May Beetles

Q: Every August, I hear a distinct buzzing sound when I go outside in the early morning. It sounds like bees of some sort, from the air above me. What could these critters be?

A: I think the buzzing comes from May beetles, Phyllophaga spp., feeding in the trees. You’re probably familiar with the C-shaped white grubs that live in soil and attack grass roots in early summer. These grubs come from several species of beetle, including Japanese beetle. Different species emerge from the soil at different times, and May beetles, despite their name, emerge in August. Take a strong flashlight with you and see if you can spot them feeding on leaves of oak, hickory, poplar and crabapple. Grub control details at

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