by Tanya  

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I guess the world of insects is not well known to широким слоям населения the general public :), unless you are a biologist or smth. Myself I got a little exposure to the insect world when I visited my Ukrainian great-grandmother during my childhood. There, I got acquainted with creatures like божья коровка (lit., God's little cow), жуки-солдатики (lit., little soldier beetles), колорадский жук (lit., Colorado beetle), and the most interesting one, медведка, which literally means “little bear thing” but in English is translated as mole cricket. My great grandmother had a big orchard and garden and a big potato field, I used to help her tend the land. To rid the potato bushes of the насекомое-вредитель “insect pest” колорадский жук “Colorado potato beetle” (which we threw in jars with kerosene). Sometimes we saw a nasty creature that looked like a black crawfish coming out from their земляных норок burrows, and that юрко проползало между картофельных кустов scrambled nimbly amidst the potato plants. Seeing them always gave me a nasty feeling. My grandmother usually перерубала их мотыжкой или тяпкой chopped them in two with a hoe or hand rake. it seemed to be the only way to kill them.

Медведки - dangerous creatures, they harm клубни картофеля potato tubers и другие корнеплоды and other root vegetables. They eat them up underground, and if there is a colony of медведок, they can consume the whole potato crop, leaving people without their food supply for the winter. If there is a conventional way to destroy their colonies - I don't know it. Do you? I am wondering if медведки exist in the US? Or are American potatoes safe? :)

Jan. 12, 2011, Don adds: here's a video that will really give you a good idea of just how gross those медведки are. The video is from antclub.ru.

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