We all know June bugs, those annoying, buzzing beetles that despite centuries of evolution still haven’t quite figured out how to yet. But did you know the term “June bug” actually includes a wide variety of plant-eating beetles, including the infamously damaging Japanese beetle? Regardless of the species you experience in your region, these scarab beetles and their larval grub form can cause serious damage to your lawn & garden—and fast!
Also called May or June beetles, June bugs emerge each year in late spring and typically fade completely away by late summer. However, to successfully control these pests, you’ll need to take action at various points throughout the year, not just summer. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated, doesn’t take that much time, and you don’t have to resort to poisonous pesticides to get the job done. Here’s how to get rid of June bugs naturally
Female June bugs lay eggs in the soil in mid summer and these soon hatch into grubs, which remain just under the surface of the ground through fall. They dig deeper down into your lawn as winter nears and hide out there until they emerge as adult beetles in late spring. Here are some steps you can take to disrupt this life cycle, helping you prevent costly June bug problems before they begin:
- Frequently irrigating your lawn’s turf throughout late June can help discourage females from laying eggs in your yard.
- Throughout June bug season—late spring through summer—avoid cutting your grass too short, aiming for about 3 inches instead. Females prefer to lay their eggs in shorter grass and keeping your turf a little longer can really cut down on the number of eggs that end up in your yard.
- If you garden, make sure to harvest fruits and veggies early and often.
- Lastly, and this is perhaps the most important step to prevent June bug problems, maintain a healthy lawn. If your lawn is host to various other harmful bugs or in otherwise poor condition, it’s going to be far more attractive to June bugs. To protect your yard from damaging pests, apply PCO Choice and Cedar Granules every 4-6 weeks from early March through late October.
A little molasses and hot water can go a long way toward shrinking your June bug population. Mix 1 part of each into an empty jar and position the open container near known June bug attractants like plant life and outdoor lighting. They drop in, drown, end of story. Check the trap daily and replenish as needed.
June bugs are clumsy, fly low, and therefore fairly easy to catch. It might seem silly, but collecting these beetles by hand is a quick and effective approach for helping get a June problem under control.
Just catch any adult beetles you spot on vegetation or buzzing around outside and dump them in a cup of soapy water. June bugs usually won’t put up much of a fight during the process, but wear gloves just in case—several species have thorny spikes on their legs that can irritate skin if you grab them just right.
You know how they say the enemy of your enemy is your friend? Well, snakes, birds, frogs, toads, and lizards are known June bug predators, meaning they double as effective allies in your battle to get rid of them.
Encourage birds by offering baths and feeders, and attract reptiles and amphibians by providing shallow dishes of water and cool, dark places to hide, like an overturned planter for instance. If you tend to struggle with mosquitoes, this approach likely isn’t for you. Adding additional water sources to your lawn is a big no-no when it comes to mosquito control.
The easiest way to prevent June bug problems is to target them in their vulnerable, yet still damaging larval stage, aka grubs. Popular in gardening circles, the microscopic parasitic worms known as beneficial nematodes can help you in this arena. Simply pick some up at your local garden store or online and introduce them into your lawn as directed. For best results, apply them in early fall or mid spring.
Bacillus thuringiensis, like beneficial nematodes, can be introduced into your lawn’s soil to attack June bugs in their grub stage. A bacterium that’s toxic to many undesirable garden pests when ingested, Bt can be picked up a your local garden store and usually comes in either a powder or liquid form. And don’t worry, it’s not toxic to pets or people.
Simply sprinkle or spray Bt throughout your yard or the most affected areas, like your garden. If you tend to experience heavy June Bug problems annually, you might need to reapply every few weeks during fall and early spring.
Tired of seeing hungry bugs ruin your garden year after year? Well, don’t worry, because that’s not going to happen again. Not to you. Not this year. A few simple tips is all that stands between you and a garden free of costly pest damage—and we’re going to show you how to get it done. Read on for 5 easy tips for preventing destructive bugs in your garden.
While it’s tempting to cram as many plants as possible into your garden, doing so can have serious pest ramifications. Without proper circulation and space, your garden becomes even more inviting to hungry insects, as you’re now providing them with shelter, too. This also encourages garden pests to breed and live within your garden rather than simply visiting your plants from time to time to feed.
It can be a headache, especially on the weekends, but watering in the morning is a sure-fire way to decrease garden bug problems. The reasoning is simple, bugs tend to feed in the evening and drier plants are less appetizing to pests than damp ones. Plus, since your plants will have access to plenty of moisture before the day heats up, they’ll be healthier and therefore less prone to disease and pest infestation in general.
