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Common Cockchafer

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A common nocturnal beetle of the scarabidaea family known to be a significant pest of plants, especially trees.


Common Cockchafer: the May bug

Post date: Friday, 22 May, 2015 - 00:00
The common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) is also known as the May bug for good reason. As soon as we get to the middle of May each year my moth trap fills up with these little beasts. They are probably far more common than you realise as they are seldom seen. Occasionally one might fly in to a window with bit of thud or, if you have a window open, they might actually end up indoors as, like moths, they are certainly attracted to light.
They are not the most beautiful of creatures and although I like insects in general I find them quite unpleasant and I find it difficult to find anything to like about them; I am not sure why! I collect all those that end up in the moth trap (often 20 or so), put them in a box and take them a long way from the garden and deposit them. Their larvae are big, white 'slug' like creatures that do an enormous amount of damage to the roots of plants, especially trees, so we reckon the fewer we have in our garden the better! In the mid twentieth century they were severely affected by pesticides but in recent times their population levels seem to be increasing again.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Common Cockchafer
Scientific Name Melolontha melolontha
Interest Level
Species Family Chafers
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes