Melolontha melolontha the May bug or cockchafer is not a true bug but a relatively large beetle found more commonly in the south of the UK.
Melolontha melolontha normally appears flying on warm evenings from May to July. Melolontha melolontha is attracted to artificial light and often comes indoors through open windows or even down chimneys. May bugs may cause consternation to those who encounter them but are harmless to humans.
Melolontha melolontha grubs, however, are considered a pest feeding underground on the roots of a wide range of plants and can damage pastures and crops.
Melolontha melolontha showing short feelers on its black head © M Mitschack
Melolontha melolontha is the largest UK species of this group of beetles known as chafers.
Melolontha melolontha is about an inch long, has short feelers on its black head and a hairy body under reddish-brown wing cases. Find out more about the structure of Melolontha melolontha and other species that look like the May bug.
Discover where the May bug is found and the types of habitat it enjoys.
Melolontha melolontha usually only live for around a month. Learn about the lifecycle of this species, from egg to adult.
Adults are active fliers at dusk onwards feeding on leaves after dark and rest on trees during the day. Find out more.
Find out why conserving this species is not currently high on the agenda.
Get reference material for Melolontha melolontha.
Melolontha melolontha is the largest species of chafer beetle in the UK.© J Woods, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melolontha melolontha the May bug or cockchafer© Darkone, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Unported license
Melolontha melolontha showing its black head, hairy body and reddish-brown wing cases.© Darkone, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Unported license
Melolontha melolontha in deciduous woodland.© Aconcagua, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Melolontha melolontha resting on a leave during the day.© Beentree, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Melolontha melolontha showing short feelers on its black head.© M Mitschack
Melolontha melolontha resting on leaf litter during the day.© Sanja, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.