42 days ago

Mystery surrounds hundreds of black beetles: Te Atatu South.

Caryn Wilkinson Reporter from Community News

Mystery surrounds the gathering of hundreds of South African black beetles outside Countdown Te Atatu South on Tuesday night.

Concerned shoppers posted on a Facebook community page that they had seen a swarm of the critters on the footpath, spreading to the carpark.

A resident reported a security guard was trying to sweep them from the door outside the supermarket.

Beetle scientist Rich Leschen from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research said the South African black beetles were nocturnal creatures.

"They're active at night, flying around looking for mates."

Leschen said the huge number of beetles may have been attracted to the bright artificial lights outside the west Auckland supermarket.

"They're really gathered there by the light, not there to get toilet paper," he said.

"One thing is they will probably be more active with the warmer nights which is normal for a lot of insects in general.

"They might be more active because of the rain."

Leschen said the adults were harmless but large numbers of larvae could remove the leaves of some trees, according to literature.

"I haven't seen them defoliate leaves here," he said.

"In my opinion, I think they're probably more critical as turf and pasture pests.

"Everyone probably has them in their garden. The blackbirds are able to find the larvae when they're close to the surface and they dig 'em out from the tufts in the grass."

Leschen said there were thousands and thousands of species of beetles in New Zealand with many more yet to be discovered.

He decided to study natural history when he was a young biology student, "so I just gravitated to beetles, maybe because there's so damn many of them."

Leschen said his affinity for the insects evolved over time and was unrelated to a traumatic childhood encounter.

"I think I was three years old and I stuck my finger in its mandibles and this is quite a large beetle in the United States," he said.

"It bit me and I hated it. I was screaming and crying and I killed it.

"It didn't really influence me at all to work with beetles."

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1 day ago

'Embarrassing' - Air NZ weighs its passengers

Brian from New Lynn

Passengers on Air New Zealand flights were today asked to submit to having more than their luggage weighed before take-off. Travellers were told that they needed to have themselves weighed as well. Broadcaster Hilary Barry shared her own experience, tweeting that the experience was "not ideal". Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity Officer Captain David Morgan told that it was a regulatory requirement. "A customer and crew weight survey is completed every five years to meet regulatory requirements," he said. "In order to fly safely and efficiently, we need to calculate the weight, balance and fuel requirements of each and every flight ahead of take-off. To do this, we need to know the average weight of our passengers, crew and cabin baggage. "All data is collected anonymously and results cannot be seen by the data collection team or other customers. Although participating is not compulsory, we do really appreciate our customers helping out." Kiwis took to social media to share their views on Air New Zealand's weigh day, with a number sharing mixed views. "Funny. That is approximately how often I weigh myself," one joked. Another added: "It genuinely wouldn't be embarrassing at all if society wasn't so fatphobic." A third said: "Happens in the UK as well. In the UK no one sees the person's weight. It is to keep up with the full weight of a plane to ensure that safety is maintained. "Can't see an issue. Makes me feel comfortable that safety issues are maintained. Well done Air NZ." It's not the first time this has happened around the world. In 2016, Hawaiian Airlines requested passengers step on the scales prior to boarding as part of a wider survey so staff could assess where they're best seated in the aircraft. The policy emerged publicly after two American Samoan businessmen complained to the US Transportation Department that Hawaiin Airlines had forced them to take to the scales prior to their flight from American Samoa to Honolulu. The airline insisted the process was necessary because the Boeing 767 aircraft it used on that particular journey required an even distribution of weight. Scandinavian airline Finnair has been weighing passengers since 2017, stating that it's purely for research purposes. Uzbekistan Airways also require passengers to step on the scales, in an effort to "ensure flight safety".
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3 days ago

RAMADHAN KAREEM

Brian from New Lynn

Greetings to all our MUSLIM brothers and sisters on Neighbourly.
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