Do June Beetles Bite? Truth Behind the Myth

June beetles, also known as May beetles, are a type of scarab beetle that is commonly found in various regions across the United States. These beetles, which can grow up to 5/8 inches long and appear reddish-brown, are known for their nocturnal activities and attraction to artificial lights during the warmer months of the year Texas A&M University. While they are not considered aggressive insects, it is essential to understand if they pose any risk of biting humans or pets.

In general, June beetles are not known for biting or causing harm to humans, as their primary food source consists of plants and decaying organic matter. However, it is important to note that their larvae, known as white grubs, can cause damage to lawns and gardens by feeding on the roots of plants Integrated Pest Management. Additionally, some beetle species may show a tendency to bite or nibble if they feel threatened or unintentionally come in contact with human skin.

Identifying June Beetles

Physical Characteristics

June beetles, also known as June bugs, are members of the Scarabaeidae family. Among the species in this family, two common types are the Ten-lined June beetle and the Green June beetle (Cotinis nitida). These beetles are generally robust in shape and have a range of colors including metallic green and dark brown. Their elytra, or wing covers, may have reddish-brown or bronze-colored margins.

  • Ten-lined June beetle: dark brown to black color, around 1 inch long
  • Green June beetle: metallic green color, nearly 1 inch long, bronze-yellow body margins

Behavior

June beetles are typically nocturnal and are attracted to lights at night. They are known for their characteristic buzzing, which resembles the sound of a toy helicopter. They tend to fly near the ground and may occasionally land on people, which can be mistaken for a bite. Despite some misconceptions, June beetles are not aggressive and do not bite humans.

Habitat

These scarab beetles are commonly found throughout North and South America. They inhabit a variety of environments including forests, gardens, and grasslands. Their larvae, known as grubs, are found in soil and feed on plant roots, while adult beetles feed on leaves and fruits of various plants.

Larval habitat

  • Soil: grubs are often found in turfgrass

Adult habitat

  • Forests
  • Gardens
  • Grasslands

Do June Beetles Bite?

Interaction with Humans

June beetles are not known to bite humans. They are typically more of a nuisance due to their attraction to outdoor lights during the night. However, they may move in a clumsy manner when walking or flying, coming into contact with humans occasionally. While June beetles pose no direct threat, they may startle adults, children, and pets when they are touched, and they may emit a hissing noise when disturbed.

Defense Mechanisms

June beetles have some basic defense mechanisms, including:

  • Hissing noise: When threatened or molested, they can produce a hissing noise by rubbing their wings against their thorax. This sound might scare off potential predators, like birds and small mammals.
  • Appearance: Their large size and robust appearance may deter some predators from attacking.
Feature June Beetles
Interaction with humans Not known to bite; may startle when touched
Interaction with pets No threat
Interaction with birds Deterred by hissing noise
Interaction with children No threat; may startle

In summary, June beetles are not known to bite humans or pets and primarily serve as a nuisance due to their attraction to lights. Their defense mechanisms involve a hissing noise and their appearance, which can deter predators like birds but are not harmful to humans or pets.

June Beetle Life Cycle and Diet

Eggs and Larvae

June beetle eggs are laid in the soil, where they hatch into larvae commonly known as white grubs. The following are some characteristics of their eggs and larvae:

  • Eggs: Laid in June to early July
  • Larvae (white grubs): Cream-colored with three pairs of legs, up to 1¼ inches long

The larvae feed on:

  • Plant roots
  • Grass
  • Broadleaf weed
  • Tree and shrub roots

Example of damage caused by larvae:

  • Chewing turfgrass roots, leading to reduced growth or wilted appearance

Pupa to Adult June Bug

June beetles undergo metamorphosis and transform into a pupa, then into an adult june bug. Here are some characteristics of the pupa and adult stages:

  • Pupa: Brown, ½ inch long
  • Adult June Bug: Almost 1-inch long, metallic green with bronze to yellow body margins, sometimes reddish-brown wing covers

Adult June beetle diet:

  • Foliage
  • Flowers
  • Roses
  • Corn

Pros and Cons of June Beetles’ Presence:

Pros:

  • None

Cons:

  • Destroy plants and turfgrass
  • Damage rose gardens

Comparison Table: Life Cycle Stages

Stage Size Color Diet
Larvae (Grub) Up to 1¼ inches long Cream-colored Plant roots, grass, shrubs
Pupa ½ inch long Brown None
Adult June Bug Almost 1-inch long Metallic green, yellowish margins, sometimes reddish-brown wing covers Foliage, flowers, roses, corn

June Beetle Pests and Damage

Impact on Plants and Trees

June beetles, specifically the Green June Beetle and the May/June Beetle, are known for causing damage to plants and trees. Their larvae, known as grubs, feed on the roots of various plants, leading to wilting and sometimes death.

