetles came:(. Swarms and swarms everywhere on route. They seem to chase me:(. Will it be over soon? Anyone hiring until they leave??:(

  14. Jessica says:

    I thought this was a site for people interested in nature and all of the cool bugs in the world! It’s really sad to see that so many people just want to kill them mainly because they’re annoyed by them. 🙁
    Also how is it ever okay to tie a string to any living thing and let it fly around tethered to that string?? Hope you taught your kids that that is NOT cool.

  15. Mike says:

    Cmon get a sense of humor. They’re nasty BUGS! Let’s have some fun!

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