Green June Beetle: Essential Facts and Tips

The green June beetle, scientifically known as Cotinis nitida, is an unmistakable insect due to its metallic green hue and relatively large size. Sporting a length of nearly 1 inch, these beetles have bronze to yellow body margins, with wing covers that can sometimes appear reddish-brown source.

In their larval stage, green June beetles are cream-colored grubs that grow up to 2 inches long. While often considered minor pests, they can still create issues by burrowing in turf and creating small mounds of soil on the surface. However, they feed mainly on decaying organic matter at night rather than the roots themselves source.

As adults, green June beetles are part of the scarab beetle family, and their large, attractive appearance can grab attention despite being generally harmless. They are most active in the May or June months, subsequently laying eggs that hatch between June and early July. Green June beetles and their larvae have a preference for feeding on grass, broadleaf weeds, and even tree and shrub roots source.

Green June Beetle Identification

Color and Size

The Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida) exhibits a metallic green color, with their body margins ranging between bronze to yellow and their wing covers sometimes appearing reddish-brown. They are relatively large insects, growing to be around 1 inch long and about 1/2 inch wide.

Characteristics

Belonging to the Scarabaeidae family, the Green June Beetle has several distinct characteristics:

  • Cream-colored grubs: These grow from 1/4 inch to 2 inches long and eventually develop into pupae.
  • Pupae: Brown in color and roughly 1/2 inch long.
  • Legs: These insects have powerful legs that aid in digging burrows and pushing their flat bodies through soil.

Their larvae, known as white grubs, are often recognized while hunching across the ground on their backs while extending their legs.

Comparison of Cotinis nitida’s life stages:

Life Stage Size Color
Grub 1/4-2 inches Cream-colored
Pupa 1/2 inch Brown
Adult 1 inch Metallic green

With this information, it becomes easier to identify the Green June Beetle based on their distinct color, size, and characteristics.

Life Cycle and Habitat

Eggs and Hatching

  • The life cycle of the Green June Beetle begins in summer when females lay their eggs.
  • The eggs are buried in the soil and hatch in about 3 weeks into larvae.

Larval Stage

  • The larvae are cream-colored and can grow up to 2 inches long.
  • They feed on decaying organic matter until the winter, and then go deeper into the soil to survive the colder season.

Pupation

  • Pupation occurs in the spring, and pupae are brown and 1/2 inch long.
  • It takes around 3 weeks for the adult beetles to fully develop, and once they emerge, they make their way to the surface.

Adult Stage

  • Adult Green June Beetles are metallic green, measuring 3/4 to 1 inch in length and 1/2 inch wide.
  • They are primarily active during the daytime and are known for their fondness of late summer fruits, such as figs, peaches, and plums.
Stage Time of Year Characteristics
Eggs Summer Buried in soil, hatch in 3 weeks
Larvae Fall/Winter Cream-colored, can grow up to 2 inches, feed on organic matter
Pupation Spring Brown and 1 / 2 inch long, takes 3 weeks
Adult Summer/Fall Metallic green, 3 / 4 to 1 inch in length, attracted to fruits

Green June Beetles can be found in a variety of habitats, such as gardens, woodlands, and orchards. They prefer moist soil for laying eggs due to their larval stage, which requires access to a rich, organic food source. After emerging from the soil as adults, they are attracted to fruit trees and bushes, making them a potential problem for fruit growers.
However, there are various natural predators, including the parasitic wasp, Scolia dubia, which can help control the Green June Beetle population and prevent severe damages to crops.

Feeding Habits and Damages

Food Sources

Green June beetle larvae mainly feed on:

  • Decaying organic matter
  • Roots of various plants

Adult beetles, on the other hand, often consume fruits such as:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Berries

They also feed on some vegetables1.