Example:

  • Green June Beetle larvae damage roots of grass, trees, and ornamental plants
  • May/June Beetle grubs consume roots of grasses, broadleaf weeds, and shrubs

As adults, beetles from the Phyllophaga genus may also feed on tree leaves, creating ragged holes. They are nocturnal and often attracted to doors and windows where light is present.

Property Damage

In addition to causing harm to plants, June Beetles can cause property damage. Infestations of their larvae may result in unsightly brown patches on lawns. Moreover, Japanese Beetles, a relative of the June Beetle, are known for causing extensive damage to foliage and flowers.

Comparison table:

Beetle Type Damage to Plants Damage to Property
Green June Beetle Roots, leaves Brown patches on lawns
May/June Beetle Roots, leaves
Japanese Beetle Foliage, flowers

Sometimes, June Beetles may be confused with Chafer Beetles, another type of beetle that causes similar damage to lawns and plants.

Pros and cons of controlling June Beetles:

Pros:

  • Protects plants from damage
  • Preserves the appearance of lawns and gardens
  • Reduces the chances of further infestations

Cons:

  • Use of chemical pesticides may be harmful to the environment
  • Invasive methods may disrupt the ecosystem

It is important to take appropriate measures to control June Beetle infestations and prevent any further damage to plants and property. Regular monitoring and use of eco-friendly treatment options can help minimize their impact.

Natural Predators and Pest Control

Animals that Prey on June Beetles

June beetles have several natural predators that help control their population:

  • Moles: These animals feed on the larval stage of June beetles, known as white grubs.
  • Skunks and Raccoons: They dig up turf to eat the larvae, which can cause damage to lawns but help reduce beetle populations.
  • Birds: Various bird species will eat adult June beetles as well as their larvae.
  • Bats: These nocturnal creatures feed on adult beetles during their active flight periods.

Biological Control Methods

There are also some biological control methods that can help manage June beetle populations:

  • Beneficial Nematodes: Applying beneficial nematodes to the soil can target the larval stage and provide effective pest management.
Predator Pros Cons
Moles Effective on larvae May damage lawns
Skunks & Raccoons Eat larvae Can cause lawn damage
Birds Eat larvae and adult beetles
Bats Feed on adult beetles during flight

By using these natural predators and biological control methods, it is possible to control June beetle populations and minimize the damage they can cause to your garden and landscape.

June Beetle Prevention and Management

Insecticides and Pesticides

In controlling June beetles, a variety of insecticides and pesticides are available. Some common insecticides include imidacloprid, which is effective against both adult beetles and their grubs.

Pros:

  • Effective in controlling June beetles
  • Targets both adults and grubs

Cons:

  • May harm beneficial insects
  • Potential chemical exposure risks

DIY Pest Control Measures

For homeowners who prefer a more natural approach, several DIY pest control methods can be employed. For example:

  • Using molasses traps, which lure June beetles with their scent and then trap them in a sticky solution
  • Placing commercial beetle traps around the yard, which also attract and capture beetles with their specific pheromones

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

A healthy lawn is the foundation for successful June beetle prevention. Here are some key steps to achieve it:

  • Regularly mow and water the grass
  • Limiting thatch build-up, as it can serve as a food source for larvae
  • Keep trees and shrubs well-pruned

Comparison of Pest Control Methods:

Method Effectiveness Environmental Impact Cost
Insecticides High Moderate Moderate
DIY Pest Control Moderate Low Low
Maintaining Lawn High Low Low

By applying research-based measures like insecticides, DIY pest control, and lawn care, homeowners can prevent June beetle infestations and maintain a healthy living space.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Swarming Behavior in the Green June Beetle

 

June bug in July?
Hello,
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,
Dan

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. “

Letter 2 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

striped beetle with fanned antennae
July 2, 2010
Hi bug man,
This beetle flew into our cabin in Flagstaff, AZ.
Bug lovers in AZ
Flagstaff, AZ

Ten Lined June Beetle

Dear Bug lovers in AZ,
Your subject line was so descriptive, we were certain you had a Ten Lined June Beetle before we even opened the image.  Your Ten Lined June Beetle,
Polyphylla decemlineata, or a closely related species in the same genus.  You can see more on BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

What is this??
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:55 PM
This is a picture of a bug I saw on my garbage can in southern California. I have never seen this kind of bug before. In person the orange on the bug is a lot more orange than it shows in the picture. It was at least an inch long and 1/2 inch wide, possibly bigger. It is orange, white and blackish. The white and black are verticle stripes and the orange is on its legs and face.
Is it a bity bug? Is it a poisonus bug? Is this the sort of bug that might move into our house and have lots of little funny looking bugs? How do I get rid of this sort of bug?
Amanda G
Southern Califonia

Ten Lined June Beetle
Ten Lined June Beetle

Dear Amanda,
Other than munching on some pine tree needles, the Ten Lined June Beetle will not do you nor your home any harm.  It will not bite.  It is not poisonous, and it will not move into your home to procreate.  The grubs live underground and feed on the roots of a variety of plants, but they are never numerous enough to cause damage.  Turn off the porch light at night and you will need not fear attracting Ten Lined June Beetles to your house.

