What do May beetles eat?.

The bass buzz of May beetles fills warm spring evenings and serves as a good sign. Khrushchev flew - it means that clear weather was established for a long time. But not everyone will be pleased with the buzzing of insects - for gardeners, it serves as an alarm signal. Because May beetles eat young foliage, giving preference to plum, apple and other fruit trees. In European countries, the May beetle, also known as the beetle, is considered one of the most malicious garden pests.

An excursion into history

The majority of our contemporaries sympathize with the May beetle, but man's attitude to this insect was far from always good-natured. And all because of the food addictions of the beetle and its larva.

France and Germany were shocked by massive outbreaks of beetle breeding, occurring every 4 years, and especially intense - once every 30 years. There were so many insects that in June the forests were completely eaten away, hungry beetles even smoothed out the bark on young shoots. Beetles, usually picky in their food, pounced not only on deciduous, but also on conifers, leaving pines and spruces without flower buds. On a completely windless day, the grass in the meadows quivered and swayed as if by itself - this, invisible underground, myriads of larvae devoured the roots, greedily tugging at them with powerful jaws...

The May beetle terrorized Europe throughout the history of agriculture, starting from the Middle Ages to the 50s of the XX century. All sorts of methods have been tried, but to no avail. Only the invention of pesticides put an end to the pest rampant.

Interesting and even funny facts about this insect have been preserved in the annals. So, in 1320 in Avignon (Provence, France), a trial of the May beetle took place, which sentenced the beetles to exile. The Khrushchevs were ordered to leave the country within a few days. Since they did not even think of following the order, they were excommunicated.

In the same France, in the 18th-19th centuries, a dessert was popular - the larvae of May beetle in honey. This dish allegedly possessed miraculous power (the rumor was spread by clever gypsies who bought worms for a pittance from peasants and profited by selling them to aristocrats). To remove the blackness in the belly of the larva and give it an ivory hue, it was kept for a month in sawdust soaked in serum.

Long life of the May beetle

Beetle beetles (Melolontha) belong to the Lamellate family and are, according to the classification, relatives of the sacred scarab (superfamily Scarabaeoidea). Males are distinguished by luxurious fan-shaped whiskers, consisting of 7 plates. Females have more modest antennae, there are 6 plates in them. Nine species of beetles live in our country, the most common are eastern (M. hippocastani) and western (M. melolontha). Its Latin name comes from the Greek melolanthe, that is, "scratching".

Phenologically, the emergence of beetles coincides with the blooming of those tree species on which they feed. In the south, it is chestnut, beech, grapevine, in the central strip - oak, pome and stone fruits, maple, hazel. To the east of the Urals, the beetle took a fancy to birch, less often found on poplars. The Yakut population is content with larch.

Beetles are active in the evening, in dry weather. If dew does not fall during the night, they fly at dawn. They selectively look for blossoming buds and sticky young leaves. The damaged shoot loses the point of growth, and there will be no harvest on the fruit, since the ovaries are eaten. Deep into the forest, beetles climb no further than a hundred meters, preferring the edge and separately growing trees. Mating games and mating take place along the way.

The female beetle in flight

The female beetle searches for places with light soil rich in humus. She buries herself in the ground 10-20 cm and lays a portion of eggs, and then returns to the crowns, restores strength with delicate leaves and accepts the courtship of males. The fertility of the beetle is 60-90 eggs. The next clutch is made about a week later in the same place as the first, followed by another one or two. The insect's age is short - after laying the last eggs, the female dies next to them, in the ground. And males disappear even earlier.

Methods of dealing with beetle

Gone are the shock doses of DDT and repeated treatment of gardens with pesticides. Modern control methods are aimed at preventing the larva from growing. The soil is loosened many times, damaging the larvae. The tissues of the "furrow" are delicate, and infection immediately penetrates into the wound. Adult insects are shaken off the trees with blows on the trunk, it is better to do this at the beginning of the day - the beetle is sluggish at this time, clings to branches weakly and does not have time to fly away in time.


The most promising biological methods of control. At the same time, the beetle population is infected with specific diseases that are not dangerous to other insects and humans. Pathogenic fungi and bacteria are used, of which about 150 species have been discovered.

Khrushch? It will come in handy on the farm...

The fishermen are always glad to see the larva of the May beetle. This bait is visible far in the water and is especially attractive for the chub. For ice fishing, furrows are harvested at the end of summer and planted in a large pot filled with sawdust or sand. They store a container with larvae in the underground, feed them with carrots, and even better - cottage cheese, from which they become white and elastic. With this content, the beetles easily survive until spring.

The larvae found in the garden can be fed to chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls. Or you can just take them to the edge of the forest and pour them into the grass. There are not so many of these large, beautiful beetles with funny mustaches left.


Advice: so that the May beetle does not breed in the garden, lupines should be planted there. This beautifully flowering plant scares off the beetle and enriches the soil with nitrogen along the way. Calendula gives a similar effect.