"I was afraid. If you haven't been there, you can hardly believe it", says Bolle who called the Mayor in a panic reaction. "It was spectacular indeed", confirms Jan Bekaert. "The beetles were everywhere and were on their way to the neighbours." A special firm came to the site to kill the animals.
The incident is probably linked to climate change. Frank Vanroose of the farmers' union Boerenbond explains: "We had similar reports in recent weeks from the Ichtegem, Eernegem and Aartrijke region. You see the beetles mostly in fields were potatoes were grown the year before."
Long dry spells and the absence of periods of frost in winter account for this phenomenon. "Potatoes left on the field are not destroyed by frost, and grow back the year after, between the corn." This is the perfect habitat for potatoe beetles which feed on potato crops. Dry summers followed by mild winters are also conditions that favour them. "When the beetles are looking for a new potato field, they leave the corn field. That's when they entered Gilbert's home."