Letter 4 – Scarab Grubs: June Beetles or Rhinoceros Beetles?????

 

Gigantic grubs
November 19, 2010
Found these in our compost heap (and no you are right – I do not turn it over nearly often enough…).  I’ve never seen or heard about giant grubs like these – they are placed on a standard sized garden trowel to give you a sense of the scale.  I was honestly a little too grossed out to try to straighten one out to measure it though I know right where to find more if you need me to.
I didn’t destroy them all outright (my 1st impulse) just in case they are beneficial or morph into something gorgeous.  Can you identify them for me?  Location:  Rollingwood, Texas 11/19/10…Thanks as always!  Deb Wilson

ADD a Trowel Full of Grubs

Hi Deb,
We love your photo.  You have a good cellular camera.  We increased the resolution to make your tiny file larger, and it held up nicely.  We hope that by making a reference to a recipe, we could get David Gracer to salivate and entice him into sending in an edibility comment.  Though we are certain they are Scarab Beetles, we are unsure if they are June Beetles or Rhinoceros Beetles.

Thank you!  I do have fun with my camera out in the garden.
I am fairly certain (due to the size) these are rhinoceros or ox beetle grubs.  I’m basing that (though I admit I am lousy at bug ID) on the fact that I unearth June Bug/Beetle grubs out in the soil consistently in these parts.  They are much smaller – about the circumference of a pencil and rarely more than 1/2 inch though in their curled in the ground state, length is a guess.
These grubs were in our compost heap, and were up to 3 1/2 inches long, with a diameter ranging from 3/4 to a full inch or more on the larger tail end side.  Since I was thinking they were ox beetles (and therefore not out there garnering strength and numbers to launch a beetle apocalypse on my garden beds) I simply put them back into the compost heap after I took the photos.
If these grubs are edible (and I say that knowing how a person defines “edible” varies), then a few of them could make a fairly decent meal, depending of course on if you have to remove any parts, if they shrink during preparation, etc.   And now I have to go look at photos of puppies and rainbows because I just totally grossed myself out.
Have a great weekend! /Deb Wilson

Letter 5 – Lined June Beetle

 

Subject: Bemuda Dunes, California Beetle
Location: Bermuda Dunes, California
May 7, 2016 3:27 am
Just bought a house in Bermuda Dunes, in the hot desert of Coachella Valley, California. This past three weeks our yard has been inundated with these beetles (please see picture). We’ve tried to identify it by searching the web for a similar picture, but can’t find one. Can you possibly tell us what kind of beetle this is?
Thanks in advance.
Signature: David Pepin

Lined June Beetle
Lined June Beetle

Dear David,
This is a Lined June Beetle in the genus
Polyphylla, but we are not certain of the species.  Based on the species posted to BugGuide, one possible species identification might be Polyphylla cavifrons which is pictured on BugGuide and looks very similar, though BugGuide does note “Species identification often difficult.”  We tried searching for the genus in Coachella Valley and discovered an article on Digital Commons that mentions a new species, Polyphylla aeolus, from your area.  The images on BugGuide do look similar but they appear to have more markings on the elytra than your individual.

Letter 6 – Mating June Beetles or Masked Chafers

 

Subject: June Bug Love
Location: Los Angeles
July 16, 2012 10:05 pm
Caught these two by my front door. Jeez, you’d think they’d get a room! Is there no shame anymore? 🙂
Seriously, pictures taken on evening of July 15th 2012 in Los Angeles, California. They seemed to be in this position for more than couple of hours.
Signature: Phil Hackett

Mating June Beetles

Hi Phil,
While we understand that a common name for this Scarab Beetle is a June Bug, and like the Lady Bug, this is actually incorrect as both are beetles.  May Beetle or June Beetle is a more correct common name.  Thanks so much for submitting your Bug Love photos.  We are not the best at deciphering the difference between the species of June Beetles but we believe these may be members of the genus
Cyclocephala which are classified as Rhinoceros Beetles in the subfamily Dynastinae based on photos on BugGuide where they are referred to as Masked Chafers.  For the record, Charles Hogue acknowledges that they are in the subfamily Dynastinae, but still includes them with the June Beetles in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.  We have been noticing a very small species of June Beetle, about 1/8 inch long, at our own porch light this summer in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mt Washington.

