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The Farm

The Farm image
Parent Issue
Day
10
Month
August
Year
1882
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

In all sections where clover, especially the red varieties, can be grown it ishighly prized, notonly asaforage and hay erop, but for the valuable soilrenovatingand enriching principies vvhich it contains. Henee anythiug that affects in any manner thesuccossfulraising of thia erop also directly affecta the iinancial interest of a vast number of farmers. Jt is well known that we already have several insecta that prey pon the clover plant, the most destructivo of which is the dover root horer. The dover seed loeevil or midge comes next. witli a few other enenies that do minor injury to the erop. ïhere isstill another one that for destructlveness seems to vie with any of those prcvicusly known. Knowing that the ex.tniiner circulates exteusively in clover-prodncing sections, 1 have prepared a short liistory of the discovery and operatlonsof this insect. About the lirst of May, of last year, in passing through a field of clover, 1 noticed that m;itiy of the leaves were badly eaten, and fouud the larva or worm of Bome insect present in va3t numbers. However, I paid but little attentlou to tho matter until the last of June, when I found the larva hud changed into a bettle, and that, con trary to the habiis of niostbeetlea.they were also f ee jjng upon the clover leaves. I at once fowarded specimens to Professor C. V. Kiley, at Washington, who pronounced it identical with the Pliytonvmi Pundatus of Europe, of a wellknown but (in Europe) harmless insect. Tlio tirst of August Professor Riley paid me a visit. and found the pest more destructiva than he had supposed. But littlc, ho wever, could be learned concc rningits ha'oits whilein the beetle state. Last week Professor E. A. Schwarz, AssistantEntoinologist, came en from Washington, and spent two days in a tliorough and cvitical study of the open üeld. He found that many of the last year'a beetles were still alive. Ile also found thereliwva of the beetle literally by the millions.and in all stages of growth, from those just hatched and no larger than a pin's head up to those f uil grown and fait halfan inch in length. As many as thirty-two werb counted feediug upon a single clover plant, and they were found to eat wlfch apparent rolish the leaves of the wlüte. red and alsike clovers. WHAT THEY LOOK LIK6. The beetle is adirty brown color, and vvould scarely be noticed. It is abont ono-third of an inch iii length, lias six legs, and is also provided with wings. but does not of ten fty. H is, however, a first walker. The beetle in the fall laya eggs of a golden yellow color, which are attached singly or in cluster of half a dozen or more to the inside of the old clover-stalks, about the exponed surface of the clover-planl, or npon sticks ahd rubbibli of any kind. One of the specimens forwarded to Washington laid 131 eggs during the fall. and no doubt this number would be considerablv increased in the oun fleld. ' In the spring af ter the clover has made some growth the eggscoinmence hatching, producing a larva of a palé green color, which immediately seeks and begins feeding upon the tender clover-leave3. The growth, while in this state, continúes several weeks. When f uil grown, it is usually of a dark green color. It now ís ready fortransformation, and buries itself about half an iuch in the earth and weaves about itself a woriderfully-made shelI, er rathher open net-work of oval forni. In his shell it remains several days, then eats It vvay through the cocoon, and comes forth a f uil iledged beetle, and like the larva, th? beetle at once beging to feed upon the clovor-plant. But instead of eating holes in the leaves, as the larya usually does, it begins at the margin and eats toward thé centre, or up and down the edge of the leaf. While .feeding itappears tobe ever upon the alert, and at the first sight of a moving object will fold its wings and tunible to the earth as if dead. It does not fail, however, to wake upandcommence operations as soon as you are out of sight. AKE TIIEY ?ESTIlUCTIVa ? Last year, in a üeld of seven acres, seeded with a mixture of clover and timothy.they completely destroyedthe clover upon one part of the fleld of about three acres in ex tent, while the remaining portions were badly injured, as well as other clover-flelds in the neighboruood and various parts of the town. This season the destruction is yery great in the adjoining towns, and judging by the past it will this year and next bo reported as appearing over a wide extent of country. In Europe there is an ichneumon lly or parasite tliat feeds upon thern, which no doubt keeps them under subjection, while the closet examination has failed to flnd any parasite in this country, and tlie authorities at Washington say it would be a ditlicult matter to import them. Af ter careful observatiou, I am led to believe that pasturing the iufected fields with cattle and horsea offers at present the one metiiod of destruction, as the weight of the animáis I flnd destroys an immense number of the cocoons, larvse and many of the beetles, although the latter will withstand quite a pressure jfithout injury. No injury has thus far resulted to tlia stock from feeding on infected pasturage, as the beetles and larvas when partly grown fall to the ground jia the stock approaches. Polsoaing would be simply impracticable, while pasturing with heavy stock will greatly reduce the numbers of the pest.

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Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat