Photo by Melody

Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis)

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Order: Coleoptera (ko-lee-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Scarabaeidae
Genus: Cotinis
Species: mutabilis

Profile:

4 positives
6 neutrals
2 negatives

Regional...

This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama
Chino Valley, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Deer, Arkansas
Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Canoga Park, California
Ceres, California
Chatsworth, California (2 reports)
Culver City, California
Highgrove, California
Imperial Beach, California
Irvine, California
Laguna Hills, California
Long Beach, California
Los Angeles, California (2 reports)
Lucerne Valley, California
Mission Viejo, California
Moreno Valley, California
Reseda, California
Sacramento, California
San Jose, California (2 reports)
Santa Ana, California
Sun City, California
Torrance, California
Valley Village, California
Woodland Hills, California (2 reports)
Yorba Linda, California
Yucca Valley, California
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Tularosa, New Mexico
Gastonia, North Carolina
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
Santee, South Carolina
Elizabethton, Tennessee
Speedwell, Tennessee
Midlothian, Texas

By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #2 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by palmbob

By angele

Thumbnail #3 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by angele

By cherryrodeo

Thumbnail #4 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by cherryrodeo

By Ravens444

Thumbnail #5 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by Ravens444

By Xenomorf

Thumbnail #6 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf

Thumbnail #7 of Green June Beetle, Fig Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) by Xenomorf

There are a total of 12 photos.
Click here to view them all!

Member Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive Xenomorf On Jul 25, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ
(Zone 9b) wrote:

With it's deep vibrant geen color, this has been one of my favorite beetles.

Neutral palmbob On Jul 31, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA
(Zone 8b) wrote:

I would put this as a positive praise for this beetle since it is so beautiful, but not sure how destructive it is. I don't have fig trees, yet there are lot of these living in my little garden. Are they hurting anything? They dig a hole in a planter, and I'm sure there eventually is a huge grub down there (sometimes get dug up when a new plant is added), but how desctructive is that grub? When I had figs at my last house, these were menaces as they ate tons of figs. But I have to say I still loved seeing their vibrant colors, and the low, loud hum of their flight was a thrill to encounter (a bit scary at first, like a gigantic bee flying by). Seem to harmless to people as I have captured many to look at them and they seem to be incapable of biting. In my current garden, loaded with black widows, these seem like the ultimate meal for them, though usually too strong to get captured in their webs.

Positive wormlady72 On Sep 13, 2007, wormlady72 from Sacramento, CA wrote:

I loved these beetles when I was a child. My brothers and I would catch them, tie a thread to one leg, and let them fly in circles above us! The humming sound was fantastic! They seemed none the worse for wear...That was in Garden Grove CA. Back then we called them Japanese beetles. Any idea why?

Negative jungeoma On Jul 9, 2008, jungeoma from Tularosa, NM
(Zone 7b) wrote:

The Fig Beetle is a very destructive insect to anyone in the South-West with fruit trees. It will devour Peaches, Plums, Figs and any soft-skinned fruit that ripens after it's emergence. A large number of them will cluster on the fruit and ruin it for sale. Their feeding behaviour is very much like that of Japanese Beetles.
AC

Negative fiberholic On Aug 6, 2008, fiberholic from Saint David, AZ
(Zone 8a) wrote:

They will also devour an ear of corn in minutes. Very destructive. Fortunately for me I finally have chickens near my garden and they love the beetles so they are getting the population under control.

Neutral DracoVolans On Feb 17, 2010, DracoVolans from Crestline, CA
(Zone 8b) wrote:

I see from some of the other comments that these gorgeous beetles are considered destructive, which is a pity, since I plan on growing fig trees, if I get a chance. Whenever it rains here, one or two get caught in the drain-spouts and drown, the poor things. I'd thought these were similar to the Tiger Beetles (another iridescent green species, but a predatory one), but did some digging around and found these lovely little bugs. :)

I hope I can keep them from eating too many of the figs when I do happen to grow some!

