The Connection Between June Bugs & Raccoons

| December 11, 2014 | 4 Replies

The connection between June bugs & raccoons is grubs. Something has been digging up my garden since September. I was pretty sure it was a raccoon.

The connection between a June bug and a raccoon - dug up garden

Dug up garden, September

Raccoons are omnivores (they eat food of plant or animal origin), very smart, and take every opportunity to look for food. They dig for grubs, then they wash their muddy hands in available water before they eat. One tipped over my birdbath and left a little muddy water, then defecated a foot away.

The connection between a June bug and a raccoon - birdbath askew

Birdbath askew with muddy water, raccoon scat far right

Watch “Growing Heirloom Tomatoes Part 2” of “Late Bloomer” and you will see that I had a lot of June bugs (aka Figeater beetles) flying around the garden this summer, much more than I’ve ever seen. Cotinis mutabilis, known as the figeater beetle (also green fruit beetle or fig beetle and also Junebug), is a member of the scarab beetle family. – Wikipedia

The connection between a June bug and a raccoon - June bug or Figeater beetle

Figeater beetle or June bug

After I pulled out the tomato vines, I covered the area with a layer of tree stump grindings (this is where I got the wood chips), then moved my cloth pots of peppers into that space. Several days I went out to find pots askew.

The connection between a June bug and a raccoon - pots askew

Pepper pots, some tipped over

Figeaters or June bugs burrow along the sides of raised beds and containers to lay eggs which become huge grubs, and raccoons (also skunks and possum) dig around these to find the larvae hiding right under the surface.

The connection between June bugs & raccoons - June bug or Figeater beetle larva

Larva of a June bug or Figeater beetle

I got tired of the garden being repeatedly dug up. I thought all the grubs had been squished by me or eaten by raccoons, but the foragers kept coming. So I called Jeremy at Animal Capture Wildlife Control, a highly professional, wildlife capture specialist who’s extremely humane and relocates the trapped animals to the Angeles National Forest. They arrived on Monday and set three traps. He discovered raccoon tracks on my back fence, so we knew what to expect.

The connection between June bugs & raccoons - raccoon track

Raccoon track on fence

It is not recommended to remove raccoons yourself. If you trap a mother, depending on the season, it may have babies in a nest and they will die.

The connection between June bugs & raccoons - raccoon in cage

Trapped raccoon, likely female, which will be relocated to the forest

I chose to hire a professional. Jeremy assured me that mothers will be traveling in a pack with their babies in the spring.

The connection between June bugs & raccoons - raccoon face

Don’t be swayed by the sweet face!

Raccoons can be aggressive (males more so than females) when cornered and with long fingers and claws can bite or tear flesh. And they growl like a dog.

The connection between June bugs & raccoons - raccoon claws

Raccoon with claws bared

California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a listing of area wildlife rehabilitation centers, however you must have obtained permission to drop off wildlife. You have to trap and drop off animals yourself. Check your local laws before attempting to capture wild animals.

The connection between June bugs & raccoons is grubs. They will eat plants but grubs are preferable to my peppers and onions. Traps will be left for a few more days. I realize more can come back. This is an urban area, and we have wildlife looking for food and water. Maybe I can have a few months break. In that time, I hope to set up a motion detector water sprinkler. I hear mammals hate to get wet.

Have you had wildlife digging up your garden? How did you solve the problem? Thanks for reading! – Kaye

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Category: Community, Critters

Comments (4)

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  1. Thanks for explaining this, Kaye. I never knew what those grubs turned into! My compost pile is full of them. Once in a while it looks like someone veyr messy tilled my veggie garden at night. It was probably a racoon hunting grubs. It makes sense now!

    • Yes, they turn into gorgeous green beetles (which eat pollen and your figs!) and the grubs do a lot of damage to lawns. The beetles LOVE compost and dive right in to lay eggs. But, the result is they draw raccoons, skunks and possum. Thanks for reading and commenting, Nina! BTW, smaller grubs turn into smaller beetles. There are MANY different beetles of all shapes and sizes and the only way to know for sure is to harbor it in dirt for a winter and see what emerges.

  2. Long ago before I had kids ,I worked in a theme park in upstate NY called Frountier town . I worked in the Indian village in a handmade costume with a herd of deer and 2 pet racoons . Interestingly there were native racoons getting into the garbage cans but they imported a trapped family from Texas abd gave me the kits to tame . It was sweet to relate with them but after a few weeks in this unnatural envirnment one of them became agitated by the smell of a tourists perfume and that was the end of it . Not sure what they did with them. I have had them here at the house in the dead of winter staring at me through the kitchen window hanging off the bird feeder trying to get some food . They have also done some horible things to our growing chickens in the past teaching me lessons in keepinfg the birds secure . I will never forget the sweet times I spent however with those baby racoons :)Sharon

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