Mating Masked Chafers

Letter 7 – Lined June Beetle

 

Subject: june beetle specie
Location: near Mannford, OK
July 26, 2014 1:31 pm
Found in my garage, July 3, west of Tulsa Oklahoma. Have seen only this one, have never seen one like it before. I released it into the woods hoping it would find a mate and make more. Will I regret that?
Signature: nthestx

LIned June beetle
LIned June beetle

Dear nthestx,
This is a Lined June Beetle in the genus
Polyphylla, but it is not the most common species we are asked to identify, the Ten Lined June Beetle. See BugGuide for images and reported sightings of many of the members of this genus.  The well-developed antennae indicates that this is a male.  We believe releasing your individual was a fine decision.

Thank you very much, Daniel! From your website photos I had begun to believe it was the Lined JB but your confirmation is good to have. I hope he is out there with a mate!
Thanks for all your work in identifying “bugs” and your website is informative & beautiful.
Jan

Letter 8 – Lined June Beetle

 

Subject: Strange Bug
Location: Dunnellon, Florida
May 23, 2015 8:18 pm
Noticed this guy on the porch this evening and we have never seen anything like it. What is this?!
Signature: Brittney

LIned June Beetle
LIned June Beetle

Dear Brittney,
This is a Lined June Beetle in the genus
Polyphylla, and because of your location, we believe it might be Polyphylla occidentalis, which according to BugGuide is found in Florida.

Letter 9 – Lined June Beetle

 

Subject: frilly antennae
Location: Idyllwild, CA
August 8, 2015 7:28 pm
Hi there!
Saw a few of this guy in Idyllwild, CA in July of this year. Dying to know what it is!!! I’ve never seen antennae like that! Can you identify??
Signature: dp

LIned June Beetle
LIned June Beetle

Dear dp,
This is one of the Lined June Beetles in the genus
Polyphylla, and the well developed antennae indicate this is a male.

Letter 10 – Lined June Beetle

 

Subject: Unidentified Lashed Beauty in Colorado
Location: Pueblo, Colorado
July 25, 2016 11:13 pm
Dear Bugman,
Curious what type lashed bug this might be. I found it on my front porch one evening about 2 weeks ago, early July. It was maybe an inch and a half or so. Hoping you can help.
Signature: Curious friend

Lined June Beetle
Lined June Beetle

Dear Curious Friend,
This is a Lined June Beetle in the genus Polyphylla, and according to BugGuide:  “Large June beetles, most with obvious white scales on elytra often forming stripes. Species identification often difficult.”  It might be a Ten Lined June Beetle,
Polyphylla decemlineata, which does range as far east as Colorado.  What you have called “lashes” are actually the flabellate or fan shaped antennae that characterize the male June Beetles in this genus.

Letter 11 – Lined June Beetle from Colorado

 

Ten Lined June Beetle?
Location: longmont, Colorado
April 16, 2012 6:50 pm
Hey there, bug folks!
Here are a few pix I took of a big ol’ beetle that my wife caught in our backyard in Colorado. I think it was August. Feel free to use the pix for your website.
Thanks for all the IDs you do!
Signature: /andrew webb

Lined June Beetle

Dear Andrew,
While we can say for certain that this is a Lined June Beetle in the genus
Polyphylla, which is well represented on BugGuide, we cannot say for certain that it is a Ten Lined June Beetle.  The markings are not as prominent as they usually are on the Ten Lined June Beetle.

Letter 12 – Mating June Beetles

 

Love Beetles
Love your site. I found the Velvet Ant on your site first. Here are some Pics. Arlington, TN (Suburb of Memphis)
Pat Taylor

Hi Pat,
Thank you for sending in your graphic image of mating June Beetles.

Letter 13 – Red Admirals and Green June Beetles feast on sap

 

What Is Going On Here?
Location: San Antonio, TX
April 23, 2012 12:36 pm
Hey Bugman! I live in San Antonio, TX and over the last few weeks we have had TONS of butterflies flying around our yard. The other day I noticed a bunch of them hanging out on a certain tree. Today (4/22/12) I went outside and took a picture of them gathered around the same spot. Once I loaded the pictures to my computer I was surprised to see the beetles that I didn’t even realize were there when I took the picture. Why are they all hanging out together. I attached two pictures. One where you can see the butterflies pattern and the other is of 5 butterflies and 4 beetles.
Signature: Daisy

Red Admirals feeding on Sap

Dear Daisy,
This is such a marvelous documentation.  The tree is oozing sap and the butterflies and beetles are feeding on the sap.  Many butterflies take sustenance from places other than blossoms, and sap is a common food for many species of butterflies including these Red Admirals.  The beetles appear to be Green June Beetles or Figeaters, or a closely related species.  We wish your photos had a higher resolution, but they are still quite wonderful.  Here is a similar documentation from our archives, though the butterfly is a Mourning Cloak.

