“Just ignore them. If you don’t pay any attention to them, they will loose interest and go away.” Mum’s advice on dealing with difficult kids was good. I followed it (a bit) and they did, eventually, go away (sometimes). But, it turns out, beetles did not go to the same school of fair play.

There are times in the garden when I can’t bear to look:  the drooping potato leaves which may, or may not be a sign that they are ready to harvest or the light yellow patches that have developed on the leaves of one of the tomato plants. I pretend not to see the curling leaves and the discoloured spots. I expect, in return, that they will do the right thing.

That’s what I’d been doing for the last six weeks. At first (in fact for more than a month) I’d been telling myself that the holes in the leaves of spinach and kale were the result of the hail storms we experienced in November. Six weeks later I had to accept that something (beetles) had been feasting on my veggies. And, despite my best efforts to simply ignore them, THEY WERE NOT GOING AWAY.

I tried to keep ignoring them but the beetles were waiting for me in Facebook. My feed reflects my interests: it’s filled with gardening posts with lots of advice to share on the subject bugs and battles and caterpillars and aphids and fungi and….

Then local hardware store ran a promotion on headlamps (essential, I was told, for illuminating the problem).

And finally I uncovered a box of latex gloves in the bottom of the draw. I am only so brave and my courage does not extent to touching beetles. I imagine their scratchy little feet on my skin and head for the hills.

Despite my best efforts the stars aligned to force me to go and take a look.

Kit for beetle hunting

our garb for hunting beetles 22 December 2016

As I so often find the reality of my night-safari was less horrifying than my sweat inducing imaginings. The culprits (Christmas Beetles, I think) were indeed feasting on my spinach and my kale and even my aubergines. They were also really back a flying. When I disturbed them, they frequently flew right into my  surgically covered hands. One unlucky chap fell into my cleavage which was much less fun that it sounds, And I don’t think it sounds that fun.

I collected a pot full of them.

And today? Today I could look at the garden.