We have received reports from the Carbondale, Salem, and Effingham areas about green June beetles, Cotinis nitida. These are typically found at least as far north as Peoria. They are stocky, bright green beetles about 3/4-inch long, with a yellow stripe down each side. The underside is a mix of metallic green, yellow, and red. These beetles fly during the sunny parts of the day with what I like to call reckless abandon, commonly flying into peoples’ foreheads and throats as they walk across turf areas. Observations that I have made indicate that these beetles appear to seek out upright objects to fly into.|
Green June beetle larvae look like large white grubs with short legs. They grow to about 1‑1/2-inch-long, white, thick larvae that do not form the typical C-shape of turf-feeding white grubs. When moving on a flat surface, the larva flips over on its back and crawls with the legs sticking up in the air. The larvae feed on dead grass and frequently come out at night to crawl around on their backs. They make 1/2-inch diameter holes through the turf. Frequently, a hundred or so of these holes may be seen under a tree canopy. The larvae do not directly damage turf, but they may cause turf decline by loosening the soil around roots while “grubbing” around for dead grass. In residential areas, the larvae are commonly found in piles of grass clippings.
There is no control for green June beetle adults. Control the larvae by avoiding heavy thatch and by not collecting and not composting grass clippings. Carbaryl, sold as Sevin, and other insecticides applied to turf areas and watered in will also control the grubs.