Sunday, 6 January 2013

Student Cleanliness and associated beetle fauna.

I've just dropped my lad off back at University, where he handed me another tubed beetle he had found in his student hovel. Now I'm pretty sure most of you may have seen the odd beetle hanging around your house, a ladybird or two or perhaps a carpet beetle of the genus Anthrenus. I for one regularly find the odd larva, the distinctive "woolly bears" in odd places around the house, usually going nowhere up a wall. Try looking at one under a microscope, if you give it a bit of a prod, it'll raise protective hairs, reminds me of a porcupine in defensive posture. The adults are often to be found trying to escape on your windowsills attracted by sunlight in early summer, apparently they need to feed on flowers before reproducing.   I also once had an infestation of the beetle Ptinus fur in the attic, but I've never let on to my wife about why they were there,  feeding on fishing groundbait I'd left for a couple of years. However I have never, in any house I have lived in found Dermestid beetles or other beetle types that live on feed on our human detritus. However my 20 year old son currently studying at the University of Sheffield regularly pots a beetle or two for me to identify.  His first year halls of residence had a reasonably healthy population of Dermestes lardarius, whilst his new accommodation has so far yielded another beetle associated with man, Attegenus pellio. My initial thoughts were old buildings with established populations, but that can't be the case as Endcliffe Village in Sheffield is newbuild. Is it down to lack of student cleanliness, my son lives with nine other lads "n" lasses and I have to say their house is a complete tip, just right for a few beetles to find nourishment. Might be worth a research project, the relationship between student numbers per house, cleanliness and degree of beetle infestation.

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