Green June Beetle can damage fruits, vegetables

As an adult, the Green June Beetle can cause losses by feeding on ripe apples, peaches, grapes, blackberries and other fruits and vegetables according to Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator with University of Missouri Extension.

Although the adult Green June Beetles can become airborne, they are not known for their swift skills in flight.

“These beetles have poor navigational skills and seem to fly until they hit something,” said McGowan. “But don’t let the lack of flight skill fool you, they can be great eaters and survivors.”

The Greene June Beetle begins as a large annual white grub. In southwest Missouri, a sidekick culprit of the June beetle is the Japanese beetle.

“Both adult insects can cause damage to plants. The Japanese beetle seems to have a larger host of plants, especially ornamentals that are not affected by the Green June beetle,” said McGowan.

In comparison, the Green June beetle is mostly attracted to juicy ripe fruits and vegetables with high sugar content, like corn and tomatoes.

The Green June beetle has a one-year life cycle. Eggs are laid underground in small earthen balls in areas with high levels of decaying organic matter such as grassy areas and grass pastures.

The Green June beetle larvae can also display feeding damage to the root systems of home lawns.

Other grub feeding insects—like the May beetle and Masked Shaffer beetle—may pose greater turf root damage since egg laying is more directed to the turf areas than Green June beetles.

What are specific visual distinctions between the Green June beetle and Japanese beetle?

Most distinguishable is the size difference and color. The Green June beetle is over one-half inch in length with dull velvety green wings and shiny, metallic green heads, legs and undersides.

The Japanese beetle is much smaller. The length is about 3/8 inch with a bronze colored body and metallic green head. The Japanese beetle will have white tufts emerging from the sides under the winged area.

In large numbers, the Greene June Beetles may cause damage to crops like sweet corn, blackberries, peaches and other fruits or vegetables in a garden.

Several general-use insecticides can help control the noisy insect, including Sevin, which discourages feeding. For those who use Sevin, there is a zero-day waiting period between spraying and harvest on sweet corn and a one-day waiting period on peaches.

For more information, contact the Greene County Master Gardener Hotline at 417-874-2963.