Wednesday 18 December 2013

The Christmas Beetle

Whilst we all revel in our wintery wonderland, ice-skating, lighting log fires, and catching pneumonia, spare a thought for the poor Australians who suffer Christmas under a merciless sun. Their Christmas is spent overrun by  flying Christmas beetles which swarm between their dangling corks.

The fun verbal aspect of this, is that we have Christmas beetles in the Northern Hemisphere too, or as close as dammit. We don't call them Christmas beetles. The British version is called a May bug, and the American version is called a June bug.

They're all approximately the same thing (and remember I'm an etymologist, not an entomologist), and the names are essentially the same, it is merely the hemisphere and climate that vary.

The May bug is also known as the May beetle, May chafer, billy witch, spang beetle, furze owl, humbuzz, cockchafer and lamellicorn.

So bad are the Christmas beetles this year that the Australians have become quite maddened and started reporting cricket scores that are wildly improbable and obviously the results of sun-struck fantasy and delusion.

They should be pitied.

When they should have been keeping score


  1. EntOmologist, surely. Unless it's a new field: the study of insect names?

  2. I was looking forward to the explanation of cockchafer.

  3. I wonder if a humbuzz is related to the humbug - especially given the season!