May Bug (Melolontha melolontha)
About 30mm in length, the May Bug is often mistaken for a cockroach due to its size and shape. Found throughout the UK they are more common in the south, often seen flying at dusk from May to July. Called the ‘May Bug’ because of the month they normally appear.
The cockchafer has a three year life cycle. After mating the female digs about 20cm into the soil to lay her 10 to 20 eggs. The eggs hatch after 21 days and the larvae remain in the soil for a further two years feeding on roots. The larvae are white with a brown head and are equipped with a strong pair of pincers for chewing through roots. After this 2 year period they are about 5cm long and are ready to pupate in the soil. After pupation, the adult beetles emerge in October, but remain in the soil until the following spring. Although harmless, both adults and more significantly the larvae, can cause damage to plants and crops.
Not considered to be of public health importance. If control of these seasonal pests is needed, it can be achieved by applying a broad-spectrum residual insecticide to entry points around buildings and/or proofing.