Damage to Plants

Larvae cause damage by:

  • Burrowing through soil, disrupting roots2
  • Feeding on plant roots, especially turfgrass3

Adult beetles cause damage by:

  • Piercing fruits to consume the liquid contents4
  • Encouraging mold growth on punctured fruits

Affected Crops

Here are some common crops affected by Green June beetle:

  • Corn
  • Fruits (apples, peaches, grapes, berries)
  • Turfgrass
  • Various vegetables

Comparison Table

Green June Beetle Stage Feeding Habits Damages Affected Crops
Larvae Decaying organic matter, plant roots Soil disruption, root damage, turfgrass damage Turfgrass, corn, vegetables
Adult Fruits, vegetables Fruit punctures, mold growth, crop loss Fruits (apples, peaches, grapes, berries)

Natural Predators and Prevention

Birds and Mammals

Several birds and mammals serve as natural predators of the green June beetle, helping to keep their population under control. Examples of these predators include:

  • Birds: Black and white species like crows and magpies.
  • Mammals: Skunks, raccoons, and moles.

These animals prey on the beetle larvae, which are commonly found in grass and soil around trees and gardens.

Insects and Other Predators

In the insect world, there are other predators that help manage the green June beetle population:

  • Digger wasp (Scolia dubia): This large, showy, orange and black colored parasitic wasp can keep the beetle in check by preying on their larvae.

Preventive Measures

Some simple preventive measures can reduce the chances of a green June beetle infestation in your garden or lawn. Consider the following steps:

  • Remove damaged and overripe fruits from trees, as beetles are attracted to ripe, thin-skinned fruits.
  • Regularly water and aerate your lawn to promote healthy grass growth.
  • Avoid bright outdoor lights at night, since these beetles are attracted to light.

Implementing these preventive measures can help to minimize beetle damage and protect your outdoor spaces.

Control and Management Methods

Cultural Control

Cultural control involves maintaining healthy lawn conditions by adjusting practices like watering, mowing, and fertilizing. For example:

  • Watering: Less frequent, deep irrigation instead of daily shallow watering
  • Mowing: Keep grass length about 3 inches
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium

These practices help establish a strong root system, making it difficult for June beetle grubs to thrive.

Chemical Control

Chemical control can be effective in managing June beetle populations. Commonly used insecticides include:

  • Imidacloprid
  • Halofenozide
  • Carbaryl

Note: Carefully follow the label instructions on any chemical product to ensure its proper use.

Insecticide Pros Cons
Imidacloprid Long-lasting Might harm bees
Halofenozide Kills only grubs Slower action
Carbaryl Broad-spectrum Highly toxic

Biological Control

Biological control methods use natural predators or parasites to manage pests, such as:

  • Nematodes: Beneficial microscopic worms that infect and kill grubs
  • Milky spore: A bacterium (Bacillus popilliae) that targets Japanese beetle grubs
  • Scolia dubia: A parasitic wasp that preys on June beetle grubs

These methods are usually safe for beneficial organisms and the environment.

Geographical Distribution

The Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida) is native to the eastern United States1. It has a wide distribution, stretching from Connecticut to Florida, and from Kansas to the east coast2.

In Texas, the beetle can also be found3. However, its presence in Canada remains unreported.

Here’s a brief comparison of the Green June Beetle’s distribution in these regions:

Region Presence of Green June Beetle
United States Wide distribution2
Texas Present3
Canada Unreported
  • Key characteristics of the Green June Beetle:
    • Metallic green color
    • Size: 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide4
    • Fondness for ripe, thin-skinned fruits2

Similar Beetle Species

The Green June beetle is often confused with other beetle species, such as Japanese beetles and May beetles. These three species have distinct characteristics, making it important to differentiate them for proper identification and management.

Japanese Beetles:

  • Originates from Japan
  • Metallic green with copper-colored wings
  • About 1/2 inch long

Green June Beetles:

  • Native to the eastern United States
  • Metallic green with reddish-brown wing covers
  • Nearly 1 inch long

May Beetles:

  • Also known as June Bugs
  • Brown to dark reddish-brown color
  • About 1 inch long

Here’s a comparison table to highlight the differences:

Beetle Species Origin Color Size
Japanese Beetles Japan Metallic green with copper-colored wings 1/2 inch
Green June Beetles Eastern United States Metallic green with reddish-brown wing covers Nearly 1 inch
May Beetles United States Brown to dark reddish-brown 1 inch

These beetle species cause damage to plants in different ways. The Japanese beetles are known to skeletonize leaves, leaving only the veins behind. On the other hand, Green June beetles and May beetles primarily feed on leaves and fruits.

