Melolontha melolontha


The Cockchafer is a large brown beetle found in parks and gardens, grassland and woodland. Cockchafer larvae live underground for several years as they develop, eating the roots of grasses and other plants. In May and June, the adults emerge from the soil, often swarming around treetops. They can be seen at dusk and in the evenings, and are attracted to street lights and lighted windows. They will also turn up in moth traps, sometimes in large numbers.

How to identify

The Cockchafer is the UK's largest scarab beetle (scarabs include dung beetles and chafers). With its rusty-brown wing cases, pointed 'tail' and fan-like antennae it is unmistakeable. They are clumsy fliers and make a buzzing sound.

Where to find it

Widespread, but rarer in the north.


When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species, so manage many nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. But these precious sites are under threat from development, intensive agricultural practices and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Melolontha melolontha
Length: 3.5cm
Conservation status