If you watch, then in late April-early May you can see that medium-sized beetles gradually crawl out of the ground and quickly take off into the air. This insect is called the cockchafer. This is the most famous pest that causes great damage to the agricultural sphere of human life. Despite this, the cockchafer is a rather interesting animal with its own habits and way of life.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Maybug

Photo: Maybug

The beetle is a fairly large insect. Some representatives of his genus reach thirty millimeters in length, have a characteristic wide body, black or red-brown body color. May beetles are also called cockchafers, and in Latin they are called Melolontha. These insects are included in the order Coleoptera, are part of the huge family of lamellar. Maybugs founded their eponymous genus.

Video: Maybug

The population of Khrushchev at different times experienced great leaps. There were both falls and rises in the number of pests. The highest population was in the fifties. Then the beetles caused great damage to agricultural land and gardens. For this reason, farmers began to actively use pesticides to cultivate their lands. First, this significantly reduced the number of pests, then completely exterminated them. It was only after the 1980s that the use of certain types of pesticides was prohibited to restore the high level of its population.

The cockchafers are amazing creatures. They have such an unusual quality as purposefulness. The insect will fly towards its intended target no matter what.

The genus of May beetles is quite large. It has twenty-four species. These are Melolontha aceris, Melolontha afflicta, Melolontha anita and many others. Nine of the species inhabit the territory of modern Russia. In many ways, the behavior and abilities of such beetles are similar to the behavior of ordinary wasps, honey bees. These insects also know how to memorize the area, to navigate it perfectly. But a significant difference from bees and wasps is the damage caused by beetles.

Appearance and features

Photo: Insect cockchafer

Photo: Insect cockchafer

Beetles are large insects. The length of their body ranges from seventeen to thirty-one millimeters. The body of the animal is wide, has an oval shape, sometimes slightly elongated. The body color is usually brown-red, black. Elytra follow the shape of the body, have five narrow ribs. They can be strong or weak, depending on the species.

The color of the elytra varies: red-brown, yellow-brown, with a greenish tint. Beetles have a pygidium. It is quite large, has a triangular shape (less often – blunt). At the end, the pygidium is extended into a process. In males, the process is more pronounced, long, in females it is short.

The pygidium is never covered by wings. The trunk consists of three sections: abdomen, chest, head. The abdomen is fixedly connected to the chest, it is divided into eight segments. The chest of the beetle is covered with thick, long hairs of a yellow tint. The abdomen is also covered with dense hairs, tightly fitting to the body. However, in addition to them, long hairs protrude from the abdomen. The legs of the animal are also covered with hairs, the fore tibiae have two or three teeth.

May bugs fly very well. And this despite all the laws of aerodynamics. From a scientific point of view, these insects have a very small lift coefficient in order to fly. However, the cockchafer can travel about twenty kilometers through the air in just one day.

The body of the cockchafer is very strong. It has two pairs of wings and well-developed legs. In total, the Khrushchev has three pairs of legs. With their help, the beetle reliably clings to trees, plants, branches. They also help dig deep holes in the soil. The cockchafer's mouth is gnawing.

Where does the cockchafer live?

Photo: Maybug animal

Photo: Maybug

Habitat of Maybugs quite wide, covering many continents.

It includes the following countries, zones:

  • Europe, Ukraine, Russia;
  • Central Asia, the Caucasus ;
  • USA, northern Iran, India;
  • China, Tibet, Japan;
  • Philippines, Indochina.

Of the twenty-three varieties, most of the species live in the Palearctic zone. Only six species inhabit the zones of South and East Asia, the Indomalayan zone, the islands that are located between Australia and Asia. A fairly large number of species of Khrushchev are found on the territory of the Russian Federation, the CIS countries. Nine species live there: Melolontha hippocastani, Melolontha clypeata, Melolontha kraatzi, Melolontha aceris, Melolontha melolontha, Melolontha permira, Melolontha afflicta, Melolontha pectoralis, Melolontha gussakovskii. danger. In this territory, they have no natural enemies that allow them to control the population of these insects. The Maybug can multiply quickly and destroy all agricultural, garden land on the mainland.

May beetles lay their eggs with future offspring in the soil, so when choosing a habitat, insects pay attention to the ground. These insects never settle in areas dominated by clay soil. It is simply impossible to dig a suitable tunnel in it. Sandy, sandy soil is suitable for beetles. They live near forests, in river valleys. Also, when choosing a territory, the availability of food nearby and the temperate climate play a huge role.

What does the cockchafer eat?

Photo: Maybug Arthropod

Photo: Maybug

May bugs are the most famous pests. These are insects that pose a double threat to the grounds. They harm both in adult form and even at the larval stage. Such beetles appear right during the period of active bud break, flowering trees. They manage to cause great harm to young plants. Adult beetles have a fairly simple diet. It includes only the leaves of shrubs and trees. They prefer willow, linden, oak, birch, cherry, maple, plum, pear, and many other fruit trees.

To eat food, adult beetles use their powerful mouthparts. It consists of two jaws that can deftly crush the leaves and even the bark of young trees. In search of food, the May beetle can fly about twenty kilometers daily. At the same time, he is able to develop good speed for a relatively small insect.

During their flights, the beetle in Russia, Europe, and the CIS countries can destroy entire forests and gardens. However, this destructive effect does not last long. The beetles fly for no more than forty days.

Despite the enormous harm brought by adult beetles, the most dangerous beetles are at the larval stage. They have an excellent appetite.

