Sunday, 19 August 2007

June Bugs

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Ok, she is back to the insects again. June Bugs have been following me since I have been living out in the country. There used to be something called a May bug, but these today are few and far between, having their numbers reduced because of the danger their grubs do to the roots of the plants. My Swiss hubby remembers that when he was a schoolboy his class would collect the May bugs in sacks and deliver them to the local grub demolition centre where they were burnt. They would shake the trees and down they would fall.

The June bugs are almost the same but a bit smaller. I remember the first time I noticed them. It was at 09.20 in the evening when they started flying. Huge flying beetles. First of all they ascended to the heights and buzzed around the neighbour's balcony on the top floor. With time they descended and arrived in our garden, flying into my face, getting caught in my hair and making a noise like a heard of giant bees. It was quite a spectacle and my cats just loved it, jumping up and catching them with their paws. They did not eat them (butterflies are much more tasty, as well as moths) it was just the sport they enjoyed. My neighbours, who have a very well cared for garden, would stand outside with rackets and play tennis with them, knocking them down before they had a chance to fulfill the target of their short life.

Eventually they would settle on a bush in my garden, even the reeds or the pampas grass would be sufficient - and what did they do?

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I suppose what all bugs do when they know they have very little time. It seems that there are not always enough females to go around and the result as in the photo above. Unfortunately not such a clear photo as they do tend to move around. My whole garden seems to be a breeding station at 09.30 in the evening. You will wonder how I know what the time is. You can really set your clock by them. They are very punctual. I suppose they don't want to miss the chance. Eventually things get calmer and the job is done. I am not sure what goes on for how long and what the exact process is. I believe that eventually eggs are laid somewhere in the earth near a nice juicy plant root for the children to munch on for the next year or so.

We tend to find our babies sweet and lovely, I just wonder what a June beetle mother would think if she ever saw any of her children. Perhaps it is better if they don't see them. I was digging around in the garden yesterdy and found a wonderful example of a June bug baby. I put him on a red serviette for some colour contrast and took my photo. I would add after the photo was taken I removed him (still on the serviette) to the roots of a tree out in the meadow - after all who am I to disturb the beetle circle of life. For those who might be a bit "ugh", "yuck" and "I hate insects" - don't look further. For those who just wonder what a June beetle youngster looks like, here is the photo. I must admit 8 years ago when I saw the first one I was the *yuck" type, but these days if they stay outside it doesn't bother me. And here he is

The baby June beetle

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