When Jason McCourt arrived at the Mid Ulster Mail office, with what was described as ‘huge, rare, flying bug’ there was a distinct reticence from a number of journalists to venture downstairs.
The Coookstown man was alerted to the hairy UFO, after it repeatedly crashed up against the windows of his home.
Overcoming his fear, Jason managed to capture the creature and identify it as the May Bug, also known as the Cockshafer.
Despite its appearance, with armoured coated wings, alien like antennae, and panic-inducing flying pattern, the May Bug is harmless.
While they are not that uncommon, Jason believes that this particular type of bug may be just one a handful seen in this country over the last 400 years.
“We heard this massive bang against the window and when we went outside, we couldsee this massive thing flying about,” he said.
“Yes, I was a bit nervous to start with, but when I took a picture of it, and looked it up on the internet, I realised it was harmless.
“This May Bug is brown in colour, and if it is one of the rare ones, then there have only been around 25 seen in this country since the 1600’s. I’m still waiting to find out if it one of them.”
Jason said he planned to release the bug back into his garden.
The cockchafer or May bug, Melolontha melolontha, is not a true bug but a relatively large beetle.
Adult cockchafers normally appear flying on warm evenings from May to July. They are attracted to artificial light and often come indoors through open windows or even down chimneys.
Cockchafers may cause consternation to those who encounter them but are harmless to humans.
Cockchafer grubs, however, are considered a pest. They feed underground on the roots of a wide range of plants and can damage pastures and crops.