top of page

Bug Out Over Beetles This Summer

Whether you know it or not, your summer is filled with beetles. Before you feel grossed out, think of some of your favorite bugs from this summer. Did ladybugs or fireflies make the list? How about June bugs? Surprise, they’re all beetles!

A June bug on a leaf.
A June bug is a type of beetle. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Insects make up the largest group of animals worldwide. Beetles, or Coleoptera, make up the largest order of insects. It’s no wonder they play a large role in summertime experiences. Beetles have a huge range of sizes, colors and impacts on our world.

Fireflies lighting up the night.
Fireflies lighting up the night. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Zook)

Fireflies begin to light up the night sky in June. There are more than 20 different species in Illinois. They are relatively small, growing up to 1 inch long. They typically have black and red on their wings with a glowing abdomen below. Their larvae have big appetites and will eat anything from a snail to a worm. Adults will eat nectar, pollen and sometimes other fireflies. They are gentle and easy to catch, making them one of the most memorable beetles of summer.

A lady beetle eating an aphid.
A lady beetle eating an aphid. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Lady beetles, commonly known as ladybugs, come in large numbers too and are active all summer long. There are native and non-native species that live in Will County. We usually think of them as red, but they range from tan to orange to even pink! Even the number of spots can be different. Both their larvae and adults love to eat aphids, an even smaller insect. That’s great news because aphids are a common pest for both flower and vegetable gardens.

June bugs, like fireflies, are active at night. While they may surprise you by landing on your arm, they won’t bite and really just need a place to rest. They are in the scarab family, though they are not nearly as fancy as their Egyptian cousins. They are a rusty brown color and grow up to an inch long. The adults love to munch on leaves. For just that reason, gardeners are often not as fond of June bugs as they are of lady beetles.

Before fall arrives, see if you can find one of your favorite summertime beetles in your yard. You might just be surprised by how many beetles you already know and love.

____________ Follow Willy's Wilderness on Facebook for more kid-friendly nature stories and activities.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page