Identifying the correct beetle species is crucial for implementing the right pest control measures.

Footnotes

  1. Green fruit beetle 2
  2. Green June beetle larvae 2 3 4
  3. May or June Beetle 2 3
  4. Green June Beetle in the Landscape 2

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 – Green June Beetle? or Figeater???

 

Can you indentify this beetle?
September 5, 2009
I have seen a number of these beetles on one tree in our yard. I’m fairly sure it’s a variety of oak but I don’t know which sort. The beetles are eating a white milky sap that is oozing from the bark. I’m trying to figure out whether these beetles are damagingbthe tree.
Kelvin
East Texas just north of Interstate 20

Figeater? or Green June Beetle???
Figeater? or Green June Beetle???

Dear Kelvin,
Though we are certain that the genus on your beetle is Cotinis, we are torn with the species.  Texas is included in the range of the western Figeater, Cotinis mutabilis, as well as the eastern Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida.  The Figeater is generally found later in the year in August and September, while the Green June Beetle generally flies in July.  The Figeater is listed on BugGuide as eating “ripe fruit and sometimes sap”, and the Green June Beetle is listed on BugGuide as eating ripening fruit and leaves.  The fact that this sighting was made in East Texas inclines us toward the Green June Beetle, but the time of year and food source incline us toward the Figeater.  Regarding your question about damaging the tree, we would say that the beetle is not causing damage, but is benefiting from damage potentially caused by some wood boring insects.

Letter 2 – 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!!
Carmen

Letter 3 – Green June Beetle

 

Seen Flying Low over fields in Northern Indiana
Hi there,
I’ve never noticed these guys in St. Louis or New York, but near Culver, Indiana and there were many of these flying around within about 8 feet of the ground. I could only grab pictures of the ones that landed in a cut lawn area. I believe they were mostly landing to mate, but that’s just a guess. Thanks a bunch and what a GREAT website!!!
Christopher Granger

Hi Christopher,
We have gotten many reports of this swarming behavior in the Green June Beetle, Cotinus nitida. You can find some great images on BugGuide. The eggs are laid in dirt with a high organic content and the larvae feed on the roots of grasses and other plants. Adults feed on fruit and are fond of peaches. They will also eat pollen and leaves.

Letter 4 – Green June Beetle

 

What kind of beetle is THIS?
I live in Philadelphia, in Center City, on a pier on the Delaware that is concrete and steel and THIS was outside on the atrium “floor.” Any idea what it is? When it was taken to the river, it did little but roll over on the paper and play dead until dropped, then when it “realized” it was falling toward water, it suddenly found flight! Thanks,
Beth Brennan

Hi Beth,
This is a Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida.

Letter 5 – Green June Beetle

 

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)

Green June Beetle

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.

Letter 6 – Green June Beetle

 

Large Beetle in Maryland
July 11, 2010
Hello! We discovered swarms of these beetles late yesterday flying low to the ground in our backyard, and upon closer look, the backyards of many of our neighbors. I was able to get a decent shot of the back of one of them today, but I’m having a difficult time identifying it. I’ve never seen a beetle like this before in our area, so I’m wondering if the swarms “tagged along” with a storm that blew through here yesterday morning. They are about the size of a nickel. Thanks!
Karen
Walkersville, MD

Green June Beetle

Hi Karen,
The Green June Beetle,
Cotinis nitida, like the one in your photograph is a highly variable species.  You can see examples of many of the variations on BugGuide.  Your letter is the second report we have received this week of Green Fruit Beetles swarming, a behavior that BugGuide describes as “The adults can often be seen in numbers flying just inches over turf.

Letter 7 – Green June Beetle

 

I hope this is a good beetle because I let go.
July 10, 2010
I found this little fellow in the grass in my front yard. I live in Glen Burnie, Maryland. We’ve been having record breaking heat, 100º plus, and this guy was on the move. I brought it inside to photograph. The dime is for size reference and the background is grey.
Mike Rocus
Glen Burnie, Maryland, U.S.A

Green June Beetle

Hi Mike,
Your beetle is a Green June Beetle,
Cotinis nitida.  According to BugGuide, the diet of the Green June beetle is:  “Adults: Pollen; ripening fruits, especially peaches; and the fruit and leaves of many shrubs.   Larvae: roots of many plants including: grasses, alfalfa, vegetables, tobacco, and ornamental plants.” BugGuide also indicates:  “The larvae may be considered pests because they destroy the roots of valuable plants.

