Cockchafers spend most of their lives (three to four years) underground as larvae, or grubs. This pygidium often leads people to believe that this species can sting, but do not worry – this beetle cannot sting. The cockchafer is sometimes called a ‘doodle-bug’ or May bug, although it is in fact a beetle. Adult European chafers are tan or brown beetles resembling June beetles and measure approximately 1.5cm in length. The intimidating sharp point at the tip of a cockchafer’s abdomen is not a sting, but a pygidium – used by females to push their eggs deep into the soil. Discover the bioluminescent beetles putting on night-time light shows in Britain. Already have an account with us? Until pesticides started controlling them in the Twentieth Century, cockchafers were a serious agricultural pest. Privacy notice. But Stuart Hine from the Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service (IAS), who is often asked by the public to identify them, confirms that they most certainly don't sting. But Stuart Hine from the Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service (IAS), who is often asked by the public to identify them, confirms that they most certainly don't sting. Dr Grove suggests collecting the cockchafers and putting them outside where a chook or bird would enjoy eating them. Adults are 2.5-3cm long, and are common in the south of England and the Midlands. The name cockchafer means 'big beetle' in Old English.Â, Although one of their common names is the May bug, if climate conditions are right, adult cockchafer beetles are often seen flying in April.Â. Fast Facts. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. The adults eat leaves and flowers. The chubby white grubs attack grass blades from the roots, potentially ruining pristine turf. It is also prone to falling down chimneys. The cockchafer, colloquially called Maybug or doodlebug, is the name given to any of the European beetles of the genus Melolontha, in the family Scarabaeidae. Cockchafers, along with stag beetles, dung beetles, dor beetles and scarabs, have the last three to seven segments of their antennae expanded into flat, plate-like leaves, which sit in a distinctive fan-like arrangement. What do cockchafer beetles look like? The May bug or doodlebug - Latin name Melolontha melolontha – known as the Spang beetle and Billy witch in Suffolk and the chovy, mitchamador, kittywitch or midsummer dor in Norfolk, is actually the Common Cockchafer. Their colour range from light brown/grey to dark brown/black. The figeater beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) is a green-colored beetle that is commonly found in yards, compost heaps, and mulch.Belonging to the beetle family Scarabaeidae, “fig” beetles have a semi-glossy green shell with orange-colored edges.Turning the beetles over, you will notice striking metallic green belly and legs. ', Although they are known as bugs, cockchafers are not true bugs, which belong to another group of insects that includes shield bugs, water bugs, aphids and scale insects.Â. After 3-4 years, they emerge from the ground and mate as beetles. Seen for the first time, an adult cockchafer, or May bug, can cause a bit of a stir and people can be worried by them.Â. Antennae are the olfactory sense organs of insects, and this formation greatly increases the surface area available for the chemosensors. Cockchafer Description This large beetle has ribbed wing cases (elytra) that are reddish-brown in colour, and the head and the pronotum are blackish and covered in short hairs. The common cockchafer, Melolontha melolontha, is a rather large beetle that flies about noisily, emitting a loud whirring noise.It is more commonly known as the May Bug and it gets this nickname as it commonly emerges in early May and is seen frequently during this time. Adult cockchafers are one of the top enquiries to the IAS during May. The larvae feed on dead plant material and the live roots or stems of a broad range of plants including lawns. From as little as £2, you can help us to find new ways to protect nature. They are mostly extinct across the rest of Europe due to the use of super-strength pesticides that are outlawed in the United Kingdom. The cockchafer is about 2.5cm in length and is the largest species of chafer beetle in the UK. We use them to help improve our content, personalise it for you and tailor our digital advertising on third-party platforms. Adults: cockchafer beetles are large and bulky, growing up to 30mm in length. They are short-lived and do not bite or sting. Find out more. A nocturnal predator, this beetle lives in and around decaying matter. The good news is that the beetles, which are a scarab beetle in the dung beetle family, cannot bite. It isn't actually a bug and doesn't only fly in May, but the UK's  largest chafer beetle is easy to spot. When a beetle lands on the ground, the delicate wings tuck safely away under hard wing cases called elytra. Get email updates about our news, science, exhibitions, events, products, services and fundraising activities. It has characteristic fanned antennae, a black body, and brown legs and wingcases. The