How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
June beetles (sometimes called Junebugs) and May beetles include various species in the family Scarabaeidae. Adult beetles fly into avocado from untilled fields and brushland during late spring or early summer. Adults chew tree foliage at night and when present night-after-night can completely defoliate a large number of young trees in a single grove. During the day, adults hide under litter or burrow into the upper 2 inches of soil, reappearing the following night to resume feeding.
Serica spp. are the most common and widely distributed scarabs in avocado. The adult Serica fimbriata is 0.6 inch long and velvety brown with faintly striated wing covers. Serica alternata and Coenonycha testacea adults are 0.4 inch long and uniformly shiny brown. Adult scarabs are robust beetles, although C. testacea is almost rectangular and is distinctly more narrow than the Serica spp. Scarab larvae are C-shaped, cream colored, soil-dwelling grubs. June beetles have one generation per year.
During spring they sometimes injure young, newly planted trees, typically near uncultivated land away from the coast. Chewing on mature trees with a well-developed canopy is generally of no economic importance.
Determine whether chewing is actually caused by June beetles and not other nocturnal pests, including earwigs, Fuller rose beetles, and snails. Caterpillars and grasshoppers also cause similar damage. June beetles can be detected, and perhaps controlled somewhat in small plantings, by deploying blacklight traps at night during late winter and spring. It may be best to deploy any blacklight traps somewhat away from the young or topworked trees. Placing traps in mature trees near new plantings and along grove edges bordering unmanaged vegetation reduces the risk that traps placed among susceptible hosts might attract adult beetles to those plants.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Avocado