Letter 8 – Green June Beetle

 

Green June Beetle?
Location:  Cincinnati, OH
August 12, 2010 1:54 pm
Hi there! Love your site! Found a couple of pics that resemble our bug, but this one’s much greener. Pretty big, about an inch or so. Found it on the cement while shopping, so we moved him to a greener bushy area, then he flew off. Kids thought he was quite cool!
Thanks for all your bug info!
The Franke’s

Green June Beetle

Dear Franke’s,
Thanks for sending your photo of a Green June Beetle,
Cotins nitida.  We have been seeing our own west coast relative, the Fig Eater or Green Fruit Beetle, Cotinis mutabilis, buzzing around the carob tree.

Letter 9 – Green June Beetle

 

I think Green Bettle (Fig Bettle)
Location:  Central Texas
September 4, 2010 6:39 pm
but want to make sure its not the japanese bettle which is harmful to flowers and crops. This is early Sept in Central Texas and they are flying around everywhere crazily. A little bigger than June Bugs and with a high-sheen green on them (see pics). They are dumb like June Bugs and get caught in a water bucket easily. Fly everywhere without direction or apparent cause buzzing during the day (unlike June Bugs that are usually at night.) Thanks!
Signature:  Ed

Green June Beetle

Hi Ed,
You are correct.  This is a Green June Beetle in the genus Cotinis (see BugGuide), but since the ranges of several similar looking species overlap in Texas, we are not certain which species you have.  Japanese Beetles are much smaller insects.

Hi, thank you so much for the quick and detailed reply! I’m glad they are the local type and not the bad kind. I didn’t think they were the Japanese ones but wanted to make sure. We finally had some good rain here and I wonder if, somehow, that caused them all to hatch out or something? Or if they all hatch at the same time like “locusts” maybe? Anyway thanks for the quick reply and have a nice labor day holiday! -Ed

Letter 10 – Green June Beetle

 

Big iridescent green beetles in Maryland
Location: Northern Carroll County, Maryland
July 3, 2011 1:36 pm
Dear Bugman,
Today a hundred big beetles are buzzing around the top of the newly cut grass. Don’t remember ever seeing them, and certainly not in such numbers. The attached do not do justice to the sheen they glow in the sun. I’m stumped! Thanks for any help you can give.
Signature: Yours, Bucky Edgett

Green June Beetle

Hi Bucky,
This is a Green June Beetle,
Cotinis nitida.  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.”

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for such a prompt reply. Unlike mine!
Okay, I’ve read up on them and since our yard is mostly dandelions, plantains and clover, I’ll just let the grubs feed. Maybe the aeration will even help.
I don’t remember ever having seem them swarming they way they did this summer. And I don’t remember Green June beetles. I’ve always thought of Junebugs as brown. Interesting. Live and learn, eh? Thanks for your help. Nature will take its course. Maybe we’ll now get a lot of the parastic wasps eating the grubs!
Yours truly,
Bucky Edgett

Letter 11 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject: peach beetle
Location: brooklyn, ny
July 6, 2012 9:40 am
This guy fell on my head from a peach tree in Brooklyn, what is it?
Signature: Tom

Green June Beetle

Hi Tom,
This is a Green June Beetle,
Cotinus nitida, and it is our understanding that they are quite fond of peaches.  According to BugGuide:  “The adults can often be seen in numbers flying just inches over turf.”

Letter 12 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject: Eastern PA Beetle?
Location: Berks County, PA, USA
July 12, 2013 7:39 am
What is this bug? We found it today (July 12th) in eastern PA, in Berks County, It looks to be about 2 cm long and very buzzy. We live near ponds, creeks, farms and a horse pasture in the rolling foothills of the appalacian mountains. We caught it in a jar. The one picture is from the top, and the other is through the jar’s glass at the bottom. When we let it go it flew away quickly.
Signature: Bug catch and releaser.

Green June Beetle
Green June Beetle

Dear Bug catch and releaser,
This is a Green June Beetle,
Cotinis nitida, and 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.”

