Country Corner

Judging by this shot, you may be forgiven for thinking the Violet Ground Beetle should be renamed the Violent Ground Beetle!

Slugs are a major part of this beetle’s diet as this unfortunate one was about to discover.

Though the slug might not agree, Violet Ground Beetles are handsome insects, large and irridescent, active and aggressive .

Like most ground beetles, you can find the species by looking under stones, though as this picture shows, they can be active by day, giving the observer the chance to witness their hunting prowess.

Belatedly, farmers are starting to realise the importance of predation in controlling pest insects. ‘Beetle banks’ are long uncultivated strips left in crops to harbour beetles and other predators. This ensures there are enough of them to hunt through the entire crop at night and do their valuable work.

Hopefully, initiatives like this will finally break the post-war mindset of chemical dependancy which sees massive amounts of pesticides,herbicides and fungicides sprayed on the land every year, with no real understanding of where it will end up, or what it will affect along the way. As shoppers, we must insist on more say about the way our food is produced. Remember, it is us who have to eat the stuff.

So let’s hear it for the Violet Ground Beeetle, a species doing more work for the environment than most shoppers!