About two weeks ago I was digging away on the new bed for potatoes and onions, and I began to notice quite a few bugs in the dirt. They were about 3 centimeters long and almost 2 cm across and started to wake up and crawl around when the soil was turned. I estimate that there were about five bugs per square meter, when the soil was turned to a depth of 30 centimeters.
I’m a little worried what those bugs will do to the potatoes, so I picked one up and carried it over to one of the neighbours to find out if she knew more about the species. The sun was shining and the weather was great for garden work, so she was outside too, preparing a bed for potatoes. She has been living here for decades, and I hoped to hear some history from her.
She didn’t know for sure what species the beast was, but she made a guess that it was a cockchafer. Her mother, who is also interested in gardening, confirmed that it indeed was a cockchafer.
It’s brown with wings, and it has antennas on its head. I found out that in the 1800s the state would actually pay per bug that was killed and turned in, indicating that it was a major plague in Europe. They managed to control the spread, but the bug has had a comeback in 1980s. The cockhafer is clever: it begins its life as far as 1 meter down in the ground, making it impossible for the birds to prey on it. The adult bug crawls up to the surface 4 years later.
I guess it would be best for my gardening to collect the rest of the bugs I dig up and feed them to the birds.