Red Admirals and Green June Beetles

Letter 14 – Remains of a Green June Beetle

 

Beautiful metallic green spider
Location:  Birmingham, Alabama
July 18, 2010 10:59 pm
This gorgeous spider has been living in the same spot amongst my thornless blackberry vines all summer. She looks like a crab spider to me, but I’ve never seen one like this before. She lives in my backyard in Birmingham, Alabama.
Karen L

Head and Thorax of Green June Beetle

Hi Karen,
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not a spider.  We believe it is the head and thorax of a Green June Beetle,
Cotinis nitida.   Compare your image to this photo on BugGuide.  We suspect a bird or other predator feasted on the fat abdomen and left these remains behind.  Have you ever seen it move during the time you observed it?

Hi Bugger,
I gave my “spider” a poke after receiving your email, and you are right… I have been admiring a carcass for the past few weeks! Hee hee!
Thanks a bunch!
Karen

Letter 15 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

Polyphylla decemlineata?
Speaking of flying objects… This fellow thought my eyeglass frame was a perfect landing site while we sat outside eating on the patio on a hot summer night. He was clearly attracted to the lights. I think it’s a 10-line June Beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata)? When I first picked him up (a “him” because of his fan-like antennae for sensing female pheromones), he let out a breathy, indignant squeak! I took him out to the pine duff where he might enjoy a healthy beetle supper of pine needles. He’ll also avoid further collision with me or a lit window out there. Thought you’d enjoy the images.
Lori
Altadena foothills, California

Hi Lori,
What a wonderful letter to accompany your photo of a Ten Lined June Beetle. The squeeking is known as stridulation. Despite living in Mt Washington in view of downtown Los Angeles and where there are numerous pines, we only encounter Ten Lined June Beetles in Pasadena at Art Center College of Design’s hillside campus when we teach during the summer. We see them on the bridge on the north side of campus outside of the library where they are also attracted to the lights.

Letter 16 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

whats this beetle
Mydaughter brought this one to me..what is it?
Roger

Hi Roger,
This is a Ten Lined June Beetle.

Letter 17 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

Ten-Lined June Beetle Pics
Hi Bugman,
This fellow was almost stepped on as he was making his way across the sidewalk the other night . Since he was so good-looking, we decided to pull out the camera then and there and photograph him. Thanx for your fun site…I was able to identify him while I checked out all the cool pictures. We love you!
Joy Greene,
La Canada, California

Hi Joy,
While we don’t get Ten Lined June Beetles in Mt. Washington, we do encounter them on trips to See’s Candy in Montrose where they are attracted to the lights and we also encounter them at Art Center in Pasadena because of all the pine trees.

Letter 18 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

Looking for an ID.
My six year old found this beetle in our front yard. She asked what it was, and I couldn’t tell her. Can you help me. If you can ID this bug please send reply. We live in Eugene ,Oregon if that helps you any.
Mike

Hi Mike,
This spectacular beetle is a Ten Lined June Beetle. Like many large beetles, they are often attracted to lights.

Letter 19 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

Wondering what kind of Bug this is…
Hi,
Thanks for offering this service! We found this very strange, cool, Beetle type insect which we’ve never seen before. I haven’t been able to identify him via photos on the web. Do you know what he is? He made a hissing or ‘tsss’… ‘tsssh’ sound each time I disturbed him when I was collecting him ( hoping it wasn’t spraying poison or something at me =) ). I’ve included a photo. It’s sitting on a 50 cent coin for scale. Hopefully he’s harmless as I’ve set him free.
Thanks, Leann
Seattle, WA

Hi Leann,
This is a Ten Lined June Beetle, and it is harmless. Gorgeous image by the way.

Letter 20 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

Is This A Ten Lined June Beetle?
I found it outside my Seattle-area home.
Thanks!
Matt

Hi Mattk,
Yes, and this is a very nice photo of a Ten Lined June Beetle.

Letter 21 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

I call it the phyllis diller beetle
Just came across your site… great information and design!
Thank you. Do you know what this is? It’s pretty big
– about an inch and half long. Found in Joshua Tree,
CA. Thank you!
Nancy Pearce and/or Alma Allen

Hi Nancy and/or Alma,
Though we don’t see the resemblance, we like the idea of this
being called a Phyllis Diller Beetle, but in actuality, it
is a Ten Lined June Beetle.

Letter 22 – Ten LIned June Beetle

 

Unidentified Beetle
July 13, 2009
I found this rather large beetle roaming in my garden.
My dog had taken an interest in it, so I had to move it to a safe location.
It made short hissing sounds when disturbed.
Tony
Victoria, BC Canada

Ten Lined June Beetle
Ten Lined June Beetle

Hi Tony,
The Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata, is found throughout Western North America.
They are often attracted to lights.

