Country diary: rose chafers are brilliant, bejewelled marvels

Country diary: rose chafers are brilliant, bejewelled marvels

Spetisbury, Dorset: These good-looking relatives of cockchafers have a brief summer of sex and sweet food ahead

You might think that it is stretching a metaphor to compare any garden insect to a hippopotamus. But clearly, you haven’t seen the rose chafers on my patch of sun-drenched ground elder down here in the deep south.

It’s not so much that these solidly built beetles come to feed on the pollen and nectar from the delicate umbels, it’s more that they come to luxuriate. They land heavily upon the white, icing-sugar-soft florets and crawl around as if wallowing in a foam bath, all the while looking inappropriately large, like an adult human among the plastic balls at a soft play centre.

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