Gardening Articles

General Remarks On Insects

The time is not far distant when the American farmer will be obliged to put forth greater efforts to destroy noxious insects than he has hitherto. It is a well-known fact that noxious insects are increasing in a rapid rate throughout every part

of our land. The country is becoming so "buggy" that eternal vigilance is the price of every thing produced from the soil. Close observers calculate that more fruits of various kinds and varieties are annually destroyed or rendered worthless by insects than are gathered and used by man. The cotton-worm, the wheat-midge, the canker-worms, the potato-bugs, are each every year increasing in numbers and destructiveness. The "curculio" alone destroys millions of dollars' worth of fruit annually. It is a safe estimate, all things considered, that, if noxious insects of all descriptions could at once be annihilated throughout our country, and mildews of various classes be effectually held in check, the cost of living to our people would, in-a short time, be reduced to one third of its present amount. It is disheartening to see what a vast amount of grains, fruits, and vegetables is annually eaten up by the larvae, or appropriated by the perfect insects of various classes, merely for the sake of propagating their abominable species. Yet, in view of all the devastation, but feeble effort is made to abate the evil. Birds, many species of which nature seemingly designed on purpose to keep insects in check, are wantonly shot by lazy boys and indolent men, who range the fields and forests, killing all, from the humming-bird to the crow. Legislative enactments made expressly to protect the insectivorous songsters are every day violated with impunity. One man plants an orchard and does all he can to destroy noxious insects; another man near him also has an orchard, but his orchard serves no purpose but to propagate "curculios," "canker-worms," "bark-lice," "tent caterpillars," "codling moths," etc., for his neighbors, and, as a matter of course, the whole neighborhood swarms with noxious insects. If all cultivators would act in concert and with a will, insects might be reduced in numbers very rapidly. Most moths of night-flying insects are attracted to and destroyed by small bonfires kindled in still evenings during the summer months. Bottles half-filled with sweetened water, hung here and there, will trap countless bugs. Strong soap-suds applied immediately after they hatch is a sure remedy for plant lice. Molasses and water, to which a little arsenic has been added, placed in shallow dishes among the vines, is good medicine for potato-bugs, and all bugs in general. A lighted lamp placed in the centre of a common milk-pan, partly filled with water, the whole elevated a few feet from the ground, will, on a still evening, attract and destroy the wheat-midge and similar insects in great numbers. The calculations of the "curculio" and "codling moth" are brought to naught by turning hogs into the orchard to eat the stung fruit as it falls, and the larva that depastures upon the leaves of the current and gooseberry is destroyed by syringing the plants with a mixture of soap, salt, and water.

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