Monday, June 2, 2008

"J" is for Junebug

Ah, June. Glorious time of year. The days are getting longer and warmer; the soft twilight is full of insect song and the perfume of flowers. I love to sit on my porch and watch the day change to darkness. The swallows grab a last beak full of bugs and head for their roosts in the rock wall. The owls start a chorus of questions from the stand of trees across the road and the bats flit about after the moths and mosquitoes. *contented sigh* All is right with the world.

Until the beetles come out.

Junebugs, aka May Beetles, aka Green June Beetles (real creative naming going on with these guys) are indigenous to North America. They start life as underground larvae and stay underground, rising each spring to the root system of your lawn or crops where they will feed. Come the fall they burrow deeper into the earth and over-winter. This is a 3-year cycle. When the larvae reach their third spring, they will have pupated into the beetles we recognize. The beetle is a bit shorter than 1 inch in length and encased in a hard brown, black, or dark green shell. It is a true beetle and capable of flight. Although nocturnal, the male junebugs in particular are drawn to light. They swarm my porch lights, ricocheting from the ceiling, falling on my head, on my book, in my drink. *ick* As adults, Junebugs do not cause near the damage to plants that they cause in the larval stage. As adults, they are merely annoying. This stage of their life will be brief as they have only emerged from the ground to feed, and mate and die.

Maybe if I keep my porch lights off, they can get on with their evening activities and I can get on with mine.

Junebug photograph provided by Jim Occi

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