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Maybug Beetle Andy

Maybug unfolding wings before flight

Male Cochafer showing feathery comb-like antennae

Cockchafer Pupae

  Cockchafer Beetle or Maybug (Melolontha Melontha)

I have often seen Cockchafers swarming around oak trees in large numbers, and even clumsily falling to the ground in pairs when finding a mate. I find many of these in my moth trap as they often fly towards lights, where they can be found resting the following morning. The males have a feathery comb-like antennae which they can close when resting. The adult beetle eats the leaves of oak and other trees. Females lay her batches of eggs in the soil and take up to 3 years to mature, the larvae pupate and hatch around May and June. The full-grown larvae are very large with a strong pair of pinchers to chew roots of plants and can cause crop damage. My father-in-law handed me a bucket with loads of large larvae eating his prize Chrysanthemums roots, and more recently in 2008 larvae caused so much damage to lawns at Winchester Cathedral Close, in Hampshire, near where I live that the lawn was replaced and the large larvae were dug up and left on the earth for the birds to eat. The larvae pupate and hatch around May and June.

 

Full grown Cockchafer larvae take 3 years to mature