Positive Pam3000 On Sep 7, 2010, Pam3000 from Chatsworth, CA wrote:

I recently moved, but my previous home had a gorgeous fig tree in my backyard. It produced literally hundreds of figs each year, as well as hundreds of these beautiful beetles. I found the best way to keep the beetles from eating the figs is to pick the fruit at the moment of ripeness. The longer the figs are allowed to hang on the tree, the more likely they will become dinner for our little green friends. It's a daily process that requires a bit of work, but last year I had more figs than I knew what to do with (and I did leave a few on the tree for the beetles). Cats also love these bugs for obvious reasons. During the entire fig season, the neighborhood feral kitties managed to mangle a handful or two, but there were always plenty left to rebuild the population next year. Although I don't have access to the fig tree anymore, the cats (who I feed in my yard) have brought over a few beetles to play with. So far, I've only been able to save one from total destruction. He (or she) lost half of its hard wing cover and softer flight wing underneath, so I'm keeping it in an insectarium. Due to its injury, I've named it Wingo, and believe it or not, fig beetles actually make delightful and interesting pets!
By the way, according the San Diego Natural History Museum's website (http://www.sdnhm.org/fieldguide/inverts/coti-mut.html), the Cotinis mutabilis (Fig Beetle) causes little economic damage and is not controlled in California. It can eat overripe or bird-damaged figs, peaches, and grapes, but its weak mouthparts are ineffective in ripping open most other plant material. Native plants, including plant pollen and cactus fruit, are rarely damaged initially by the beetles; they usually are found taking advantage of damage done by other insects.

Neutral femluc On Dec 7, 2010, femluc from Elizabethton, TN
(Zone 6b) wrote:

We have these in Northeast Tennessee also. I am not sure if it is the same beetle that devours my husband's prized roses, but they are a nuisance at best. They fly around in circles hovering the ground, making it difficult to do yardwork or mow without running over them. They drove my dogs nuts just by their very presence! If they are invasive to the rose bushes, I would declare them a definite negative, otherwise, just neutral.

Neutral bunny007 On Aug 15, 2011, bunny007 from Galt, CA wrote:

I live in Sacramento County and a couple of these beetles landed in my backyard. I was surprised because this is the first time I had ever seen the green beetle and was not even sure what kind of insect it was. Just wondered if anyone else has seen them in this area.

Positive Friendulum On Aug 30, 2011, Friendulum from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Figeater Beetles are HARDLY a pest! The ones that frequent my fig trees here in Culver City only eat fruit that's already been damaged by birds. Harmless to people, they buzz around loudly like little helicopters, and with their spectacularly metallic green colors, I think they're downright cute. I've never seen more than two or three at a time and they're always welcome in my backyard, where my two fig trees always have more than enough overripe fruit to go around for both the birds and these charmingly goofy little guys.

Neutral jstryder On Aug 4, 2013, jstryder from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

From Los Angeles - we have numerous fig trees, grapes, citrus, guava, plums and other fruits crowded into a postage-stamp lot. There's always a few of the green figeater beetles around -- I thought they were the Green June Beetle but apparently that is the variety found in the Eastern US only. Never noticed these bugs damaging the figs or other fruits -- birds do far more damage. However, our vine produced a heavy crop this year. Once ripe, a swarm of these beetles flew in and damaged most of the crop. They quickly reduced juicy bunches of sweet grapes to smelly, rotten carcasses of drained husks. Hand picking the bugs is fairly easy and might have been effective if we had started doing it earlier.

Neutral catlady4 On Aug 10, 2014, catlady4 wrote:

I found a beetle on my doorstep this morning. It was so unusual, I had to get a photo. When I picked it up, it was still alive but barely moving. I went into the house to get my iphone and macro lens, but when I came back to the bug, it was gone. I figured it must be a type that flies around with reckless abandon, hit the side of the house which knocked him silly and to the ground, and then he flew off once he recovered.

We are in the Low Country of South Carolina. There are lots of fig trees here in neighbors' yards. Hence the beetles are here. First time in 23 years of living in SC that I have encountered one of these. I'm really sorry I missed the photograph. I'll have to go check out the fig trees more closely.


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