Press enter after choosing selection

The Grasshopper

The Grasshopper image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The first record we have of loenste in America was made by ï'reneh ihíhhíoiiafies in California, over a lumilreil yenrs ago. In 1827, 1828 and 18,'Si they destroyod nll the crops, and again in 1838 and 181( did great damage in Upper California. Their first attaek on North Amoriea seenis to have boen made along tho Pacific coast. In South America they luid been known ye'ars beforo, and for hnlf a ecntury have ycarly visited tho Argentino liopublic. hnleed, in South America, in a latitudc corresponding with Louiniaiia and Texas, tliey have made agriculture almost wórthless and rendered the scftlonjiont of that jnagnificeut country betweén tlia Andes and tho Atlantic Ocean by a dense population almost impoKsible. In lookingintotliegrassliopper history of Minnesota, we find that they first appéared there, so far as known, in 1818 and 1819, or Roveral years after the record of them made by the missionaries on tho Pacific coast. In thoso years, according to Neill's History of Minnesota, grosshoppors appéared in that Territory to a greater number thr.n ever sincc. Thfey ate evory green thing, killed forest trees, and in sonie cases tho ground was ötJVercd three or four inéhës deep. The same seasons they swept over the Bed lliver country, in Manitoba. In 1855 there was a very general and disastrous grasshopper visitation all over the Western Territorios, from the Missouri river to the Pacific Oceau. The records show that that year they spread themselves over a surface comprised within thirty-eight degrees of latitude, and, in tho broadest part, cighteen degrees of longitudo. They rcduccd the Mormons at Salt Lake to a simpler diet than that of Jolm the Baptist, for they had the locusta without the honey. In 1856 they again made their appearance in Utah, California, Texas, Minnesota and Northwestern Iowa. 18G6 was another locust year, and sufflciently widespread to attract national attent'ion. Siuce then, op to that of last yens", the visitations wero local, causing damage, to be sure, but not widespread. Tho invasión of last year was tho most disastrous of all, for they swept down upon a land teeming with plenty. They came down toward the latter part of sumnier, deposited their eggs and left before frost. This spring the eggs hatched out, and henee the disaster to agricultura through tlris all región. The ground gave them forth by millions and tens of millions, aud they went forth devouring every greon thiog. THE HATCHING TROOESS. The fomale, when about to lay hei' eggs, f orces a hole in tho ground by means of two pairs of horny valves, which open and shut at the tip of tho abdomen, and which, from their peculiar structure, are admirably iitted for the pnrpose. Having drilled a hole, she deposits her eggs to the number of from thirty to a hundred. Tho opening to this egg mass is covered by tho mother, but tho young know the way out as soon as they ure hatched and can wigglo their lcgi. ' Coming to the surfaee, they foed upci vegetation until their wings are porfected, which requires from forty to sixty days. WHAT TnEY EAT. The Western grasshopper mn,y be said to be almost ommvorous. I am astonished at the evidences of their ravages upon all sidos. When it comes to stripping tho bark off from good-sized trees, it shows tho 'hopper to havo sharper tecth aml a tougher stomach and digestive apparatüs than we supposed. When a cloud of 'hoppers becomo famished they will oat most anything. They have boon known to fced upon the dry bark of trees, or tho dry lint of seasoned fenco plauks. They have been seon literally covering tho hoads of slu;ep, eatiug the dry wool, having first catcu evcrything that the poor shoep could feed on. When oue of their own members becomes dieabled, the stroug ones fall upon hún and est away at one end while be kicks at the other. But tliey do not do this if their food is abundant. Abovo all things thoy lore pon, cabbagc and cairots. A cloud of them will gut a fifty-acre corn-ñeld iu a day, eating the tender stalks to the very ground, and iuto it as far as they can reacjl. Next to coru they love wheat, and are not at all adverse to oats, eating them down to stubs, as though a reaper had been through. Turnips and potatoos they are partial to, but onions they particularly relish, leaving nothiug but a littlo of tho tough outer riud. Tobacoo plants they do not hanker af tor, and leave tbcm until overything else is leourel. They will oat tobáceo on a piuch, but, a countryman tells me, who lost a patch, "thoy seem to sorter kinder mako up a faee at it." I am told that the plant makes him sick, giving them tho stomachache and dizzmess in the head, much ns it does a man when he tries it. Irish potatoes they like pretty well, eating them down to tho ground, and sometimos into the ground. Tomatoes mul Bweet potatoes they do not eat at all if there is any other green thing on hand. As Isaid beforo, of all tho coreáis, corn is t&eir favorito, espeeialiy if it is young and They tíiko it to tho ground. If oíd and pretty dry and stiff tho stock is Ieït, but tho blades and silk goes, the Uk being the lirst they lay hold of. In fací they eat all the growing cercáis except broom-corB and sorghum, aud only eat these when othcr supplies are exhaudted. Buckwheat and ílax they aro very fond of. Perhaps their desire to put flax out of tho way ie from fear of retributiou. Noxt to corn and theii dioico oí vegèïables they aro fond of tho loaves of fruit trees. They strip apple and eherry troiH, loaying nothing but the fruit hanging on b.iro twips. Tho Leaves of tho peaeb are often left mitonchod, but tho unripe fruit is enten to tho sloiK-, whiüh is lcfthnngiug, reminding tho inliabitants of clepartod sweets. Kipo fruit tlicy seklom touch. They kill whole orohards, especially tho young trees, whichtlioy girdlc around the trunk and strip the top of foliage. These stripped, girdled and ruiued young Ines proHont a sad picture, for wo know that the loss can not soon or eisily be repaired, Forest trees do not encapo, but t-hoy aro, not often killed outright. Ash, willows and cottomvood they KKs best Stravl)C!i"ries and blackberrios are dovoured witn avidity, but they seldom touch ruspborries. Flowering shrubs very generally suffer, and they are partíoularly fond of roso and lilac. Grape vinos suffer more from the girdling of the fruit tenis tiltil from defoliation. The reader will observe that the 'hoppers havo a taste for about all that is useful to man, and that should they cover tho whole country at once, famiuo -wmüd be inevitable. Meu and grasshoppers ninuot both long inhábil the iimo


Old News
Michigan Argus