Letter 13 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject: Green and yellow beetle
Location: West virginia
July 29, 2015 7:23 am
Curious to what this crazy colorful bug is?
Signature: Thanks jeff

Green June Beetle
Green June Beetle

Hi Jeff,
This is a Green June Beetle,
Cotinus nitida.

Letter 14 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject: Unidentified flying beetle
Location: Central Texas
September 11, 2015 7:47 pm
Howdy! Saw this beetle today on my deck. Now that it’s dark outside, there are several flying around the flood light. I’m finding mixed info online about figeater vs green June bug. Any thoughts? It’s mid-September in central Texas, 130 miles NNE of Houston. No fruit here & very few flowing plants. Mostly grazing land & patches of oaks.
Thanks & gig ’em!
Signature: Dreadhead D

Green June Beetle
Green June Beetle

Dear Dreadhead D,
The Figeater and the Green June Beetle are both members of the genus
Cotinis, and the ranges of the western Figeater and the eastern Green June Beetle overlap in Texas.  The Green June Beetle is much more variable in coloration, and we believe your individual is the Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida.

Letter 15 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject: Large bug
Location: Yonkers, ny
June 30, 2016 3:13 pm
Please identify this bug outside my house. We are overwhelmed with them right now and I’ve lived here 25 years. We’ve never seen them before. They’re approximately 3/4-1 inch long
Signature: Julie

Green June Beetle
Green June Beetle

Dear Julie,
This highly variable species,
Cotinis nitida, can range from a yellow-brown color to bright green, but it is commonly called a Green June Beetle.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 16 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject:  green beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Indianapolis, IN
Date: 09/04/2017
Time: 07:53 PM EDT
Found this pretty green beetle outside today. It was fairly big, more than an inch long
How you want your letter signed:  Sarah H

Green June Beetle

Dear Sarah,
Though it is theoretically a Fruit and Flower Chafer, this metallic green beauty,
Cotinis nitida, is commonly called a Green June Beetle.  According to BugGuide, their food is:  “Adults: Pollen; ripening fruits, especially peaches; and the fruit and leaves of many shrubs.   Larvae: roots of many plants including: grasses, alfalfa, vegetables, tobacco, and ornamental plants.”

Letter 17 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject:  Unidentified Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Baltimore,  MD
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This beetle was found clinging to the shirt of a child. I’ve never seen one this large in my kife. It’s wounded above the left eye.
How you want your letter signed:  I.O. Kirkwood

Green June Beetle

Dear I.O. Kirkwood,
This is a Green June Beetle.  They are sometimes plentiful, and they form swarms by flying low over lawns.

Letter 18 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject:  What is this bug in my garden mostly on the tomatoes?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northwest Ohio
Date: 07/16/2018
Time: 10:29 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this bug a danger to me or my garden?
How you want your letter signed:  DKM

Green June Beetle

Dear DKM,
You indicate that this Green June Beetle and its coevals are on your tomato plants, but you did not indicate if they are eating the plants.  We generally associate Green June Beetles with eating fruits, including figs and peaches.  According to BugGuide the food preferences are:  “
Adults: Pollen; ripening fruits, especially peaches; and the fruit and leaves of many shrubs. Larvae: roots of many plants including: grasses, alfalfa, vegetables, tobacco, and ornamental plants.”

Letter 19 – Green June Beetle

 

Subject:  Green Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Tomball Texas
Date: 09/27/2019
Time: 07:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just curious what kind of beetle it is. They are beautiful. Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Brianne

Green June Beetle

Dear Brianne,
This is one of the Green June Beetles in the genus
Cotinis, but we are not certain of the species.  Texas is the western edge of the reported range of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida, according to BugGuide data, and Texas is the eastern edge of the reported range of the Green Fig Beetle or Figeater, Cotinis mutabilis, according to BugGuide data.  To further complicate matters, we have learned that Tomball, Texas is just north of Houston, which opens up the possibility that this might be the South Texas Coastal Cotinis, Cotinis boylei, which is profiled on Texas Entomology, though we believe that to be the least likely of the three possible species.

