Do You Know That Beetles Like Acorn Trees (Oak)?


Let secrets be secrets

Do you know the green flash? Fairly infrequently, at the moment of sunrise or sunset, the upper rim of the Sun looks to flash in green. You might have learned it from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” On a similar note, I know another strange natural phenomenon. I believed it was, to be more precise. When it heavily snows at night, the sky looks tinged with orange here in Hokkaido. It was my special secret. One day, with an air of great importance, I shared the secret with my wife. Against my expectations, she said quite casually “Snow in the sky just reflects the street light.” I’ve decided in my heart not to tell her any more secrets.

Orange-tinted street lamps are gone

High-pressure sodium lamps are used for the street light in Hokkaido because the orange-tinted light improves visibility on snowy roads. According to my wife, who is not originally from Hokkaido, it had been very impressive and made her feel warm even in the world of which temperature always falls to sub-zero levels in winter. As society is moving toward the eco-friendly trend, however, the orange lamps have been replaced with brighter and more energy-saving LED lamps little by little. When I noticed this, what came through my mind is not a sentiment for the change of scenery but stag beetles. My bad feeling has come true. I learned insects were not attracted to LED because it doesn’t emit UV rays.

A chainsaw on the logs, in a winter forest under the clear blue sky.

Kids will lose an easy means to collect stag beetles in the future. Once in my childhood, every kid knew good street lamps in the neighborhood and went the rounds at night to collect them. As I wrote many times before, our hometown is surrounded by the mountains, and beetles came flying to street lamps from there.

Of course, we sometimes went into the mountains. Do you know what we used as a point of reference to find trees where beetles gather? It’s acorns. Yes, it’s oak trees. The material trees for our wooden furniture grow stag beetles. I should have noticed it sooner, but I keenly feel I have benefited a lot from the mountains around my hometown since I was a kid. By the way, is it only Japanese kids who are into beetles?


Photo Credit: Asahikawa City


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.