RogerBW's Blog

Pomerania is burned 11 May 2018

I had never seen a cockchafer before, and then met two on the same day. One was dead on its back just outside the front door; the second one crashed into me several times while I was in the garden after dark.

Apologies for the picture and lighting quality - I was using my very basic phone since that was what I had with me, and it was trying to white-balance the LED floodlights in the gazebo.

Because I'm me, I am very familiar with the sound of an Argus As 109-014 pulsejet; it was immediately obvious why this "doodlebug" gave its name to the V-1 flying bomb. (The term is used for various flying insects, but this is the most likely British referent.)

While flying, it seemed to be attracted to the floodlights, though not to the LED torch on my phone.

Its method of flying seems to be to pick a direction and set off hopefully, crash into something, then try again.

It was extremely bad at righting itself when it crashed into something and landed upside-down on the table. Maybe that's why the other one died on its back. On the other hand it was able to crawl very handily up a thin audio cable.

The post's title comes from this charming children's rhyme from the Thirty Years' War, which got revived on the eastern front in the 1940s:

Maikäfer flieg...
Dein Vater ist im Krieg
Deine Mutter ist in Pommerland
Pommerland ist abgebrannt
Maikäfer flieg!

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