The Brown May Beetle
is commonly only about 3/4 of an inch long but in reading it was
found that specimens have reached up to two inches. Around
Knotts Island they are pretty much small and round. They
are active at night, feeding on foliage, flower buds, and flowers
on shrubs. They are usually
seen flying erratically around the porch lights and floodlights
of homes, or clinging to the screens of doors trying to get to
the living room lights. They have reproduce much like the
Green June Bug except that the life-cycle of their larva is about
three years and they emerge as adult beetles earlier, around May.
Both beetles are white grubs while in their larval
stages. They're the same "C" shaped white grubs that are
always in the soil when digging in the yard. The grubs may
be anywhere from 1/4" to 2" long depending on how far along they
are in their development. They crawl on their backs using
two rows of stiff hairs. They eat small roots near the
surface of the soil so they quite often damage turf grasses
leaving curly brown marks in lawns. Sometimes they eat root
vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots causing damage in
gardens. But they also eat decaying leaves though so they
aren't always destructive. The grubs are good to have
around in yards owned by fishermen. They are easy to find
and are great bait for a wide variety of fish species. And
of all the insects you can eat, the white grub is one of the
tastiest, easy to prepare and high in protein.
If eating insects interests you, the May Beetle is a
best choice. When toasted in hot ashes, the internal body parts and
juices of the bug congeal into an edible nugget. After peeling off shriveled legs, wings, and wing
case, the remaining tidbit can be eaten one at a
time or by the handful. Toasted May Beetles have a
surprisingly sweet taste. The flavor is said to resemble
thick raw molasses or crudely made cane syrup. If mixed with
warm milk, it has a malted milk taste. It turns out that
the beetles can be used as medicine too. Full of edible
fats and proteins, the bug is a rich source of food and appetite
stimulating medicine when prepared correctly. Crushed into
fine powder, bug-flour added to hot water forms a rich nourishing
drink perfectly suited to victims suffering from anemia,
dehydration, and other maladies.
The June Bug isn't as tasty but it can be a lot of fun.
Being a harmless insect, they are fairly easy to catch and hold.
The legs are thick and spiny for digging and can feel a little
uncomfortable if they grip your finger but they won't do any
harm. You can tir a piece of light twine to one of the June
Bug's legs and release it. It'll fly around to the limit of
the string and act like a living miniature kite. If you've
been brought around from a illness by the May Beetle, the June
Bug can restore your sense of humor for a complete recovery.
May. June. Whenever they've emerged,
whatever name you give them, both beetles are a summertime
standard that are known to all.