How to Tell the Difference Between Male & Female May Beetles


May beetles, which are also called June beetles or June bugs, grow up to 25 millimeters and are reddish brown with a shiny shell. These beetles fly towards lights in the hot and humid periods of summer. The adult beetles feed on foliage and lay eggs in the early May and June periods. The eggs hatch and feed on grass for a period of time, until they grow to become adult beetles with wings.

  • Determine the location. During the night time, both male and females can be found mating, but, during the day time, females are typically buried 2-5 centimeters in grassy areas so they can begin to lay eggs. Males may be found in leafy areas during the day.

  • Check for eggs. Females lay up to 50 eggs in a day, and these eggs look like tiny white balls. If you see a May beetle lying in the grass near a pile of white balls, then it's most likely a female, which can lay eggs for a few weeks at a time.

  • Examine how attracted to the light the beetle is. This may be difficult to gauge, but males tend to be more attracted to bright lights than females. Some male bugs may fly closer to or hover around light bulbs or street lights more so than females.

  • Observe the beetles during reproduction. May beetles often congregate and reproduce in large groups. During this process, the male beetle mounts the female, at which point you can determine which one is male and female.

Tips & Warnings

  • Because telling the difference is pretty difficult, you may want to snap a photo of the beetle. Afterwards, you can analyze the photo in retrospect. Since beetles come out at night time, it will be difficult to observe them for a long period of time without them flying away into the dark night.


  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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