About a week back, our dog Buddy alerted my wife and me to an intruder on our back patio. He was on high alert as he watched this seemingly suicidal, brown-colored, shelled bug buzz crazily around while it banged into the siding, overhang, and outdoor light multiple times.

Deciding to go high-tech in trying to get rid of this thing, I swatted it out of the air with my bug-zapping racket onto the ground, where I picked it up and tossed it into the trash. Buddy sulked away because I wouldn't let him eat it.

Since then, more and more of this bug's family have been showing up (usually with a plus-one), and I want to know why what we call June bugs are showing up while it's still May.

may and june bug on the white surface
Chance are these guys are around your place, too. (Getty Images)

It Turns Out That The Answer To Why Illinois June Bugs Are Already Hanging Around In May Is That June Bugs Are Also Called...Wait For It...May Bugs

Well, how convenient. Thanks a lot, entomologists. They're also called June beetles, or May beetles.

To make these things even harder to properly identify, it turns out that there are about 300 species of beetle. The ones that we're seeing here in Northern Illinois right now are primarily the Phyllophaga species or "leaf eaters."


The Phyllophaga species is often mistaken for cockroaches due to their hard, dark, and shiny bodies. This species is nocturnal and identified by its dark brown exterior, six legs, hairy underbelly, and antennae. Adult June bugs can measure up to an inch and are found in the evenings, flying around light sources or plants.

Another beetle commonly called a June bug or Japanese beetle is the Popillia Japonica species. This species is a slightly smaller June bug variety that measures around half an inch long, has iridescent copper wings and body, and a green head and thorax.

Getty Images
The Japanese beetle. (Getty Images)

Bottom Line: May/June Bugs/Beetles Can Be A Pain In The Butt

And they don't even bite or sting. They're also harmless to your pets. If your dog should eat one or more, the worst you can expect is some digestive discomfort and possible vomiting.

Here's more on what you can do if you've got a bunch of them around your place:

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