PEI

June bugs still here — just waiting out the cold weather

Islanders saw plenty of June bugs in hot weather late last week, but when the temperature plummeted, they hid beneath the soil.

'They're smarter than we think'

June bugs are larger than many insects and have sticky spines on their legs — so they don't exactly endear themselves to Islanders. (Shutterstock)

Islanders saw plenty of June bugs in hot weather late last week, but when the temperature plummeted, they hid beneath the soil.

They aren't dead, just waiting for seasonal weather to return, said Christine Noronha, a research scientist at the Charlottetown Research and Development Centre.

And that could be as early as Thursday, when temperatures could reach as high as 20 C.

"They need the heat in order for their muscles to be active, so they can fly. As soon as it gets cold, they become really quiet and they'll hide," Noronha said in an interview on Island Morning.

Research scientist Christine Noronha says sudden changes in the weather can have a major effect on June bugs. 'They need the heat in order for their muscles to be active, so they can fly.' (Submitted by Agriculture Canada)

'They won't be able to fly'

Continued cold weather could impact the bugs significantly, Noronha said.

"Unless they get something to eat, they're going to have to use a lot of their reserves. If they're not active, they can't find food. It does take its toll on their bodies, so they won't be able to fly as much."

Islanders don't exactly feel warm and fuzzy about June bugs. That's largely because of their size and the sticky spines on their legs, Noronha said.

"When they come and land on you, the spines attach to your clothing and they stick to you. I think that's what freaks people out."

Look out for grubs

The June bugs and their larvae, white grubs, can also do significant damage to people's lawns.

The grubs feed on grass and plant roots, and don't eat anything else. They also attract skunks and raccoons who may dig up the lawn to find them.

Noronha suggested buying nematodes naturally occurring soil parasites that seek out and attack white grubs.

The June bugs will likely die out after a few weeks, but the grubs will mature in the ground for three years.

Other insects you may see at this time of year are potato beetles, ants, bees and wasps. Some of these insects were seen in April, a month earlier than usual, because of a particularly warm spell.

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With files from Mitch Cormier

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