Warm winter means more bugs

Looking every inch like a swan in flight, this incredible lenticular cloud looming large was...
Looking every inch like a swan in flight, this incredible lenticular cloud looming large was captured by Long Beach photographer Ali McArthur. Photo: Ali McArthur
If you set store by one of the old, rough-and-ready, measures of the seasons, we haven’t quite crawled into spring yet.

However, the evidence has been all around for many weeks, even a month or more, that this winter has not gone as you might expect.

The flowers and the mild temperatures are all very nice. But unfortunately the unseasonal warmth doesn’t kill all the bugs and diseases like a decent cold snap does, meaning a higher risk of more nasties than usual in the summer months.

This is something  Phyll Esplin has experienced first-hand."Last week I was reminded that it is soon to be spring when I found a wasp hibernating on a scarf I had hung on a hanger  at home.

"I was trying on different scarves to go with an outfit and decided one I had not worn for a long time might suit. I put it round my neck this way and that, several times, and then put it in front of me to make it the right shape.

"Then I saw what I thought was a mark, but on examining it I found it was a hibernating wasp. It would have been a queen, one hibernating for the winter and in spring would have set up a hive somewhere round my property and produced thousands of wasps.

"No need to say that that wasp is no longer here to do that.

"Many years ago on demolishing a shed we found eight wasps hibernating in the walls of the shed through winter. Can’t imagine how many wasps that would have produced.

"It is a reminder that  getting rid of one wasp now reduces the number in summer by thousands. Maybe your readers have also had incidents like this?"

What a difference a couple of hours can make. Two photographs taken from Cromwell on March 10,...
What a difference a couple of hours can make. Two photographs taken from Cromwell on March 10, 2010, with the initial mushroom formation getting dragged up into a wispy, cone-shaped cloud. Photos: John Elliott
Any other wasp horror stories out there?

No longer wide-open

Jennie Campbell writes in with her views of what is happening inland."I loathe what is happening to Central Otago and the Mackenzie Country. I used to holiday in Queenstown and Twizel and loved the wide-open and empty spaces. No more of that in either place.

What a difference a couple of hours can make. Two photographs taken from Cromwell on March 10,...
What a difference a couple of hours can make. Two photographs taken from Cromwell on March 10, 2010, with the initial mushroom formation getting dragged up into a wispy, cone-shaped cloud.
"Rampant capitalism fed by greedy developers and overseas capital, sponsored by a naive  National Party government blinded by Ronald Reagan and Maggie Thatcher’s examples, was a major cause of the now-emerging disaster.

"I also deplore the spread of dairy farming and the arrival of huge cattle lots — really barbarous and the latter kept from public view because the owners know they are offending nature.

"What can be done?  The rot can now only be contained, if the Labour Government has the courage to act. But they probably will not be able to mobilise themselves with so many vested interests opposing them.

"I am sure other ODT readers agree with my sentiments. We despair but are relieved that we will not be here to witness the ghastly outcome."

Thanks Jennie. And, yes, many of us won’t be here to see it — but we need to be doing something now to ensure we don’t leave our grandchildren a complete mess. July 1957 snowJim Miller says he noted former Otago Boys’ High School boarder Trevor Weir’s recollections of the July 1957 snow.

"I remember with satisfaction the great victory we Campbell House boys achieved over the  Johnnys.

"We fronted on the Balmac golf course where, while heavily outnumbered, our superior skill and determination won the day.

"Back at the House, awards for outstanding bravery were presented and celebrations went long into the night."

June 1978 snow

Not such a cheerful memory of the big snow at the end of June 1978 from Ann Aitken.

"I remember four days of snow.

"I woke up in labour with my fourth child and looked out the window as the snow was starting to fall. I called my mum to come up by taxi to look after the other three children as planned.

"My husband drove me to Queen Mary Hospital before the road got slippery. I did not want to be stuck in Mulford St in the snow!

"It snowed heavily for days — the biggest snowfall I have seen in my 55 years in Dunedin. Everything was closed — schools, shops, churches, and buses were stopped.

"We had a friend at Ashburn Hall who suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) following  World War 2. He decided now was a good time to disappear.

"They found him under a bush in his pyjamas when the snow melted. He was longing to go to his heavenly home and, as his friends, we were happy his struggles were over and he was at peace at last."

And on that poignant note let’s leave it there for today.

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