Folks are now hearing the low-pitched buzzing and banging noises of the bumbling junebugs, also called June beetles or even May beetles, as they thump screens at night and bang at outdoor lights.
The bugs look and fly like awkward armored animals, and if one gets indoors it lies on its back on the floor, legs moving like a mechanical toy. There are about 100 North American species of beetles in the junebug group. All are big and bumbly and, like some moths, can’t seem to resist lights in the night.
Junebugs are usually brown and gather around streetlights or other lights in the spring and early summer. The adults feed at night on foliage and flowers. The larvae, known as white grubs, eat the roots of grasses and other plants. White grubs are destructive, damaging pastures, lawns and crops.
The life cycle of a junebug usually requires three years to complete, and there are many obstacles. Birds and mammals, especially skunks, root out the grubs to eat, and the adult beetles are preyed upon by birds, flying squirrels and other animals.
Jim Gilbert’s observations have been part of the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendars since 1977.