A BUG’S LIFE

Australian Geographic - - Your Say - IAN JOHN­SON, MO­RAY­FIELD, QLD

I read with in­ter­est Dr Karl’s ar­ti­cle Is this In­sec­taged­don? (AG 144) about the demise of in­sects. Not only are we poi­son­ing them out of ex­is­tence but, in south-east­ern Queens­land at least, we are phys­i­cally killing them off too.

When a de­vel­op­ment is being estab­lished here, the top me­tre of soil is re­moved and stock­piled.This ap­pears to be to re­move white ants from this soil, and to get down to a firm and sta­ble base for the con­crete slabs on which most houses are con­structed these days.

Re­moval of this layer not only re­moves white ants but also all sorts of other in­sects in the lar­val or grub de­vel­op­ment stage – ants, bee­tles, ci­cadas, spi­ders and God knows what else. All are killed off in this process. A prime ex­am­ple is the ele­phant bee­tles, which we used to see in great pro­fu­sion at the right time of the year here, but I don’t know when I last saw one.

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