Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm a Witchety-Grub - Get me Out of here!!

Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!   Of all the pansy pots in all the gardens in all the world, it walks into mine… and I’m not touching it with a ten-foot trowel!

I don’t watch Celebrity save-me-I'm-so-crazy!  programmes, but I know what goes on! And I just might be in a position to augment their supplies. (They do stun the grubs before they eat them, don’t they…)?

I was replanting pansies and unearthed this Thing, the disgusting like of which I’d never seen before – would it bite?  Would it get much bigger?  What did it want?

When I described it to a friend she said it was probably a moth larva.

A MOTH larva? - It’s the size of a Beagle!  I mean - what the hell's this... moth... going to eat when it grows up – the actual wardrobe?

My googling shows that there are a zillion types of Moth Larvae, and the ones in our pots (for further prodding has unearthed a veritable  colony) are the ugliest in the universe. Why couldn’t they be the jauntily green ones, or red, the face-painted perhaps... the acrobatic? Or my Favourite - the Dalek Moth larva:

... which will one day emerge as this beauteous Promethea Moth:

The major problem is what to do with our repugnant plantpot larvae – they’re really big for a start... Collected, they're like a bouncy castle, so squashing's definitely out.  As is eating... unless the cats are interested. 

There's relocating, of course, but any chucking over neighbour's fence would have to be at dead of night and they have a hunting dog on constant alert.  Could we humanely stab them with a needle?  Probably not...

Actual witchety grubs, you know, eat the sap and roots of acacia plants.  I was sad to learn that the adult witcheties don't feed at all - they have to exist on the reserves eaten by the caterpillar!  That's bound to put you in a bad mood.  It would have been fairer if they grew up carnivorous and could take revenge on everyone who'd wanted to eat them in their infancy.

This, though, is the fearsome Witchety Moth Beast - if it can't eat you, it can certainly give you a bloody good nibble.  So if you've mistreated a witchety grub, Beware!  Their grown-up cousins are six feet tall, and They Know Where You Live!


Canary Islander said...

Dolores, the grub is self-evidently legless. A legless grub cannot possibly walk into your pansy pot. I think the grub arrived on wheels. And we all know that grub on wheels is a meal on wheels.

Have you tasted the grub?

Someone must have tasted the grub while it was a larva, because it looks like a bagel with a bite taken out of it. I think the bite was taken out of it AFTER it wheeled itself into your pansy pot, because if the bite had had been taken out of it BEFORE it wheeled itself into your pansy pot, it wouldn't have been able to do a wheelie.

Methinks it is best to send it on its way with a small grubstake.


Dolores Doolittle said...

Have I TASTED it, CI?!!
OK yes - with a nice garlic mayo...

But what you say makes a lot of sense, specially wheeling it on its way - Get thee behind me, SatanGrub!
If I send it with a Big grubstake, perhaps it will travel Far and make its famous way in the world (on a celebrity island)

Canary Islander said...

Dolores - The Oxford Dictionary says the Witchetty larva is white, but the larva in your photo is brown. Are you sure the larva in your photo is a Witchetty larva?

Wiki says that aboriginals like to eat Witchetty larvae because they taste like almonds.

I think it is best to try a first bite without garlic mayo. You wouldn't want to risk overpowering the almond taste...

JW10 said...

Dolores, looking on the bright side, at least your pupa grub won't grow up to be a Death's-head Hawkmoth of Silence of the lambs fame.

What about soaking the moth larva in batter? I might be tempted to have a nibble.

P.S apart from the first one, like the photos very much.

Dolores Doolittle said...

In fact, CI, my photo is of the lesser-known One-T'd witcheTy grub.

There are lots of google images of people eating them - I thought they were too distressing to display here, but if they taste of almonds, no wonder they're appealing. Maybe I'll dig another one out...

Have you ever eaten such a beastie?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Ah, JW, the magnificent Death's Head Hawkmoth - beloved by so many Strange people...

And Silence of the Lambs - fabulously thrilling film without too much gore. Well, the gore is Artistic...

Did you know that the killer-actor in that film is the bloke who plays Captain Stottlemeyer in 'Monk'? (Ted Levine). I mention this because I'm always flabbergasted at how cleverly convincing some actors are. (And I Love Ted Levine).

Battered Grub - is it better than the Mars Bar?

Expat said...

Dolores, do you have one of those nifty little flame thrower thingies for caramelising creme brulee? That should take care of them. A somewhat larger version works a treat on the bag worms that, if left unchecked, would decimate our trees.

JW10 said...

Dolores, there’s nothing on heaven or earth that tastes better than a deep fried mars bar, our superb other National dish.

Afraid to say I have never watched Monk though I agree that there are some versatile actors out there. Indeed, although Anthony Hopkins gets all the plaudits for SOTL, I think the whole cast in that film acted terrifically. Ted Levine for one and the doomed Anthony Heald who played Hannibal Lecter’s jailer.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hilarious suggestion, Expat! Until one starts to visualise the result.

'Bagworm' conjures up a poor unhappy creature pounding the streets, but I see from Wiki they can be 15cm long! And 'MOSTLY inoffensive to humans' isn't good enough!

JW - That's It! I'm going to Have to try the MarsBar à la Battère! In fact, it'd be a splendid idea to dollop them out at our next Eats-gathering. French friends are always game to try UK delicacies...

Ahh - brave Anthony Heald - his gore was Particularly Artistic...

Jon said...

I have no idea what these beasts are, but the chickens appreciate them. Do you have a local chicken?

Araminta said...

Now where was I?

Yes, bats, I seem to remember.

I have to say that I find it best to leave such grubs alone and just let them munch and hopefully disappear. I'm terrified to go into my garden now, so I've taken the plunge and employed someone else to deal with Nature in the Raw.

I know this is cowardly, not to mention extremely costly but I cannot even contemplate meeting one of these ghastly creatures.

Do they fly South for the winter?
Can I chance a quick visit to see why Winter flowering Jasmine in January.

Your advice, Dolores, as an expect on such matters would be appreciated.

Horrified on Henley. xx

Araminta said...

Oops typo.

"of" Henley

Dolores Doolittle said...

I feel your pain, Ara!

My advice? Employ THREE gardeners just to make sure they don't miss any critter sneaking past, and for the winter jasmine - a telescope.

Also, for handy protection, I might boldly advertise my imminent blogpost (waiting for photie fiddling).

A friend of ours in nearby countryside discovered a baby snakeling in her kitchen yesterday! Snakes are quite cute, though, when not of the snarling venomous variety.

(Who is this Henley bloke, one wondered for a moment)