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Cockchafer

Cockchafer
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Melolontha melolontha

This familiar beetle has a black thorax, rusty brown elytra (wing cases) and brown legs. It has characteristic antennae that fan out.

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You can often see cockchafers on May evenings buzzing around the garden. As large, noisy insects they can be a little frightening, but are actually harmless to humans. However, they can considerably damage garden plants and crops.

The larvae, also called rookworms, are fat, creamy-white grubs with brown heads. They live in the soil for about three years eating plant roots. They especially like cereal crops and grasses and can do a great deal of damage.

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What does it eat?

Adults chew flowers and leaves. Larvae eat plant roots.

When will I see it?

At night from May to July.

Where will I see it?

Humming loudly around the garden on late spring evenings, often crashing noisily into lit windows. You may see the larvae when digging in the garden. Also in parks and woodland margins.

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