Letter 20 – Green June Beetle Infestation

 

big beetle bug
Hey.
We live near Raleigh, NC and are having a horrible time getting rid of some bugs that have attacked our newly planted (last fall) River Birch Tree. They have attacked only one of the 3 trunks of the tree which is now pretty much black and looks like it has been burned up. As you can see in the close up photo of the bottom of the tree, there are 2 types of bugs – one we know is a typical “June Bug”. The larger one favors the June Bug, but is twice the size. We have tried normal ways of trying to rid ourselves of them – which has worked on the June Bug, but not the larger one. We have used Sevin Spray and the Bag – A Bug. The Bag – A – Bug doesn’t even draw them and the spray only kills the one’s that are on the tree at the time. The next day, more are present – many more!!! They come by the 100’s. They are now moving onto my tomato plants – so it is time to get serious!!! Any idea what we are dealing with???
Going nuts!
Jim & Judy in NC

Hi Jim and Judy,
In addition to the smaller June Beetles, Phyllophaga species, you also have Green June Beetles, Cotinus nitida. These beetles are often called Figeaters, since they love to eat fruit. Adults fly in large numbers, making a loud buzzing which is somewhat similar to the buzzing of bumblebees. The beetle feeds on many plants, eating roots, stems and leaves. Larvae are common in rich soil and manure. We suspect that when you planted the tree, you amended the soil with organic material which served as a perfect habitat for the larvae. I would strongly suggest you check with a local nursery for a control method.

Letter 21 – Green June Beetle Mating Frenzy

 

Unknown Mating Beetles
Location:  Texas Hill Country
September 7, 2010 4:01 am
Hi there!
We found these guys in our backyard, there’s actually a lot of them. Over the last couple of years they have made more of an appearance then before. I think they like the oak trees in our yard. During the morning they fly around the trees, and by mid-afternoon there buzzing around at head level. I’ve tried identifying them with your catalog, but the only beetles I’ve found are similar are the Japanese Beetles, and these are lacking the dots along they’re sides, aside from not being quite the same color. Thank you for you’re lovely site, it provides endless education for my children and myself.
Signature:  Beetle GURL

Green June Beetle Mating Frenzy

Dear Beetle GURL,
The only way we can think of to tactfully refer to this activity is a mating frenzy of Green June Beetles in the genus
Cotinis.  The ranges of the eastern Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida, and the western Green Fruit Beetle or Figeater, Cotinis mutabilis, overlap in Texas, so we aren’t certain which species you have encountered.  You can browse BugGuide for more photographs and see the BugGuide information page of the genus for more general information.  You can also read the information page on the Figeater on bugGuide and the information page on the Green June Beetle on BugGuide for specific information on the two species.

Green June Beetle Mating Frenzy

Letter 22 – Green June Beetles

 

I live in near central Oklahoma near the SW side of OKC. We have lateral lines (picture, if you will, 4 human fingers) that extend out of our septic tank. These lateral lines disseminate throughout the ground. Which means we have four long lines of well fertilized grass. This month, those lines were extremely tall and thick. In them and flying over them were these humongous flying critters. They resembled the size of a bumblebee. They became very active when I came near the lines with the riding lawnmower. Because I couldn’t get close enough to identify them (I’m allergic to bees), I can give you a general description:
They are very “heavy” looking. The backs of them sort of had a darkblack/green sheen to them and the bottom sort of had the appearance of black and yellow although I cannot confirm this. I thought maybe they were bumblebees but I had not ever seen the dark green on a bumblebee before. Of course, I’ve only seen one bumblebee in my entire life.
There were at one time, over a hundred of these buggers flying lazily around over the grass. They concentrated in that area only. The rest of the yard was free from these insects. I didn’t know if they had built themselves a home in the grass or they were attracted to them. They did become a little more aggressive in their flying when I came near them.
However, once the tall grass was mowed down, they were gone. Have any idea what they might be?
April Harrington

Dear April,
Green June Beetles are large and green with yellow undersides. They are known to be extremely plentiful at times, especially where there is horse manure present. I would guess that your septic tank attracted them, and the eggs were laid in the rich soil. When they emerged, they did so in vast numbers. They are harmless, though somewhat frightening.