Letter 23 – Ten Lined June Beetle

 

Bug (beetle?) found in Hesperia, CA June 2009
April 20, 2010
Hello 🙂
I saw this bug in the front yard of my house in Hesperia, CA in June 2009. I just now got around to trying to figure out what type of bug it is, and thought you could help me (I hope).
It looks like a hairy legged beetle with stripes along it’s back. I placed a US quarter next to it for a size comparison, and the beetle is slightly larger than the coin.
Thanks!
Aaron H
Hesperia, CA

Ten Lined June Beetle

Hi Aaron,
We were going to write back that your Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata, was off schedule until we realized you took the photo last June.

Authors

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

95 thoughts on “Do June Beetles Bite? Truth Behind the Myth”

  1. These guys will always win my vote for “best personality” in the beetle world. They’re so goofy when tons of them are slamming into your windows because of the lights, they are fuzzy, and they squeek when you poke them. <3.

    Reply
  2. Hi Daniel and Deb,

    For the record, only a few insect species make me salivate. I tried some of these in the summer of last year, I found a couple dozen in a log in southern AZ. I think that both these pictured here and the ones I had were Rhinoceros beetles in the genus Strategus.

    I had high hopes for the experience but wasn’t fond of them. Their insides are really muddy with digested wood — slow metabolism — and their skins are tough and chewy. I’ve read accounts of them described as delectable: not my findings.

    Dave
    http://www.smallstockfoods.com

    Reply
  3. Hi Ezzarat,
    Actually, witchetty grubs are caterpillars of moths in the Cossidae family. Therefore they’re pretty different from these grubs (for example they feed on the roots of certain bushes, whereas these beetle larvae consume compost or rotting wood).

    Bardi grubs are also traditionally consumed in Australia, and they are the larvae of Cerambycid beetles, so that’s a bit closer.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  4. We had a strange invasion of bugs last night (07/16/13). The weather was very abnormal for western Washington, so maybe that has something to do with it? We do have flood lights that we leave on all night long so maybe this attracted them too? We have a very large (almost 2 inches long 3/4 inch wide) ten lined June beetle attached to screen door with hundreds of tiny black winged ant looking bugs all over our porch. All of the winged bugs appear to be dead. The beetle however is alive and does not want to leave our porch. I am not a bug lover, could you tell me if maybe I have a pest problem? I do have many flower beds and large raised bed vegetable garden, should I be concerned for my plants?
    I have pictures but don’t see how to attach them.

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  5. This Sunday morning, July 28th, 2013, on my front porch window screen facing south was a 3″ L 1.5″ W 10 lined June Bug with feather eyelashes. This was the biggest June bug I have ever seen. I live on Promontory Mountain in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
    I only saw one other one about 7 years ago. Where do they originate from. How come they would be here. The back drop of Promontory Mountain, evergreen trees and a lot of wild life.

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  6. I live in Oregon on five acres with a mix of farm/forest. I found this beetle in our dog’s plastic wading pool. I thought it had drowned as it didn’t move for two days. I scooped it out and put it in our mud room on a paper towel to dry out so I could take it to class I was teaching on garden insects for a summer camp, “Junior Master Gardeners.” After a night in the mud room, my husband called to me,” Did you know this bug was alive?” I ran to see and by gosh, he was moving his legs and antennae. My husband took him outdoors to see if he could survive 48 hours in the water and another 12 in our house, without food. Hope he made it. He was impressive!

    Reply
    • Insects are quite resilient. We have numerous postings of insects and spiders that have survive immersion in water on our site.

      Reply
  7. 7/3

    Walking our dog this evening in the wood/forested area of La Pine, OR, we saw a similarly
    large striped beetle as depicted in the June Bug photo. Any more information about this
    beetle and life cycle would be appreciated.

    Yours,
    Gail McDaniel

    Reply
  8. 7/3

    Walking our dog this evening in the wood/forested area of La Pine, OR, we saw a similarly
    large striped beetle as depicted in the June Bug photo. Any more information about this
    beetle and life cycle would be appreciated.

    Yours,
    Gail McDaniel

    Reply
    • You can use our search engine to find information on the Ten Lined June Beetle posting that we have in our archive, and BugGuide is also a source of information.

      Reply
  9. Found a Dead one of these in my parents backyard this summer, making a resin pendant with it for my beetle loving boyfriend. Thanks for the info on this bug, I really wanted to know the name for him.

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  10. THE BEST EXPLANATION OF WHAT I WITNESSED IN MY YARD. I’VE KNOWN ABOUT JUNE BUGS SINCE CHILDHOOD & PLAYED WITH THEM WITH A STRING & LETTING THEM FLY. I JUST HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY AT ONE TIME-AT LEAST 100 COUNT.

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  11. Alb NM Each night after sundown, while I work in front of the garage. These seasonally cyclic beetles, Kamikaze dive into the pavement and struggle under the sodium light. I caught over 17 last night. The Desert Box Tortoises (we have five) absolutely love them. Crunchy outside, soft chewy inside. One waits at the door each morning, for it’s ‘meals on wings’. Even the 2″ baby turtle excitedly chases and catches them, even while buzzing their wings and hissing. :>)

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  12. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
    • 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!

