Friday, 1 October 2010

Curious Sign #2

European Chafer

No. These are not some annoying visitors from Europe being detained in a quarantine area, although I've run into a few at some of the hotter tourist spots in the Rockies. Having some of the sightseers penned up to protect the flora and fauna might be a novel practice. The warning relates to the exotic European chafer beetle which lays its eggs in nearby lawns giving life to nasty little grubs who chew up the lawn from below. And just in case you are not aware of pests hiding in the grass, other wildlife are drawn to their presence. First the crows swoop in to pick and peck. Then the skunks move in to rake over the sod in search of the more elusive ones. Of course, once fattened and lazy, the skunks are an easy target for wee hour drivers causing their malodorous scent to linger on the air through the morning hours. Since the adult beetles are a rather flighty bunch, I would assume trying to entice them into settling on specially marked bio-control public verges instead of private property has not met with overwhelming success. Trying to control the habits of crows and skunks would also be a formidable challenge. So the warning or informational sign remains strictly for the human population most of whom have at least a smattering of knowledge in how to decipher the English language. Are we not to tread on the disturbed grasses or should we fear the nearness to the nasty nematodes? Best to rush straight home and Google 'nematode' before succumbing to incurable itches, foreign maladies or the desire to eat a living lunch. Now if I could only remember the difference between scaramouche and scarabaeid - one of them causes me to do the fandango. 

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