Birds, toads, and frogs are ravenous insect-eaters. You can limit your own garden bug populations by inviting these friendly allies into your yard.
Placing a small bowl of water and a toad house near your garden should attract a hungry amphibian or two (just be aware that the water might also invite mosquitoes, so keep close watch). Birds usually don’t need much of an incentive if there are already bugs around. However, if there are no natural shelters like small trees, you might need to add a birdhouse, too.
Having beneficial insects—like praying mantises, ground beetles, and ladybugs—living in your garden will dramatically decrease the number of destructive garden pests you experience.
To attract these allies, try offering a diversity of plant life of various heights that bloom at different times throughout the year. Having trees, shrubs, and turf is also essential, as they offer beneficial insects space to overwinter, allowing them to return year after year. Many beneficial insects feed on pollen and nectar, so you’ll need something that supplies those resources as well, like plants in the aster and carrot families. Other common plants that attract beneficial insects are thyme, oregano, sunflowers, and daisies.
Overripe veggies and fallen fruit are some of the biggest attractants of destructive garden pests. Firstly, they’re an easy source of food. Secondly, overly heavy fruits and veggies can make a plant less healthy, and therefore more prone to bug infestation and disease.
Keeping a close eye and picking any over-sized fruits and veggies you see before they can fall is one of the simplest and most impactful approaches to naturally control common garden pests.
Common garden pests can transform your beautiful, productive garden into a wasteland in only a matter of days. If you’re not mindful of garden bugs, all your hard work, research, and time can go down the drain quickly. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the most destructive garden pests and how to control them naturally:
Small bite marks or jagged holes in your flowers and veggies in early spring? Slime trails? Sounds like you might have slugs or snails.
NATURAL SNAIL & SLUG CONTROL
Make your own snail & slug trap by filling an empty tuna can with beer (yes, they love beer, too) and burying it in your garden, flush with the soil, wherever you’re struggling with slugs or snails. Discard it in the morning and replace as needed.
A natural slug and snail pesticide can be easily made by mixing salt and water in a spray bottle. Go out in the late evening and spray any individuals you spot in or near your garden. As a precaution, rinse your plants with water the following day.
One last tip: Always aim to water your garden in the morning. This way the plants and soil will be drier, and therefore less appetising to slugs and snails, in the evening when both pests prefer to feed.
Caterpillar problems aren’t always easy to identify, but if you notice leaves chewed on the edges and caterpillar waste, which looks like small pepper granules (usually found on leaves), you could have one already.
NATURAL CATERPILLAR CONTROL
Planting oregano and thyme is said to repel caterpillars and help keep populations to a minimum.
Handpicking caterpillars might sound gross but it’s an effective way of getting a serious caterpillar issue under control. Wearing gloves, venture out in the early evening and remove any caterpillars you see on your vegetation. Then, simply drop them in a container of soap water and discard as needed.
Earwig damage (jagged, chomped leaves) is easily confused with other insect infestations, which makes seeing actual earwigs your best bet for making a proper diagnosis.
NATURAL EARWIG CONTROL
You can make your own earwig trap with repurposed newspaper—and it’s super easy. Just moisten a few sheets of newspaper, roll them into a tube, and place them near earwig trouble areas in your garden during the evening.
While they look super scary—large, threatening-looking pinchers included—earwigs rarely cause problems for people. But just in case, wear gloves when collecting the newspapers the following morning. Then, dispose of them in such a way that the critters can’t escape and return to your lawn or garden.
Yellowing misshapen leaves covered with sticky residues are a telltale sign of aphids. Clusters of small green, yellow, white, or black bugs on the underside of leaves and near plant stems is the most obvious symptom.
NATURAL APHID CONTROL
Strong bursts of water are often enough to remove aphids from your garden plants. The next time you’re doing your morning watering, just up the pressure a little bit and you should see a reduction in your aphid population almost immediately.
For larger aphid problems, applying insecticidal soap or a non-toxic, plant-safe insecticide to affected plants every few days should get the issue under control.
Signs of Japanese beetles are fairly obvious. First, you’ll almost certainly spot them flying around as soon as they become an issue. Second, you’ll notice brown, skeletonized leaves throughout your garden.
NATURAL JAPANESE BEETLE CONTROL
When it comes to repelling and killing Japanese beetles naturally, we got you covered. Check out our article on 9 Ways to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Without Harsh Chemicals