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?