Bad Girl, Good Business

Route 66 Installment #25: Live Underground for 3 Years…Then Die Young

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What is the life expectancy of a June Bug?

I wonder how many people actually Googled that today? Probably not many — other than me.

The results were interesting. This is from the Britannica (which is the encyclopedia I grew up with, so the facts must all be accurate!) It said:

“Each female buries between 50 and 200 small pearl-like eggs in the soil. After three years of feeding on plant roots, the larvae pupate, emerge as adults in late summer, and then bury themselves again for the winter. In the spring the adults emerge once more and feed on available foliage. Adults live less than one year.”

Sounds like a kinda weird life, right? But many people live like those beetles.

They live below the surface, not enjoying the sun until they realize that they don’t have a lot of time left. They may be perfectly happy, chomping on those leaves and roots and squirming around in the dirt.

During the pandemic, many of us reverted to a pupal lifestyle.

I had to look up the word “pupate.” It’s not a term I use every day. And a lot of the definitions included the word “pupa,” which didn’t really help me a ton.

Basically, when an insect pupates it is transformed into a higher level of being (even for an insect). The life expectancy count doesn’t even start until then.

Not to depress you, but even though our human life expectancies are way longer than those of June Bugs, we have limited time on earth. Women will live, on average, to 87 and men to 84.

Let’s Assume I am Above-Average

My plan is to live to at least 100, which is exactly 12,300 days from this writing. (To find out how I calculated that, see the first link below!) But that doesn’t mean I’m going to wait until day #12,299 to start living my life.

To quote one source:

“The pupa is a soft, pale image of the adult it is to become.”

Even in our 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond, we are “becoming.”

Having lost friends and family members shockingly young, I am aware of how brief and random life can be. So, what can you do with all this June bug insight?

  1. Be a beetle, not a pupa.
  2. Make every day (and every hour and minute of every day) count.
  3. Ruminate on where you’ve come from and where you want to go.
  4. Avoid skunks and moles (metaphorically). They love to eat June bugs.
  5. Do whatever you can to extend your adult phase and don’t fear aging.

And, of course, stay tuned for my next installment. I’ll be at the Summer Fancy Food Show, where I’ll be eating stuff other than leaves, figs, and grass.

Random (but perhaps useful) facts about life and bugs:

BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred How to calculate how many days until a specific date
BGGB_ShakingHands Insects as pets? I guess it’s a thing
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred 6 things that impact life expectancy (of humans)
BGGB_Pointer The oldest people in the world




  1. My first response is… “who knew?” It’s funny, had a similar discussion yesterday with bestie. Who is 92.

  2. Love the “below the surface, not enjoying the sun until they realize that they don’t have a lot of time left” takeaway. And so funny that earlier this week I was googling, not the June bug life expectancy, but how many days since I was born and how many days mom had been alive.


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