Letter 23 – Green June Beetles

 

I live in near central Oklahoma near the SW side of OKC. We have lateral lines (picture, if you will, 4 human fingers) that extend out of our septic tank. These lateral lines disseminate throughout the ground. Which means we have four long lines of well fertilized grass. This month, those lines were extremely tall and thick. In them and flying over them were these humongous flying critters. They resembled the size of a bumblebee. They became very active when I came near the lines with the riding lawnmower. Because I couldn’t get close enough to identify them (I’m allergic to bees), I can give you a general description:
They are very "heavy" looking. The backs of them sort of had a darkblack/green sheen to them and the bottom sort of had the appearance of black and yellow although I cannot confirm this. I thought maybe they were bumblebees but I had not ever seen the dark green on a bumblebee before. Of course, I’ve only
seen one bumblebee in my entire life.
There were at one time, over a hundred of these buggers flying lazily around over the grass. They concentrated in that area only. The rest of the yard was free from these insects. I didn’t know if they had built themselves a home in the grass or they were attracted to them. They did become a little more aggressive in their flying when I came near them.
However, once the tall grass was mowed down, they were gone. Have any idea what they might be?
April Harrington

Dear April,
Green June Beetles are large and green with yellow undersides. They are known to be extremely plentiful at times, especially where there is horse manure present. I would guess that your septic tank attracted them, and the eggs were laid in the rich soil. When they emerged, they did so in vast numbers. They are harmless, though somewhat frightening.
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Letter 24 – Green June Beetles

 

Subject:  Bugs in my garden .potatoes?
Geographic location of the bug:  Wirtz Virginia
Date: 07/01/2019
Time: 11:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Could you please help identify what this bug is? They come out when the day starts to heat up and I have been seeing some of them on my potato plants. I will upload 2 pictures
How you want your letter signed:  Lyn

Green June Beetles

Dear Lyn,
These are Green June Beetles and one appears to be laying eggs.  We do not think they are harming your potatoes.  According to BugGuide food preferences are:  “
Adults: Pollen; ripening fruits, especially peaches; and the fruit and leaves of many shrubs. Larvae: roots of many plants including: grasses, alfalfa, vegetables, tobacco, and ornamental plants.”  Adults seem to prefer sugary foods like sap and ripe fruit, and larvae are considered pests that eat the roots of laws grasses.  BugGuide also notes:  “The adults can often be seen in numbers flying just inches over turf.”

Letter 25 – Green June Beetles and Emperor Butterfly

 

Green Fruit Beetle or Fig Eater, Cotinus mutabilis and friend
Hello,
My husband stuck a banana in our wisteria vine in Alpine, Texas and it attracted these beautiful beetles. I think they are the Green Fruit Beetle or Fig Eater, Cotinus mutabilis (as found on your website). I’m curious to know what the butterfly is. Cheers,
Karen

Hi Karen,
We actually believe your beetles are another species in the genus Cotinis, the Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida. BugGuide has a nice example of the possible variations in the coloration. Both Cotinis nitida and Cotinis mutabilis are called Fig-Eaters as well. The butterfly is one of the Emperor Butterflies in the genus, Asterocampa, probably the Empress Leilia, Asterocampa leilia. You can compare your photo to the other Emperors in the genus Asterocampa on BugGuide as well.

Letter 26 – Green June Beetles feeding on sap

 

Scarab beetle?
Location: Near Dallas, Texas
October 24, 2010 7:22 pm
It was dusk and I these bugs on the bark of a Red Oak in Collin County, Texas which is 20 miles north of Dallas, Texas. These bugs were everywhere on the tree. It would appear they were taking sap from the tree. Is this bug a danger to the livelyhood of the tree?
Signature: Shelly S

Green June Beetles feeding

Hi Shelly,
These Green June Beetles in the genus Cotinis are indeed feeding on sap.  They did not harm the tree, but they are taking advantage of the oozing sap.  There are several species of Green June Beetles, sometimes called Figeaters, with ranges that overlap in Texas.

Thank you Daniel!  I sure appreciate the response.
I hope you have a wonderful day!

