The Common cockchafer used to be served as food


Summer is in full swing and with the warm temperatures we should see plenty of common cockchafers. Well, if there are plenty of these bugs flying around when you sit outside on the patio for example, it is not pleasant at all. Children may have a different opinion because catching them and letting them crawl up while being tickled may be fun… We all know that these bugs pose no danger to us but they may look little bit scary sometimes . What do the common cockchafers look like and how do they live? By the way, did you know that these bugs used to be eaten?

More of a nuisance then fun

The common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) is indeed perceived as more of a nuisance then a friendly big bear… It measures about 3 cm – at least those found in Europe, but you can find common cockchafers in a mild climate in Asia too. These big bugs were almost completely exterminated due to the use of pesticides, especially in the middle of the 20th century. The brown colouring and characteristic hairs under elytrons are probably the most distinguishing features. Males have 7 petals on the antennae, while females have only six Common cockchafer is often confused with Amphimallon solstitiale. However, this bug is disproportionately smaller and has no antennae.


Photo: Pixabay

Not welcomed in fields

As already said, the common cockchafer is not harmful to us, but it can literally devastate leaves on garden trees for example. Further, larvae bite through underground roots and destroy them. They may also attack cereals and other crops. The entire development of cockchafers take 4 years. Adults appear in May and mate. One female can lay up to 80 eggs. Larvae hatch in 4 to 6 weeks and pupate and live in the ground for 4 to 5 years, until they reach a size of around 5 cm and then the adult beetle hatches.


Photo: Pixabay

A food specialty?

The idea that people would eat cockchafers is quite disgusting. Yes, it is. But previously they were cocked for about 10 minutes and served on pancakes with lemon juice. The French are known to eat anything and indeed in the 19th century they used to make a soup out of cockchafers. But let us not forget about a soup made out of cockchafers by the Czechs and cockchafers coated with sugar crust were considered a delicacy…

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *