Petr, I would say, has the most informative web site on flower beetles – www.flower-beetles.com is filled with beautiful photographs, listing different species, and accounts of Petr’s various African trips in search of beetles. There is also great advice on captive breeding and a page of useful links.
1. What got you first interested in beetles, Petr?
I probably inherited entomological genes from my father. But since my childhood I collected minerals. Then when I was 18 years old I bought my first alive flower-beetle – Eudicella tetraspilota, soon after Dicronorrhina micans and Chelorrhina polyphemus. Within the next few months the mania expanded and I put together all the tropical beetle populations in Czech Republic. Then to get more – the only way was to travel to tropical countries – and my heart led me to Africa.
2. What, would you say, is the most interesting thing about keeping flower beetles?
Having a piece of nature in my house and when you start breeding I like the impatient expectation for „what comes out“, especially when I start breeding with larvae. I still believe one day a big golden beetle will hatch….. and I´m still waiting…..
Hehe…I wonder if it will ever happen…
3. Do you think the interest in flower beetles is growing? (Are there more amateur entomologists now?)
I think so. But many of them soon lose interest and stop. I miss people who get into breeding seriously. Simply fanatics like me. It costs time and energy. But, the less care you give your beetles, the less success you may expect.
4. What’s the most difficult / negative thing about keeping flower beetles?
Also you must reconcile with the fact that despite all the best care – you often fail especially with difficult species. And there is another negative thing about keeping beetles – those little flies coming out of the substrate, they are worse than a plague….
Yes, all those little annoying flies that miraculously appear when there’s banana around!
5. We’d love to hear about your recent trip to Tanzania…
It was very hot and dry, not a very suitable time for beetle collecting, but I got used to being in Africa either too early or too late for the main insect swarming. The country is very large and my boss allowed me only 3 weeks holidays, so I decided to make a loop over southern parts where I expected to find some good unknown flower beetle species. But to find them was difficult, mainly because their primary natural habitats have disappeared, and in the middle of corn fields you only can find a few common insect species. Anyway I came back home safe and alive with new African adventures and experiences.
6. Where do you think you might travel next?
I´d like to make a trip to Benelux this spring with my girfriend. I already said earlier that I´m fanatic regarding beetles, but even fanatics sometimes need a break and instead of hunting in the bush – go for some sightseeing like normal people do. Then for entomolgical trips – many plans where to go next, but only God knows if any of these dreams will come true.
I hope you have a lovely time in Benelux with your girlfriend. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind you looking at any wild beetles you may come across though 😉
Sadly my breeding room space is limited and I´m keeping only a small population of each species. Unfortunatelly I cannot satisfy supplying everyone who is asking for live insects. In the last few years there has been less and less time for breeding, and I breed beetles mainly for my friends and some leftovers for myself. But beetle breeding still makes me happy!
Thank you Petr for letting me interview you for the i love flower beetles’ blog 😀
You can view Petr’s web site at www.Flower-Beetles.com where you can also contact him 🙂
S tephanie F aith 2011