Brain-feelers and chockchafer

by Janus Zeistein:

The two governing parties in the land of the heart-thinkers were on the trail of a great idea which they intended to implement with all the technical perfection that was possible in the country.

It was known from farmers’ calendars that leap years were catastrophic years and the scientists of the most renowned institutes unanimously came to the conclusion, even if Reinhard Mey sang of the opposite in his song, namely that this year would bring an unprecedented invasion of foreign May beetles with epidemic proportions.

The cockchafer often appeared in droves earlier on. In the evening you could watch them when as they swarmed out and in those days they were often mixed into the feed of chickens as a treat. In the course of the 20th century, the cockchafer was chemically controlled and Austria had been “cockchafer free” for some time.

But the more the soil warms, the better the larvae thrive. This is how the beetles appear. The experts then also speak of a “hyper flight year.” The May beetles can sometimes eat whole forests almost completely bare and their white grubs often cause even greater damage because they need roots from plants and especially from young trees as food.

The intelligence services and university networks knew that due to the summer spring temperatures, the cockchafer season in the neighboring countries had started very early this year. The animals would soon “ripen”. Online cockchafer flight registration forms confirmed the fears.

In order to protect themselves against the climate-related influx of these foreign species, as had already been observed in Switzerland, Austrian researchers developed a border fence solution together with VÖEST and Lenzing textile fiber plants, where beetle-impermeable nets could be kept stable in the air by balloons.

Wrapping a cockchafer fence around Austria was the motto, even if immense investments were required, whatever the cost, the Austrian forests would have to be protected from this plague!

From the opposition, the brain-feeler-people, who felt themselves reminded of the antennae of these animals when they looked in the mirror, the suggestion came to knot the huge catch cloth at the ends and then to gather the animals. May-beetle-soup from Grandma’s days, when you tear off the wings and legs of the beetles and roughly crush the bodies, roast them in a little butter and then pass them through a sieve, could give the tourism industry a boost that was necessary anyway. Sugared or candied, the beetles would delight every palate, and some even claimed that they contained an aphrodisiac.

In any case, the government wanted to do everything possible to keep the animals out of the country, ideally to intercept them at the border. The Minister of Environment brought Dolbear’s law into play, which was used to calculate the multiplication potential of the animals via the wing flapping or chirp sound of the animals. And according to the numbers received, the risk of threat has never been greater.

That is why a national rapprochement was needed, the government coalition partners said, that all available sewing machines in the country must work together in order to be able to start the foreclosure measures that are essential for the forests. Because without forests there would be no oxygen. An emergency ordinance has forced all factories in the country and even the smallest sewing rooms and cobbler workshops to take part in the national sewing campaign.

No other country on the continent had responded to the threat as thoroughly and with as much cleverness. Yes, the future had been hastily anticipated.

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