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What Time is it in Nature: Green June Beetle Emergence

July 9, 2012

Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida

The term “June Bug” refers to quite a few different species of beetles in the insect family Scarabaeidae, so it can get confusing. This particular type of June Bug, also known as a Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida), is common in the southeastern United States during the summer. You’ll find them flying around Prairie Ridge starting in June and in abundance starting in July.

Green june beetle

What is a Green June Beetle? Green June Beetles are large, stocky beetles with velvety green shells with bronze-gold markings along the sides. They are metallic bronze-green underneath. Like other scarab beetles, Green June Beetles lay their eggs in the ground and their larvae develop as c-shaped grubs in the soil. After pupating underground, they emerge as adults in the summer and actively fly, feed, and reproduce from June–September.

What do Green June Beetles eat? Green June Beetles are considered pests in some locations because they feed on the fruits and leaves of several trees and shrubs as adults, though they also eat pollen. The larvae can sometimes damage plants as they chew on the roots.

Emergence of Green June Beetles. At Prairie Ridge, the Green June Beetles tend to emerge as adults in large groups. Last week was the start of this emergence and the air was suddenly filled with noisy Green June Beetles! Every shrub had several dozen buzzing about the leaves. This video gives you a good idea of the numbers around just one shrub:

Green June Beetles are common residents at Prairie Ridge at this time of year, so come on out and see them! Look for them flying low to the ground and around the trees and shrubs, or listen for them as they fly by. You can’t miss them!

What Time is it in Nature is a weekly feature highlighting the current plants, animals, and other wildlife at the Musuem’s public outdoor facility, Prairie Ridge Ecostation.  Find out more about the natural happenings at Prairie Ridge at our What Time is it in Nature Archive!

(Photo and video by Chris Goforth)

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