June bugs are members of the scarab beetle family. For a short time each summer, they invade porch lights, streetlights, and windows all across North America. These pesky bugs spend a lot of time developing underground. Taking in the rich nutrients of the soil, roots thereby become a great source of protein and fat. So then, what eats June bugs?
What Animals Eat June Bugs?
Many animals find June bugs to be a delicious combination and will happily make a meal of the adult June bug. While others will dig for the grubs (larvae). A diverse group of animals eats June bugs. Keep reading for some pictures and interesting facts about these animals.
Scientific Name: Mephitidae
Known for their offensive odor and signature back stripe, skunks are versatile mammals. They can live just about anywhere they have a water source. This is why we see them in forests to sheds all over North America.
Besides June bugs (they will eat the adult bug or a grub), the skunk will eat worms, eggs, moles, and berries. When threatened, this animal will spray a foul-smelling liquid on its anal glands. This liquid can cause skin irritation and temporary blindness!
Skunks are loners but will share a den in cold weather. The lifespan of a skunk in the wild is 1 year. In captivity, they can live up to 10.
Scientific Name: Arthropoda
Spiders have been found in rocks dating as far back as 318 million years. These 8-legged Arthropods are found everywhere in the world from jungles to basements.
Unable to digest solids with their narrow guts, the spiders will use digestive enzymes to liquefy their prey first. Arachnids will eat the adult June bug if it’s unlucky enough to cross its path or get trapped in its web. The spider has abdominal appendages that expel silk from 6 different glands.
Besides the obvious bug catching, spiders are quite useful to humans. Their venom has been used to treat many medical conditions like chronic pain, epilepsy, heart disease, and cancer.
Scientific name: Falconiformes
Hawks are birds of prey that are native to North America. known for swooping in and dining on rabbits, snakes, and frogs, the hawk will gladly snack on a June bug because they don’t have to work to get it. The hawk will simply sit and wait for the unsuspecting snack to fly or land nearby.
This large wing-spanned bird will use their talons( huge claws) to capture prey but use their beaks to kill it. Hawks are among the most intelligent birds and they have superior eyesight ( hence the term “Hawkeye”).
The Hawk prefers an open habitat like a desert or field. This makes it easier for them to hunt. Females lay about 5 eggs at a time. Hawks mate in mid-air and remain with the same partner for life.
Scientific name: Didelphis virginiana
The opossum was first recorded by John Smith (the pilgrim) in 1693, in Jamestown, VA. The word comes from the Algonquian (Powhatan) language meaning “white dog”.
Usually referred to as possums, these tiny-eyed mammals have long snouts and 50 teeth! The opossum is a loner and nomadic. Staying in one place only for as long as there is easily accessible food and water.
When threatened, they will feign death (play possum). Giving the appearance and odor of death. Foaming at the mouth will even occur. The possum does not purposely do this, they just literally pass out.
Opossums eat dead animals, insects, eggs, fruit, and even garbage. They will eat adult June bugs or grubs if they are easy to capture. Great for controlling the tick population, research has shown a 90% decrease in areas with a lot of opossum activity.
Scientific name: Talpidae
Found all over North America, moles are considered pests to many farmers, gardeners, and golf course owners. With their large paws and claws, they are able to dig up to 18 feet in an hour.
Though moles make a mess, they are helpful in that they eat insect larvae (June bugs) that feed on roots, thereby killing plants. Moles will also aerate soil free of charge! Having small eyes that are covered by velvety fur, moles have poor eyesight but a great sense of smell. Poison in their saliva will paralyze insects, making them easy to eat.
Scientific name: Procyon lotor
These mammals are native to North America. Raccoons will vary in size from 16 to 28 inches in length and 11 to 57 pounds. Known for their masked eyes, ringed tails, and claws. Their feet are capable of turning backward, which helps them climb.
Raccoons are some of the smartest mammals. Research has shown they are able to retain a learned skill 3 years after it was introduced. This masked mammal will go after food that’s easy to catch or dig, like worms, June bug grubs, nuts, fruit, and small vertebrates.
Highly adaptable to most environments, the raccoon can live just about anywhere from forests to big cities. Unfortunately, their lifespan in the wild is short, 1 to 3 years.
Scientific name: Anura
With their stout bodies and bug eyes, frogs can be found anywhere from the tropics to the subarctic. While the color is different from species to species (brown, green, red, yellow), these amphibians live on land and in water. Though they do lay their eggs in water. Frog larvae are called tadpoles.
Frogs will eat a variety of insects including flies, crickets, and adult June bugs. The June bug is so abundant in the summer that frogs can just sit and wait for them.
The frog species has been declining since the 1950s. Secretions and chemicals from some frog species have given us treatments for chronic pain, cancer, and HIV. More than 1/3 of the frog species are now endangered. This is usually a sign of environmental trouble.
Scientific name: Serpentes
Snakes are legless, carnivorous, reptiles. These slithering serpents can be as small as 4 inches and as big as 22 feet. Snakes are carnivores and eat lizards, frogs, mice, snails, worms, and insects.
Because of their narrow bodies, the kidneys of the snake are one in front of the other rather than side by side. This reptile also has only one lung.
One particular snake, the Copperhead, is particularly fond of June bugs. In fact, they make up 80% of the snakes’ diet in June and July. The high protein level of the June bug helps the female snake get the much-needed nutrients while pregnant.