Christs’ Cockchafers Castrate Lawn

Cockchafer beetles savage Christ’s College iconic front lawn

beetle christs college lawn

The arrival in Cambridge of a creature named ‘cockchafer’ does not bode well. However, the male population may sleep soundly tonight: cockchafers, a type of beetle, are interested in one thing only- grass.

The entirety of Christ's College First Lawn has been savaged by the mini-beasts

Until recently, it was one of the most beautiful lawns in Cambridge, with the iconic round turf once a favourite haunt of Charles Darwin. 

After the attack, all that remained was a mass of large brown patches. 

Chaos ensued, leaving the college in a state of “distress” according to deputy chief gardener, Lottie Collis.

Collis told The Tab the “awful” appearance of the lawn has had a “devastating” effect on the population of Christ’s.

Fear continues to grip College staff who are exhausting resources to eradicate the "horrible little things". 

Over the past two years, Christs’ gardeners have tried method after method.

When pesticides and birds failed, they introduced flesh-eating Nematode worms.

Despite sounding like an alien race, the Nematodes were no match for the vicious cockchafers, who lie dormant under the ground until late spring, when they surface and feast on the foliage of plants and trees.

Dr Geoffrey Ingham, honorary garden steward at Christ's, says cockchafers, or Phyllopertha Horticola, can "survive in grassland for many years". 

This is also bad news for colleges such as St John's and St Catherine's, where the beetles have already begun causing further problems. 

A team of gardeners was eventually called in to tear up the whole of Christ’s 1,740 square foot lawn. 

Collis claims that, after reseeding, the lawn is "looking a bit greener now. We're all hoping they'll be gone for good". 

However, only time will tell if the gardeners have finally found the method to protect Cambridge from the wrath of the Cockchafers.