May Bug. Despite being known rather unfortunately as a 'Cockchafer' (uh hum) men need not be worried...
The largest member (no pun intended) of the Scarab Beetle family in the British Isles, this cute little chap is quite harmless. They can be a pest in Plum and cherry orchards in southern Europe but their short life cycle (6-7 weeks) means they really are the 'May' bug and are not a major pest.
They are often heard before they're seen, buzzing noisily on May evenings and clumsily flying into window panes..
For this reason, it was chosen as the State Flower of Massachusetts.
A small, spreading, evergreen shrub, the flowers can be pale pink or white. It is rarely seen outside of its native situation on the East Coast of the US and has been in decline in recent years due to loss of habitat.
By the middle of May much of the British countryside is snowy white with blossom. The small white flowers of The Hawthorn form ribbons of may blossom as far as the eye can see, making one of the great natural events of our landscape.
These billowing lines of white mark what little remains of the 200,000 miles of hedgerow planted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Enclosure Act of that time created much of the patchwork of fields and hedges that we recognise today as the quintessential English countryside. Hawthorn was the perfect 'boundary' choice, being prickly and quick growing, and tough enough for all situations.
Hawthorn was one of the most conspicuous victims of the 17th century adoption of the new calendar in Britain. In the 'good old days' it's blossom heralded the beginning of the month and everyone knew that at last 'the May was out'; now it blooms when the month of May is almost halfway through.