About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

C is for Cruella

Which would be a good name for lipsticks of a certain shade! This little beauty is a wolf in sheep's clothing; the Red (or 'scarlet') Lily beetle, Lilioceris lilii and is not to be tolerated if you are a gardener. A foreign import, living in Surrey since 1939, but exploding across the country in recent years, it is one of those 'super species' who will benefit from the harm we have done and continue to do to the planet.

It is so shiny it's not easy to get a shot in focus, especially on the plant where the camera will select something near to focus on rather than the insect. Here it made a fatal mistake, usually they hide under the leaves or in the cruck of several leaves, this one went top-side and I had it, photographed it and dispatched it.

It would be nice to say "I regretfully killed it" or even 'grudgingly', but the fact is, pretty as they are, they are deadly to the lily, and will do massive damage, so they have to die...for the moment, eventually they will win as most lilys are smart hybrids or imports (the irony there being that the imports by/for the gardens of the rich of Surrey probably brought them here in the first place!), while there is evidence that non-hybrid 'specie' are - to some extent - resistant.

Killing them is however bitter-sweet, as the find/kill is satisfying, yet you know that like Canute, you are pissing in the wind, yet they are rather beautiful.

If you don't put a hand under them the instant you see them, they will fall to the floor on their backs and be very hard to find, this one didn't move for about five minutes. I've executed five this year for crimes against lilys and that's the worst year ever. Still; after they've stared in my court there is no recidivism...there are no juve-cubes for lily beetles - I am Dredd and I am the law!

4 comments:

Francis Lee said...

Well said beetle buster!

Maverick Collecting said...

In my defence it's one of only three things I regularly kill, the others being mosquitoes and cloths moths, and I always feel guilty killing clothes moths as apparently there are only two species that eat cotton and wool, but 40-odd species (or is it 400/?) that look similar and all are nocturnal and attracted to light!

Hugh - better dead than red!

Paul´s Bods said...

Here they are called...unbelievably ..Lily chicks (Lilien Hähnchen) Why?, I don´t know. One really interesting Thing..take one and put it in a plastic Cup (a small high sided tin is better though) and put your ear to the top of the Cup/tin. They "peep" No joke. The first time i found one i though it was rare so put it in a plastic Cup and while i was sitting having a break i could hear a peeping noise..which after narrowing it down I found was coming from the beetle. There´s a WAY bigger Version of them in the south of France..big blacky Brown buggers the size of your thumb. They don´t fly but when you tip em on thier backs they let out a Long drawn out "weeeeeeee!" I´ve treid finding out what they are..i took photos but that was in the days of roll film and all that i have to go on is that they were big, blacky Brown, "weeee-d" when tipped over and seemed to love eating dog muck.

Maverick Collecting said...

Trust you to turn up with surreal and esoteric additional information Paul!

Now I want a blacky-brown dog-mess eating weeeeeee beetle all of my own!! And; I can't wait to find another lily beetle and make it sing in a plastic cup!

Yours sounds like one of the scavenger/carrion beetles of which there are several types, there is some fascinating stuff on-line about invertebrate forensic science with regard to dead bodies!

Or dung beetles, it's not just David Attenborough's African camera-crew who find them - we have native dung-beetles?

Hugh