Authors

    by
  • 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

20 thoughts on “Green June Beetle: Essential Facts and Tips”

  1. June 29, 2013- Thanks for this article. The past couple of days our back yard has been “swarming” with these beetles- bright green fluorescent. I’ve lived here over 20 years and have never seen them. Like Bucky, our lawn consists of green weeds we just keep mowed! I guess we’ll just leave them be for now, however I have decided against hanging out the laundry until they are gone!
    Thanks
    Phyllis

    Reply
  2. June 29, 2013- Thanks for this article. The past couple of days our back yard has been “swarming” with these beetles- bright green fluorescent. I’ve lived here over 20 years and have never seen them. Like Bucky, our lawn consists of green weeds we just keep mowed! I guess we’ll just leave them be for now, however I have decided against hanging out the laundry until they are gone!
    Thanks
    Phyllis

    Reply
    • Hi Phyllis,
      The beetles will not harm your laundry. They might accidentally fly into the sheets, but they will not harm your clothes nor will they harm you.

      Reply
  3. They are also swarming in our Olney, MD yard. I also had not seen them in previous years. They had me stopped dead in my tracks when I observed their behavior while mowing the yard… thought they might be some sort of bee

    Reply
  4. i live in southern carroll county and have these things swarming in my yard! have lived here my whole life and have never seen anything like this! you cannot go outside during the day there are thousands of them! when will they go away? will they be here all summer? we cannot even have a cook out . why are they here, how did they get here. i read they feed on fruit, we do not have fruit trees, i am FREAKED out!!

    Reply
  5. Like you all have already stated….. I too have these flying everywhere!! I’m in Walkersville, Md and have never seen these “green” beetles. Mine here are more of a lighter green than the above pics, and some are completely green with no brown edges. They’re huge and randomly hit the house with a loud thug. I’ve seen a few land in the grass today and try to burrow down (I suppose to lay their eggs) but the bottom of my shoe does not let that happen! They are really hampering my mowing, because they randomly fly into me. They freak me out, whether they are non-harmful to humans or not.

    Reply
  6. Born and raised south Central PA and have never seen these until a couple of years ago, swarming in my yard and the neighbor’s. I spend a great deal of time outdoors. I know the brown June bugs and coppery brown and shiny green small Japanese beetles, but these are new to me.

    Reply
  7. Middle Eastern Shore-I don’t recall ever seeing these bugs in the numbers we are experiencing. We planted blackberries and boy are we sorry. We can hardly get a
    decent picking because the beetles are all over them.

    Reply
  8. Middle Eastern Shore-I don’t recall ever seeing these bugs in the numbers we are experiencing. We planted blackberries and boy are we sorry. We can hardly get a
    decent picking because the beetles are all over them.

    Reply
  9. Found one of these dead on my driveway in Highland, Indiana. I have lived in Northwest Indiana most of my life and never have seen one before. At first, I thought it might have been the Emerald Ash Borer, but am relieved yet worried that this is it. Seems that this may be a little far north for these guys!

    Reply
  10. When we were kids, we would tie a piece of sewing thread to rear leg and enjoyed flying them around in circles around our bodies. Spent many hours doing this lots of fun, thank you green june bug. when I married, I moved to North centeral Fla. and my inlaws made fun of me when I caught a green june bug and told them the story of flying them when I was a child. They told me the bug was a dung beatle and rolled up cow patties. I know the bug is a fruit eater. Today I saw these same green bugs enjoying my sega palms in my front yard.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for sharing that childhood memory. We had read other accounts in the past and several years ago, we successfully flew a Figeater in Los Angeles.

      Reply
  11. I have had the same june bug buzz my house every year for the 5-8 yrs, is this possible? he comes around the same time and buzzes the front porch & backyard then disappears until the next yr. he came today I tried to get a picture but he was to quick!

    Reply
  12. Thank you! These are swarming around my yard. We are having a dry summer and at first I thought they were more Cicada Killer Wasps. Glad to know these are just beetles

    In New Buffalo, MI- extreme sw corner of the state.

    Reply
  13. Thank you! These are swarming around my yard. We are having a dry summer and at first I thought they were more Cicada Killer Wasps. Glad to know these are just beetles

    In New Buffalo, MI- extreme sw corner of the state.

    Reply
  14. We have them here in Western PA evidently. I don’t remember ever seeing them before this week. I saw one the other day floating in the pool. Now there are dozens this morning flying all around the back of the house.

    Reply
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