The diet of the larvae includes:

  • strawberry roots;
  • roots of a wide variety of vegetables;
  • fruit tree roots;
  • potatoes;
  • corn roots;
  • roots of larch, spruce, pine, cedar, birch;
  • lawn grass roots.

The larvae that are more mature have the greatest appetite. There is evidence that one larva, which is at least three years old, can completely eat the roots of a pine tree in just one day.

Character and Lifestyle Features

Photo: Large Maybug

Photo: Large Maybug

Khrushchev are disciplined animals that lead an orderly life. Almost every species has its own year of mass summer. And this routine rarely changes. So, beetles Nigripes exercise years once every four years. It's about mass summer. That is, between these four years, representatives of Nigripes can be found in small numbers.

The main occupation of May beetles is the search for food. It is this business that these insects are engaged in immediately after their birth. Adults fly to search for leaves, larvae absorb the root system of trees, plants underground. This is how almost the entire life of an insect goes.

May beetles are very purposeful. But there is a factor that leads them out of the usual rhythm of life. Slightly suspend the activity of the beetle can only be blue. Therefore, in clear weather, the animal does not show its activity.

May Khrushchev is a real disaster for agriculture. Periodically, people carried out mass destruction of beetles when their population exceeded the allowable limits. So, in 1968 in Saxony, more than fifteen million beetles were destroyed at a time. If today we allow an increase in the number of beetles to such a figure, then a global catastrophe will occur in the agricultural industry.

The character of the May beetle is peaceful. This insect tries to avoid human society. It is very purposeful, spending the whole day looking for and digesting food. The Maybug does not enter into battles with other insects, animals. Leads a calm, measured lifestyle.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Maybug in Spring

Photo: Maybug in Spring

Khrushchev belongs to the type of arthropods. It reproduces sexually. Representatives of this genus have females, males. Some time after mating, the female beetle lays eggs. To do this, she has to break through a tunnel in the soil. The depth of the tunnel must be at least thirty centimeters. Otherwise, the whole egg will die. During her life, the female is able to lay up to seventy eggs.

After the eggs have been laid, the female cockchafer dies immediately. Until this moment, the males who fertilized these females die. After about a month and a half, larvae begin to emerge from the eggs. They will live in the soil for up to four years. They don't look like adult bugs at all. The larvae are remarkably adapted to life in the ground. They have no eyes, the body is painted white, and the worm-like shape allows the larva to easily move in the soil in search of food.

Beetle larvae have very strong upper jaws. With their help, the animal can make tunnels for itself, gnaw through the hard roots of plants. However, the larvae do not acquire such strength immediately. In the first year of their life, they are not able to gnaw and eat hard root systems. At this time, they eat various plant foods. Only a year and a half after birth, the larva begins to eat root crops, roots.

At the end of the last year, the larva turns into a chrysalis. It is very reminiscent of an adult, but does not yet have a hard shell. After a while, the pupa develops legs, wings, and other important organs that an adult May beetle has. The pupa finally becomes a beetle after two months.

Natural enemies of Maybugs

Photo: Large Maybug

Photo: Large Maybug

May beetles are tasty prey for many animals. Insectivorous birds, bats. Khrushchev is a favorite “dish” for starlings, thrushes, rooks, magpies, jays. They eat not only adults, but also larvae. For this reason, many gardeners try to attract birds to their plots. They help to get rid of the pest in a short period of time and without the use of hazardous substances. Bats are also an active exterminator of harmful insects.

In one season, a pair of starlings can independently destroy about eight thousand beetles, grubs and other common garden insects.

Small and medium-sized predators. Maybugs are eaten by badgers, hedgehogs, and moles. So, to combat these pests, gardeners are strongly recommended to populate gardens with hedgehogs. Larvae, adult beetles form the basis of the diet of this animal.

Pets. Excellent hunters for Khrushchev are domestic cats and dogs. They first catch insects, then they can play with them, and only then eat them. Such food is very useful for pets. May beetles contain a lot of protein, which is easily digested by the animal body.
People. The most dangerous enemy of the cockchafer is man.

People use a variety of methods to rid their lands of this pest. In the course are chemicals, folk recipes. People try to attract birds, animals that feed on beetles to their territory.

Population and species status

Photo: Maybug

Photo: Maybug

The Maybug genus has a stable high population. This is due to the fecundity of insects, their survival in different weather conditions, the presence of a large amount of suitable food. The species of these beetles does not cause concern among scientists, the risk of their extinction is extremely small, despite the fact that people annually use various means to destroy a dangerous pest.

The cockchafer is a formidable pest at all stages of its development . As a larva, it causes significant damage to the rhizome of shrubs, agricultural plants, and trees. This causes the rapid death of plant crops. In adulthood, the beetle eats leaves, gnaws at the bark.

The population of the May beetle in each territory of the natural habitat is quite unstable. There are periods when the number of these insects increases to critical values. In this case, a person has to exterminate pests, because the latter can cause huge damage to crop yields. The beetle reproduces at a fairly fast pace. One female is able to lay about seventy eggs. Within thirty days, voracious larvae appear from the eggs. From the first days they begin to eat the roots of plants, and their appetite grows every year.

The Maybug is a bright representative of lamellar insects. These beetles are distinguished by their large size, bright color, purposefulness and high fecundity. May beetles are widespread throughout the planet, with the exception of the northern, cold regions. They appear with the first flowering of trees, are found in large numbers in orchards, mixed and coniferous forests. This animal is a dangerous pest. It causes great damage to the crop every year. For this reason, gardeners and farmers are forced to deal with the population of these insects using a variety of methods.

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