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May Bug or June Bug?

Thursday 12th May 2011

These beetles are now bumping and buzzing against windows in the middle of the night, worldwide.

Thanks to Bob Ward for his photograph of the Melolontha melolontha.

Thanks to Bob Ward for his photograph of the Melolontha melolontha.

Recently, because of the drought and very warm temperatures not typical for Norfolk, this time of year, I had one of my bedroom windows flung wide open and the insect screen in place.  Soon there was a bumping against the window and screen – I had a look – and there it was: a May Bug, trying its upmost to get into my room. The beetle was persistant but I didn’t think, with the screen in place, that he / she would get inside, but somehow it managed it.

Soon it was flying the width and breadth of my small room. It looked impressive, its outstretched wings making it appear much larger than the creature really was. It perched on a curtain rail – and then on an ornament, where I gently caught it in a glass.

Under the desklight I had a good look at him / her. Of course I’d seen them before, may bugs are plentiful this time of year, usually seen as an irritation as they clumsily fly about. But, right up close, I was quite impressed: he was earthy coloured, the main body part immitating the texture and colour of an acorn I thought, whilst his head was black. His antenae largish feathery combs.

For the past couple of days, he’s been living with the other inhabitants in the Bella Abode. I will try to photograph him.


~~~ Photos to follow! ~~~

I found another may beetle soon after, it seemed weak, hiding itself in a seedling tray outside.  I brought it indoors and put it with the other cock chafer, and fed it beetle jelly.  It survived 3 days; now both of them are dead.  I don’t think these beetles live for long.    I haven’t seen anymore outside in the garden, not as many as last year, so reading on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust site that their numbers are declining then made sense 😦

The decline of this beetle may be due to modern farm machinery killing the larvae during soil cultivation. Cockchafers are an important prey item for larger bat species and further declines in this and other large beetle species could be detrimental to bats.

– Norfolk Wildlife Trust


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