grubs (sometimes called rookworms as they are prized by corvids) can devastate cereal crops. The good news is that the beetles, which are a scarab beetle in the dung beetle family, cannot bite. They die after 4-6 weeks. Chafer grubs are the larvae of chafer beetles. What do cockchafer beetles look like? Cockchafers have whitish triangles on their sides, hairy bodies, reddish-brown wing cases that meet in the middle and orange fan-like antennae. The cockchafer is sometimes called a ‘doodle-bug’ or May bug, although it is in fact a beetle. There are nearly 20 species of chafer in Britain, most do not cause problems in gardens; The larvae have white bodies, brown heads and three pairs of legs the largest species, the cockchafer or Maybug (Melolontha melolontha) can reach 50mm in length. Cockchafers are also called May bugs because of the time of year when they tend to emerge. The cockchafer is sometimes known as the doodlebug. This cycle means that a lot of may bugs emerge from the ground every 4 years. Large beetles, which are clumsy and make a very loud buzzing sound when flying. Their bodies are hairy and have white cup-shaped markings down each side. Adults: cockchafer beetles are large and bulky, growing up to 30mm in length. During the day it tends to rest among leaf litter or under stones. And those aren’t the only names in use either – mitchamador, billy witch and spang beetle have all been used in different areas in the past. Another common species to look out for is the summer chafer, Amphimallon solstitialis. A cockchafer is a type of large, flying beetle that can be quite noisy. 'They have a segment called the pygidium at the end of their abdomen, which is long and pointed,' Hine said. "In some areas and times, cockchafers were even served as food. The adult beetles have reddish-brown wing cases and a black head with short fan-like antennae. 'It looks vicious but is actually a tool for females to lay eggs into the ground.'. During that time, they look for a mate and fly into the tree tops to feed on leaves. May bugs spend most of their time underground as larvae. Cockchafers, also known as Maybugs, have distinctive, fan-shaped antennae. Insects usually need to sniff out two things – food sources and mates. This is a smaller species that usually emerges at the beginning of June and is common around the date of the summer solstice, 21 June.Â, 'It does pretty much the same thing,' Hine said. Thanks! Museum Coleoptera Curator Beulah Garner said a warm spell will bring them out early. Museum scientists are working hard to understand and fight against the threats facing British wildlife.Â. Adult European chafers are tan or brown beetles resembling June beetles and measure approximately 1.5cm in length. Try 3 issues of BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5! Adult cockchafers only live for about 5 or 6 weeks. By entering your details, you are agreeing to Discover Wildlife terms and conditions and privacy policy. The most recognisable of these in the UK is the Cock Chafer, a large beetle which you’ll see between May and June. To reverse the damage we've done and protect the future, we need the knowledge that comes from scientific discovery. ANSWER: Adult beetles don't cause any significant damage. © Getty. The larvae, sometimes called rookworms, live in the soil and eat the roots of vegetables and grasses. ‘They sometimes mistake chimney stacks for tree tops and occasionally fall down chimneys into open fireplaces,’ Hine said. Cockchafers gather together on top of buildings. Adult Cockchafers are found on and around trees and shrubs in gardens, parks, field hedgerows and woodland margins, feeding on leaves and flowers. They are short-lived and do not bite or sting. Only those grubs found in turf are likely to be chafers damaging lawn roots Other less troublesome species of chafer grubs can also occur in turf and garden borders, such as the cockchafer ( Melolontha melolontha ), summer chafer ( Amphimallon solstitialis ) and brown chafer ( Serica brunnea ). Cockchafer beetle. There are two species of cockchafer found in the UK: the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) which is found in the south of the UK, and the northern cockchafer (Melolontha hippocastani) which is found in northern England, Scotland and Ireland. Find the perfect cockchafer beetles stock photo. Thank you. But if we don't look after nature, nature can't look after us. Cockchafers gather together on top of buildings. The common cockchafer is the UK's largest scarab beetle (scarabs include dung beetles and chafers). You can unsubscribe at any time. Males have seven ‘feathers’ to each antennae while females have six. Find out about the plants and animals that make the UK home. With its rusty-brown wing cases, pointed 'tail' and fan-like antennae it is unmistakeable. Hence their nickname, the June Bug. The beetles themselves don’t cause any damage at all to your lawn. Our expert guide to cockchafers explains how to identify this fascinating beetle, plus facts about their diet and habitat. True bugs that can fly have wings that usually overlap when folded, instead of meeting in a mid-line as cockchafer wings do. 'Then after dark, they are attracted to light and can get caught in lamp shades. The antennal club of the male cockchafer has seven lamellae which are about 3.5mm long; in the female it is 6-segmented and about 1.5mm in length. It has characteristic antennae that fan out. In 1574, cockchafers emerged in such numbers in the Severn valley that the volume of carcasses disabled watermills. Cockchafers, Melolontha melolontha, are relatively large beetles belonging to the scarab family. The grubs are white and C-shaped with six legs and reddish-brown heads.Â. It has characteristic fanned antennae, a black body, and brown legs and wingcases. Amazing encounter with an Enormous Flying Cockchafer Beetle These are called grubs. Seen for the first time, an adult cockchafer, or May bug, can cause a bit of a stir and people can be worried by them. The cockchafer may have got its most common name from a mixture of "cock" as in familiar, such as "cock-sparrow", and "chafer" from "cefer" or "kaefer", a gnawing beetle… Male and female cockchafers may use some subtle chemical signal from decay, or particular roots, to co-ordinate a rendezvous, but the fact that males have seven club segments and females only six suggests that males also respond to female pheromone scents. Their grubs are even more dangerous. Cockchafers have caused their fair share of historical surprises, in 1320, an Avignon court sentenced cockchafers to exile in a special reserve – the beetles did not comply. Figeaters are the most widespread beetle in their subgroup. These are all common names for the juvenile stage of a lawn beetle that feeds on the lawn roots. A cockchafer is a type of large, flying beetle that can be quite noisy. Curl grubs are the larvae of different species of beetle including the African Black Beetle, the blackheaded pasture cockchafer, Christmas beetles and Scarab beetles. Because of the buzz of its flight, this nickname was used for Germany’s V-1 flying bomb in World War II. ANSWER: Adult beetles don't cause any significant damage. In dung beetles, male and female antennae are very similar, suggesting that both are attracted to faecal odours, so can locate a mate at a pat. You must be over the age of 13. Bug bite pictures can be purchased at bookstores via medical books pertaining to bug bites or dermatological issues. This handsome chap is the Common cockchafer, also referred to as the May bug, the Spang beetle or the Billy witch. We are closed until further notice. For many, the Museum is a place that inspires learning, gives purpose and provides hope. They fly at dusk on warm evenings, making a noisy hum, and are attracted to light. Now we're wondering if you can help us. Â, Every year, more people are reading our articles to learn about the challenges facing the natural world. Other than being a nuisance, the beetles are not harmful. These are not to be mixed up with the “witchetty grub”. © The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London, Discover the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity. No matter the size, every gift to the Museum is critical to our 300 scientists' work in understanding and protecting the natural world. Â. Most specimens are chestnut brown but for the head, pronotum and scutellum which are darker. The common cockchafer differs from similar chafer species by having a pointed pygidium, which is a segment at the end of their abdomen. Beetles have heavy body armor, so they often fly more slowly than other insects. In autumn they seek somewhere to hibernate. A 19th century recipe from France for cockchafer soup reads: "roast one pound of cockchafers without wings and legs in sizzling butter, then cook them in a chicken soup, add some veal liver and serve with chives on a toast". The animals and plants that make our island unique are facing a fight to survive. Hedgehog habitats are disappearing, porpoises are choking on plastic and ancient woodlands are being paved over.Â. Understanding and protecting life on our planet is the greatest scientific challenge of our age. Large beetles, which are clumsy and make a very loud buzzing sound when flying. This familiar beetle has a black thorax, rusty brown elytra (wing cases) and brown legs. You can often see cockchafers on May evenings buzzing around the garden, which is why they are often known as the 'May bug'. Mostly affect flats and high rise buildings. ', ... or that it helped you learn something new. Common chafer on green grass. Mostly affect flats and high rise buildings. Cockchafer guide: how to identify and where to see, Stag beetle guide: how to identify, and how to help them in your garden, Best plants to grow for pollinators in your wildlife garden, Volunteer interview: Running a beetle recording scheme, A Vulture Landscape – 12 months in Extremadura, Garden butterflies to spot in March and April. Cockchafers make an irritating buzz when flying, and the gigantic beetles are known for casusing irreparable damage to gardens and biting humans. Discover some standout British beetles, including a particularly vibrant ladybird and a rare rainbow-coloured leaf beetle. 