Green June Beetles covered in Phoretic Mites

Subject: June bug with phoretic mites
Location: South Central Missouri, Ozarks region
July 16, 2012 3:24 pm
Late in June, I was stirring my compost, and found three june bugs covered with phoretic mites. I was able to identify the mites with the help of your website. In the other photos, I didn’t see any bugs with as many mites as my june bugs. They could hardly crawl. Thought you might be interested. Thanks for a great website!!!
Signature: Carmen

Green June Beetle covered in Phoretic Mites

Dear Carmen,
We need to come clean by telling you we went back through unanswered mail to look for a posting of a Stag Beetle that we want to post, and while we could not locate it among the piles of unanswered mail we have, we stumbled upon your subject line, and boy were we thrilled when we saw the images.  We cannot imagine how this Green June Beetle,
Cotinis nitida, can manage to get airborne with that much excess baggage.  From all we have read, Phoretic Mites do not harm their hosts as they are just hitching a ride to a food source since they are unable to fly.  Though we have seen some species of beetles with excessive amounts of Phoretic Mites, none compare to this.  Additionally, this is the first report we have of a Green June Beetle transporting Phoretic Mites.

Green June Beetle covered in Phoretic Mites

Actually, the photos were of three different june bugs.  They were crawling around inside my plastic compost bin.  I took one out and hosed him off with water to see what would happen, and he flew away.  I think it was relieved!!  I haven’t seen the other two for a while…thanks for responding!!

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