What’s this sudden swarm of beetles in my yard?
July 9, 2010
It’s the second week of July, there have been lots of hot, hazy days, and little rain lately.
This is the first, though, for the swarm of large, inch-long flying beetles invading my yard. They were flying everywhere, bumping into the siding of the front porch with audible thumps, congregating inches above the dried grass of the lawn, and buzzing around the invasive sumac tree at the back of my property. They rarely landed anywhere that I could see, but I managed to catch one on the ground for a few seconds and was lucky enough to get a reasonable shot (attached). It’s too early for cicadas, but I have never seen a beetle this large, certainly not in these kind of numbers.
The local bird population is having a buffet this afternoon. Starlings, wrens, crows, all crowding the area trying to catch them.
The kids and I would love to know what they are, as this is definitely a first.
S. Brown, of Annville.
South central Pennsylvania (Susquehanna Valley)
Dear S. Brown,
You have submitted a photo of a Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida. The phenomenon you describe is explained on BugGuide: “The adults can often be seen in numbers flying just inches over turf.“