Garden enemy number one: the rose chafer



Kate Aley

The first time I saw a rose chafer flying past me, I was actually charmed. So small, so funny, bumbling through the air with an almost velvet-like olive coloured carapace contrasting nicely with comically splayed-out shiny orange legs. That was then.


Fact is, the rose chafer (Macrodactylus subspinosus) will "chafe", that is skeletonize, pretty much everything in it's path, particularly any flower that has large colorful petals such as roses, peonies and irises.

I won't tell you about them here. If you have them in your garden, you know all this. If you don't, look them up, I beseech you. There's certainly plenty about them to read and be appalled by.

One year, chafers totally devastated our apple trees: leaves, buds and blossoms. This year, they are now busy in the grape vines, having come out a bit late for the iris.

I've tried soap spray, garlic spray, even a spray I made out of other rose chafers... Yeah, that was a bad year.

I got these traps with a pheromone lure but I'm still not convinced of their efficiency.

What always works is cutting off the swarming flower head and plunging the whole thing deep into a bucket of hot soapy water. They're dead in seconds. It involves a bit of work but it's 100% foolproof. If you get them early or late in the day, they'll be a bit dozy and won't bail out in wriggling hordes the second they sense danger. It's a terrible shame to cut all your flowers in their prime, but I can assure you they won't be very picturesque for long.

Bring a massive bouquet or two in for the dining room table and then go grimly to work.

[Of course, make sure you squish or drown all the chafers that will inevitably later emerge from the flowers and go staggering around the house like hung over booze hounds.]

With no soap added, chafers will float around in the water struggling gamely for hours, which is horrible and unnecessary. However, sometimes they are obliging enough to fly into the bucket of water, especially if it is white. [Ask at your local restaurant for those nice square buckets that industrial strength mayonnaise comes in: they're perfect.]

Apparently, there are pesticides or nematode treatments for chafers which will destroy them while underground in their larval stage. But hate them as I do, I haven't taken that fatal step. Yet.

The point I especially want to make is we've got to stop the chafers from spreading.... So be careful when dividing and giving away plants that have been under a chafer attack and be very careful when cutting and giving away flowers. 

You only need two chafers to make two million of them, seems to me. And since their main activities appear to be eating and -- um --- fornicating, usually simultaneously, it's clear the world needs less chafers, not more. Be vigilant and keep that hot soapy water coming.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Celebrating weeds (not weed)


Look what I found in a particularly weedy part of my garden: the first Monarch caterpillar I've seen a very very VERY long time.






I found that chubby little fellow lurking on a blade of grass so I moved him to this leaf, where he lay like a slug for quite a long time. Then I saw that he'd done a neat u-turn. Then I saw he'd eaten a patch of the leaf and taken off like a maniac. No idea where went. Looked everywhere. So I assume he's out there.

Let your milkweed grow. 

Creative summer art classes



Kate Aley

Get some colour into your life this summer with bright new art courses at the Pontiac School of the Arts in Portage du Fort. This year, classes include watercolour painting, printmaking, screen writing and floor cloths (a durable painted canvas mat). 

Now in it's 14th year, the Pontiac School of the Art's mission is to inspire creative discovery in everyone.

For Over 8 MONTHS We’ve Had NO Emergency Route



Ashley Graveline



As someone who lives on Baie road and heads up to Quyon often, it really starts to hit how long Alary road has been washed out — and how annoying it is to detour around to head up to Quyon, Shawville etc.

The beginning of everything: "Origins" watercolour show opens



Kate Aley

You are invited to an extraordinarily moving exhibition of new work by renowned Luskville painter, Ruby Ewen.

Entirely painted in watercolour, the pieces immerse the viewer into multiple magical realms of creationism, imagination and classic myth.

Show runs: Friday, June 22 (opening event, 6 -- 8 p.m.) to July 22, 2018

Site: Stone School Gallery, 28 Mill St., Portage du Fort.

Cooking meets trucking at new restaurant



Kate Aley

After two years of extensive renovations, Au Coin du Camionneur, also known as Trucker's Corner, opened in Luskville on Sunday June 17. 

Owners Benoit Galipeau and Robert Bergeron have completely reconfigured the building at the corner of the Eardley-Masham Road and Highway 148. New lighting, comfortable seating and large windows that open onto a breezy patio create an inviting ambience.

Building a new future for Pontiac with slaughterhouse project



Kate Aley

After five years of planning, construction has now started on the Les Abattoir les Viandes du Pontiac. Set on five acres on the outskirts of Shawville, the slaughterhouse is the brainchild of Quyon entrepreneur Alain Lauzon and three partners, Sofian Elktrousie, Ibrama Diagne and promoter Gilles Langlois.

“We are aiming to be open by end of October,” said Lauzon last week, as he watched forms being set for more concrete to be poured.

Turtle S.O.S.: Save Our Shells!


Trouble in paradise.

It's June and that means those crazy turtles are once again roaming dirt side roads and busy highways alike; intent on finding mates, water and good nesting places as they have always done, paying no mind to the deadly wheels zooming past. I stop for a lot of turtles at this time of the year and so far we have all lived to fight another day. However I have never seen a turtle stuck in the bone-dry and baking-hot rink at the Luskville Community Centre before. Bad turtle terrain for sure.

Open letter to the Municipality of Pontiac recognizing the work of our municipal firefighters



Sandra Barber

To whom it may concern:

Re: Recognition of volunteer Firefighters

While sitting at our dining table enjoying our first coffee of the day on Sunday, May 20 at 6 a.m., my husband and I both heard a very loud “thunk” and wondered what the heck it was. Curiosity motivated my husband to investigate further; he checked our basement, nothing amiss. Checked the living room located on a lower level, noticed a man sitting outside on the guard rail.