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  13. 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.

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  14. 6-18-15
    just found one, belly-up in Smith River, Ca..SO beautiful……wish 4 more, only ones a bit more lively! just moved here from Palm Springs..a whole ‘nother different bug assortment to ponder! Such fun! ‘cept for the bananna slugs – which one has to learn to live with…some are quite beautiful…..

    Reply
  15. 6-18-15
    just found one, belly-up in Smith River, Ca..SO beautiful……wish 4 more, only ones a bit more lively! just moved here from Palm Springs..a whole ‘nother different bug assortment to ponder! Such fun! ‘cept for the bananna slugs – which one has to learn to live with…some are quite beautiful…..

    Reply
  16. My grandsons found a 10 striped June beetle on our patio in Chelan, Wa. It had the misfortune of walking on the
    “home defense” I spray around the foundation of my house…it’s a biggie. No pine trees anywhere near us.

    Reply
  17. 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.

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

      Reply
  18. 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.

    Reply
  19. Thank you. We live here in Flagstaff Az. And have seen this hansom guy many times but I never new his or her name. We had a few make their way into our living room last night, I made hubby get the little guy to use its Velcro feet to stick to rag and carry him safely out doors. Thank you for answering my name question. I will use your site more often. Rose Hadden

    Reply
  20. Just had two, frolicking under the streetlight over our driveway. My dog tried to catch one and seemed to get a mouthful of something he didn’t like, and it made him drool. He’s okay. Love the tufted antenna on these guys!

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  21. I just found my 1st one on the cement driveway In Corvallis Montana,, way west in the Bitterroot Valley. My grandkids thought it was really cool, specially when it started pumping its wings and hissing at us!

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  22. Hey, I am just about to add these guys within my shop- collected after their natural life cycle, and not when they are sleeping during the day, as they can seem dead. This little guy is a ten-lined june beetle and what a find for orange!!! I work…. now out of state for Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, up on Modjeska Canyon Road, and we believed these guys to be extinct to the region. You usually only find them where there are a lot of pine trees, and most of our native pines are extremely becoming distinct to Orange County. So cool that you found one!

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  23. Dave, Very nice ! I would like to some specimen samples if possible , they have interesting variations for sure and for a positive ID I will have to see close up . If you can , send me an email at blueribbonfishing@ltol.com . If possible and they are still with your residence , you could save them ( old vitamin bottle/prescription vile ) in a container with a piece of paper towel in it and keep them in the freezer/ refrigerator . I will send you money for a Post Office priority mail box. Or, I will either come down that way to hunt for some or pick up some of your very beautiful Ten Lined Dune Beetles ! Looks close to several dune species , possibly Polyphylla mescalerensis or something like it …. and Maybe something else . Here is a link with some more Pictures ….http://www.virtual-beetle.com/polyphylla%20usa.html… .for back ground relatives . Cheers! Gene St. Denis Sierra Nevada Research South Lake Tahoe

    Reply
  24. Our cat brought a beetle to the front door last night that sounds similar to one described.. It has wings, is almost 3 inches long, large eyes. Its body resembled a huge bee. It had been a bit injured so I collected it in a cup and placed it in a potted fern where it burrowed to the bottom. We have a few pine trees on the property. Could we have the same beetle?

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  25. 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.

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  26. Just encountered one of these the other night. I left the door open and the light on, which is a great way to attract bugs, which, I don’t. But anyhow they’re up here in NE Washington near Spokane. What an odd sound they make!

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  27. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

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  28. I have found these lg grubs in a damages silver maple tree trunk that is decaying but still very much alive. It also has carpenter ants. Would like to prolong life of this tree , any suggestions?

    Reply
    • The Carpenter Ants are far more detrimental to the tree than are the Grubs, which feed on already decaying wood, though we suspect neither will kill the tree directly. We predict that the tree will most likely fall during a wind storm. We would let nature take its course. The tree may live for years.

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  29. In Northeast Washington these were very common. I know from experience that they do bite when stepped on in the shower. Felt like a pair if pliers grabbed the bottom of my toe.

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  30. Found one at my home in La Mesa, CA in a fairly urban area. I have many fruit, nut, and several Aldarica pines. I was sitting there hissing in the mulch. I welcome any and all insects to my property. Vive la biodiversity!

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  31. I just stepped on one thinkin it was a sewer roach. He is still moving well and i will leave him alone now. Whoda thought it was something else? Not me. I will checknon him in the morning since he is in the path of the ants.

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  32. 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?!

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  33. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

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  34. 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!

