Not such a mini-beast...

During a mini-beast hunt with primary schools at Countryside Live near Leeds last week, one of the children found this not-so-mini beast.

This is an adult cockchafer (Melolontha melolonthia for those of you who like Latin!), or May bug, so-called because they are often seen crawling or flying clumsily about during this month. They commonly fly into houses at night, disorientated by the lights.

They average about 3cm in length, which can make them look pretty scary, but they don't bite or sting, preferring to eat leaves! The adults only live for a couple of months, during which time they mate and then the female lays eggs in the soil. The grubs hatch a few months later and live there for 2 years, feeding on plant roots.

In some places in Europe, the numbers of larvae can reach such high numbers that they are a serious agricultural pest. Past methods for dealing with them have included collecting them up and making them into cockchafer soup!!

Has anyone else seen these amazing beetles this year?





laura_stowe's picture

Wow - I don't think I've ever seen a furry beetle before, what a cool little critter!

Mini beast

geraint's picture

Yes have seen a few by the canal in chester cheshire

I've seen two of these so far

simon0278's picture

I've seen two of these so far this year and a couple last year around the same time too.

- Simon, Norwich

I've seen a couple of these

fruqj's picture

I've seen a couple of these this year - but I'd never noticed them before. I think I noticed it particularly this year because one of them was on my bike cover, and then I noticed the other one while I was out because it looked the same as the first one. They do look quite fearsome I agree!

(I'm in Kent, by the way.)


After we got over our fear of

Sarah West's picture

After we got over our fear of them, and had a closer look, we saw how fascinating they are. One child had one on the back of his trousers (unbeknown to him!), and we wanted to take it off without him noticing and getting scared, which was tricky, as they seem to have very sticky legs!