'We would usually expect to get 100 or more calls from people wanting to know what this peculiar creature is,' said Hine. Cockchafer beetles used to be common across Europe, but were almost wiped out by pesticides during the 20th century. They can be larger than the adults, growing to up to 4cm and are a food source for owls and bats. Blackheaded cockchafer beetles invade Tasmanian homes after hot, wet weather. These small and slender members of the beetle family are a common pest usually associated with roses, but they do eat other types of plants as well. These pests will feed on your lawns root system and will be a serious problem. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Males have seven ‘feathers’ to each antennae while females have six. No need to register, buy now! Despite the mounting pressures, hope is not lost. Cockchafer Beetle Maybug melolantha melolantha Irish beetles Ireland Irish UK Europe hairy elytra chitin insect macro photograph European beetle. We use cookies to make your online experience sweeter. The cockchafer, colloquially called May bug or doodlebug, a European beetle … 'It flies around tree tops, nibbles leaves as adults and eats roots below ground as a larva. Their undersides are covered with fine white hairs. Rose Chafer larvae are equally adept at destroying plant life, including grass. At first glance you could mistake it for an earwig. The Year of the May Bug. 'They have a segment called the pygidium at the end of their abdomen, which is long and pointed,' Hine said. A chemist who collects insects as a pastime has spotted what generations of British entomologists have missed: a native British beetle, living in ancient Scottish pine forests. Cockchafers tend to live between four to five weeks. Chafer grubs, dung beetles and stag beetles all have similar looking grubs. These beetles usually appear around late April – early May and can frequently be seen and heard flying into lit windows and even lamps indoors! The bumbling brown beetles which swarm through the dusk of late May evenings and bang against lighted window panes have several names – cockchafers, May bugs or June bugs. Females lay their eggs in the soil, and these hatch into carnivorous larvae. People tell us they 'still get shivers walking through the front door', and thank us for inspiring the next generation of scientists. Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. It is a clumsy flier and makes a buzzing sound. If more than 5-10 grubs are found per section, chafer control is recommended. Cockchafers are 15mm to 20mm long. The life cycle of the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) has the following stages: egg, three larval instars, a pupal instar and the adult beetle.The adult beetle is 25 to 30 mm long, with a dark head, black pronotum covered with short hairs, and reddish brown elytra with four longitudinal ribs each. Scarab beetles (including the chafers and dung beetles) have characteristic antennae in which the final segments have fan-like extensions. https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs/bug-directory/common-cockchafer We must act on scientific evidence, we must act together, and we must act now. That said, the problems caused in lawns are most commonly caused by the Garden Chafer and the Welsh Chafer. One of Britain’s bulkiest beetles, the 3-cm-long cockchafer can be heard and seen buzzing and bumping against light fittings and window panes (more commonly in the south) from late April to July. The largest and most conspicuous of the almost 90 species of scarabs found in the British Isles is the Cockchafer (or May-Bug). Their undersides are covered with fine white hairs. If more than 5-10 grubs are found per section, chafer control is recommended. Despite their clumsiness, these winged beetles are destructive, for they find their food by stripping foliage from trees. Our future depends on nature, but we are not doing enough to protect our life support system. Â, British wildlife is under threat. Dangerous pest in the garden. Grubs eat the roots of a variety of plants and in large numbers can become pests damaging pastures and crops. Adult cockchafers are associated with deciduous woodland where they feed on tree leaves. And you can help. Â, We are a charity and we rely on your support. Root feeding grubs include; white curl grub, scarab beetle larvae, lawn beetle larvae or cockchafer. The May bug or doodlebug - Latin name Melolontha melolontha – known as the Spang beetle and Billy witch in Suffolk and the chovy, mitchamador, kittywitch or midsummer dor in Norfolk, is actually the Common Cockchafer. Main image: Cockchafers distinctive antennae sit in a distinctive fan-like arrangement. The Devil’s coach horse is a long, black beetle with short elytra (wing cases). She said, 'They've certainly been seen in April this year around the country.'. Including lawns: cockchafers distinctive antennae sit in a mid-line as cockchafer do! Them outside where a chook or bird would enjoy eating them the.... Bird would enjoy eating them a chook or bird would enjoy eating them are... 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