Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Tag: clusters of eggs

Green June Beetles: Out-and-About

— by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Green June beetle (Cotinis nitida) adults are actively flying around and “bumping” into people and objects. Adults are 3/4 to 1.0 inches in length, and velvety-green, tinged with yellow-brown coloration (Figure 1).

Fig 1: Close-up of adult green June beetle.

Green stripes with yellow-orange margins extend lengthwise on the front wings. The underside of the body is distinctly shiny and metallic green or gold. Adults fly like “dive bombers” over turfgrass for several weeks in mid-summer. The green June beetle has a one-year life cycle, and overwinters as a mature larva (grub). Adults emerge in late-June and are active during the day, resting at night on plants or in thatch. The adults produce a sound that resembles that of bumble bees.  Adults will feed on ripening fruits (Figure 2) and may occasionally feed on plant leaves.

Fig 2: Adult green June beetle feeding on fruit.
Fig 2: Adult green June beetle feeding on fruit.

The male beetles swarm in the morning, “dive bombing” to-and-fro above the turfgrass searching for females that are located in the turfgrass (they are desperately seeking a mate. Females emit a pheromone that attracts males. Eventually, clusters of beetles will be present on the surface of the soil or turfgrass with several males attempting to mate with a single female (I think this qualifies as an “insect orgy.” Mated females that have survived the experience lay a cluster of 10 to 30 eggs into moist soil that contains an abundance of organic matter. Eggs hatch in about 2 weeks in early August and the young larvae feed near the soil surface. The larvae feed primarily on organic matter including thatch and grass-clippings; preferring soils that are excessive moist. Larvae are 3/8 (early instars) to 1.5 (later instars) inches in length, and exhibit a strange behavioral trait—they crawl on their back (Figure 3) because that they have a constant itch.

Fig 3: Larva (grub) of green June beetle crawling on its back.
Fig 3: Larva (grub) of green June beetle crawling on its back.



–by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

If you haven’t noticed yet, hordes of goldenrod soldier beetle (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus) adults are feeding on goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and other flowering plants such milkweed (Asclepias spp.). Adults are extremely abundant feeding on the flowers of chive (Allium Schoenoprasum), and can also be seen feeding on linden trees (Tilia spp.) when in bloom. In fact, adults may be observed both feeding and mating (occasionally at the same time). The goldenrod soldier beetle is common to both the western and eastern portions of Kansas.

Figure 1 Adult Goldenrod Soldier Beetle.pptx

Adults are about 1/2 inch (12 mm) in length, elongated, and orange in color with two dark bands on the base of the forewings (elytra) and thorax (middle section). They are typically present from August through September. Adult soldier beetles feed on the pollen and nectar of flowers, but they are also predators and may consume small insects such as aphids and caterpillars. Flowers are a great place for the male and female soldier beetles adults to meet, get acquainted, and mate (there is no wasting time here). Soldier beetle adults do not cause any plant damage. Sometimes adults may enter homes; however, they are rarely concern. The best way to deal with adults in the home is to sweep, hand-pick, or vacuum.

Figure 2 Adult Goldenrod Soldier Beetles Mating

Adult females lay clusters of eggs in the soil. Larvae are dark-colored, slender, and covered with small dense hairs or bristles, which gives the larvae a velvety appearance. Larvae reside in the soil where the feed on grasshopper eggs; however, they may emerge from the soil to feed on soft-bodied insects and small caterpillars.

Figure 3 Adult Goldenrod Soldier Beetles Feeding

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