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  35. I found the Ten lined June Beetle a few days ago..He was inside my apartment bldg. by the mailboxes . ( I reside in Denver,CO.) They are pretty bugs; with their strips on back. He was on his back kicking all fours in the air…I thought he was struggling. I wanted to help so I took my room key and turned him over on his legs…He ended back on his back…I believed he might have died as I saw him again the next A.M. Same spot…

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  36. One just fell out of the sky and landed by my foot while I was washing my car….scared the crap out of me! I never really see these things very often but it did look familiar. I love along the central coast of California and it’s about 10am, so he was out and about during the day.

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  37. Found one in Sedro-Woolley, WA this morning. A very strong beetle , surprised at the hissing it made. First time I had ever seen one!

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  38. Sorry to report but just whacked one with a shoe ,playing super woman for my 3yr old daughter who is terrified of bugs. And my 34 ur old sitter saying it was a tick…. wish I would have known. But unlike everyone one else, I am in Fort Wayne, Indiana…

    Reply
    • The Ten Lined June Beetle is not reported East of the Mississippi River, but BugGuide documents many related and similar looking species in the genus Polyphylla that are found in the East.

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  39. How do I upload a picture on here or even give me your email and I will send a picture of what was on my back porch!

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  40. IN is east when the range is the Western United States and Canada. Like the other side of the Rockies. Also the Mississippi is generally considered a standard division of East vs West. And have you actually looked at a map or driven out west? Indiana is far closer to the east coast (600mi) than the west coast (1500mi).

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  41. Actually yes I’ve looked at plenty of maps in my life as well as lived in Indiana my whole life … Indiana is considered Midwest… look it up for yourself. I get what you are saying … and I’ve question how we are considered Midwest as well. But it is what it is … no need to get down to the mileage on it.

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    • Sorry that I had a condescending tone to my words. I was a little stressed and directed it in the wrong direction.

      The Midwest is called such because a couple hundred years ago it was the Midwest part of the settled area of the continent. The name stuck and here we are. At least it hasn’t changed to the currently appropriate name Middle East. Sorry Bugman I know this was a little off topic.

      Again, I apologize. If you did indeed have a ten lined June bug it could have arrived as a stowaway in a truck or with some new residents.

      Reply
    • Sorry that I had a condescending tone to my words. I was a little stressed and directed it in the wrong direction.

      The Midwest is called such because a couple hundred years ago it was the Midwest part of the settled area of the continent. The name stuck and here we are. At least it hasn’t changed to the currently appropriate name Middle East. Sorry Bugman I know this was a little off topic.

      Again, I apologize. If you did indeed have a ten lined June bug it could have arrived as a stowaway in a truck or with some new residents.

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  42. Thanks bug man I have submitted the picture… again if I’m wrong that’s fine… just simply posting general statement. I don’t know how to link it to this post ..

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  43. I just had one fly in my room. in Southern California.
    She hissed at me when I tried to lift her off rug
    definitely the size of a June bug. my past as a biologist made me observe for
    a while. also had 2 scorpions in my room. I seem to be bug blessed
    😉

    Reply
  44. Camping in The Oregon Badlands at Renolds Pond in late June these large beetles would emerge from the sand in droves about an hour after sunset. They were very annoying as they were attracted to our heads and end up in our hair. They are so heavy their flight is slow, dizzy, and loud.They appear to put a lot of effort into their flying. As it still somewhat light outside we witnessed swifts and other larger swift looking birds catching them with a resounding smack and squash followed by a chortle either from delight or the bird choking. A gentle swat would bring them to the ground unharmed. They are incredible to observe in flight. They buzz right around your head and their antenna are amazing. They become pests though and we found that climbing in our sleeping bags (we dont do tents) made it hard for them to detect us. They disappear as suddenly as they emerged about an hour later. We could literally watch the clock and know what to expect.

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  45. 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??:(

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  46. 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.

    Reply
  47. 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.

    Reply
  48. My seven year old son just found one on our porch hammock and has adopted it as a pet. He had built a little habitat for it and is anxious to feed it. I can only seem to find information on what their grubs eat. Any idea what the adults eat?

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  49. Hi! We are in Seattle and have been finding this beetle in our house basement. Our cat keeps batting them around the room. Why or how are they getting into the house? All sources I find seem to indicate they don’t want to be inside, and that they do no damage. So why so many in our house? Any ideas appreciated. Thank you!

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  50. I love these bugs and try to find some each year….I think the males are attracted to lights because of the sound they give off..my theory is the male think the sound of the light bulb (the hum) is a female june bug….just my theory, why else would they like lights?

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  51. Everyone may think these fly boys are cool but we’re having an abundance this summer in Flagstaff AZ! I’ve scooped up 10 just tonight and taken them back outside. I just had the front door open to cool my tiny home off for 3 hrs. One flew into my cats head! He’s having fun chasing them

    Reply

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