Native Green June Beetles on the East Coast

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You may have seen a large Green June Beetle Cotinus nitida flying around or feeding on some soft, fleshy fruit like figs, peaches, and grapes. They are a native insect here on the east coast. The adults are nearly 1 inch long and about half as wide, a fairly large beetle. They appear to be a metallic bronze or emerald in color. I personally didn’t grow up here and while I don’t recommend this, I’ve heard stories of children catching these beetles and tying a thread around their neck and flying them on a leash like walking a dog,

Besides feeding on soft fruit, they will also feed on the leaves of some plants. When they do, they have a tendency to eat the leaf tissue and leave the veins, a process called skeletonizing the leaves. When they aren’t feeding or mating, they can often be found flying low over a turf area. The adults lay eggs deep in the soil where the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on decaying organic matter in the soil.

These beetles can usually be found flying around from late June to early August. Unless you have a fig tree with ripening figs (or other soft overripe fruit), you probably won’t have any problems with this beetle. Just admire the color and size and let it be part of your garden ecosystem.