Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Is anything in this article factually incorrect? Please submit a comment.

Printer-friendly page


by Jerry Leath Mills, 2006June Beetle, Asheville, North Carolina. Image courtesy of Flickr user Zen Sutherland.

Junebugs, more properly called green June beetles, are common to North Carolina and other southeastern states. The insect emerges in June and July from its larval form into an adult beetle averaging slightly less than an inch in length. A noisy flyer, the junebug is a metallic green with a dusky yellow along its sides. It feeds on pollen, ripening fruits, and a variety of leafy garden and ornamental plants.

Though hated by gardeners and farmers-the larvae are especially destructive of tobacco plants-junebugs were once a source of recreation to North Carolina children, who in bygone days delighted in flying them around on kite strings fastened to the insects' sturdy legs. With several such self-propelled projectiles in flight at the same time, the string-pulling pilots staged aerial dogfights, complete with sound effects worthy of the war movies that inspired their games.


Lorus and Margery Milne, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (1995).

Image Credit:

June Beetle, Asheville, North Carolina. Image courtesy of Flickr user Zen Sutherland. Available from (accessed July 18, 2012).

Additional Resources:

Green June Beetle, NCSU:

June Beetle, Encyclopedia Britannica:



I have beetles flying around my backyard that look exactly like this, but they are almost 2 inches long. Are they the same ones and just having a good year? They love to land on you if you stand still in the yard, and the colors are beautiful!


My daddy taught me how to fly the june bug on black thread. His daddy taught him. I taught my kids. Don't believe parents take the time with their children anymore.

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at