In our neck of the woods around Christmas time it gets a bit hot, usually in the high 70’s to the low 80’s (Farenheight that is). There is sometimes a bit of rain, usually in the afternoon and the combination of heat and moisture brings out the flies in their millions.
When outside, we are pepetually waving at non existant people , not because we are demented but waving keeps the flys away from our face.
Now the positive side of the heat and the moisture is the arrival of the Christmas Beetle.
A quick check at the Australian Museum rreveals that there are 36 species of Christmas Beetle, of which only one is not unique to Australia.
The Christmas Beetle is a type of Scarab and is of the genus Anoplognathus. 21 members of the of the species are found in the State of New South Wales where I reside.
Their arrival at Casa Creekingbones was heralded the other night by large nubers of them crashing into our windows, lured by the lights.
Now Christmas Beetles enjoy munching on the leaves of Eucalypt trees and swarms of them have been know to denude a tree of all leaves, to the extent that the tree dies.
Well, yesterday I went out to the shed and noticed shredded eucalypt leaves covering the ground. The culprits, Christmas Beetles in their hundreds, munching away on the leaves of the treasured eucalyupts we planted as tube stock about sixteen years ago.
Does shaking them out of the trees help you may ask? Not at all. All it does is get them to fly off, hover for a moment or two and zoom straightr back in. Those that don’t land in your hair or on your clothes that is.
Fortunately for us, their life span is relatively short and with luck, by the time they have had their fun, our trees will have sufficient foliage remaining to regenerate.
Our invaders are Emerald Tip Christmas Beetles and certainly make a pleasant display on the leaves and in their own way are quite interesting to watch so we have decided not to spray them with insecticide and let nature take its course.
Here are a few images of the little devils at work:
You can see why the name Emerald Tip applies. This is the rear view of the beetle.
The saw tooth leaf edges are testimony to their munching style.
They certainly don’t mind sharing and just hanging around.
They form quite orderly queues too.
As you can see, they don’t leave very much of the leaves, no pun intended.
You can see how many beetles there are on this section of one of our eucalypts.
All of these images were made using a Nikkor 24 to 70mm lens, various f stops and shutter speeds on a D810 body.
In a week or so I’ll follow up with a couple of images of the trees and their remaining foliage.
Hoo roo for now.