Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Nursery Rhyme: Maikäfer Flieg!

Maikäfer flieg!

Der Vater ist im Krieg,

Die Mutter ist im Pommerland,

Und Pommerland ist abgebrannt.

Maikäfer flieg!

Maikäfer Flieg is an old German nursery rhyme - you can listen to the tune as midi file. The text is very dark, it translates to

Cockchafer fly,
father is at war,
mother is in Pomerania,
Pomerania has burned down,
Cockchafer fly.

and is thought to go back to the times of the 30 Years' War, when large parts of Germany were completely devastated and Pomerania, then associated with Poland, lost two thirds of its population. No idea why the cockchafer, or maybug, is associated with this misery.

The maybug feeds mainly on broad-leafed trees, and its larvae, the chafer grubs, especially like the roots of trees. The larvae develop in the ground for the long time span of three to five years, and the bugs work their way to the surface around end of April, beginning of May. The bugs parading in the photos were attracted by the light in the kitchen of Stefan's mother last Saturday night.

The long development period favours the occurrence of the maybugs in cycles, and so, they can be quite a nuisance to forestry and agriculture. Massive use of pesticides had the consequence that they became very rare in the 1970s/80s. But this year, there seem to be again quite a lot of them around - Maikäfer flieg!



  1. Last fryday we were dancing-at Bauers'- there was a maybug on the dancing floor. Everybody has to change the steps not to disturb or hurt this meanwhile rare insect!

  2. Hi Stefan,

    I haven't seen one in years! Thanks for the photos :-)

    Hi Mum,

    what was that? a new version of la cucaracha? ;-)



    PS: what exactly was frying that day?

  3. Hallo Sabine,

    Schön, grausam, humorvoll.
    Drei in Einem..

    May I draw your attention to my late comment to the previous topic?


    Greetings Klaus

  4. Hi Klaus,

    I am kind of unable to comment on your comment because I don't know what you mean with 'universe'. Do you mean the observable part of the universe, or do you mean 'everything there is'? (I don't particularly like the word 'multiverse' but, well, it seems to become more and more common. makes me wonder if there will be a point where we will have meta-multiverses and the more unnecessary layers of empty words.)

    When it comes to 'everything there is' I too would say I believe it doesn't have a total angular momentum - i.e. a preferred axis. But who can say he knows?



  5. Hi Bee,

    thanks :-)

    - the observable part, carries in it the limitation of our own ability to observe, There might well be things out there which is just as much part of the universe as the entities we can measure.

    "Multiverse" would also imply an "inbetween" which laws govern there we shall never know. as you say, layers of emty words, I agree.

    "The end of physics" might in fact mean the end of meaningful physics.



  6. Interesting insects. They look big and inoffensive.

    My german shorthaired pointer would certainly kill any such insect if he spotted one in my garden, though. You would be surprised with the types of fauna we find around here, near the countryside of southeast Brazil. So it's nice to have a good hunting dog in the house, just in case.

    Best wishes,

  7. I immediately thought of the ladybug rhyme (ladybug, ladybug, fly away home: the house is on fire and your children will burn).

    Why are bugs' relatives always in danger of burning?


COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ARE PERMANENTLY CLOSED. You can join the discussion on Patreon.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.