1919 Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory Of
Genesee County, Michigan
Troublesome Pests


By Holice, Clayton, and Debbie




Frequent warnings to speed the plow in order that the food supply shall not suffer, may induce some to begin seeding the winter wheat shortly after small grain is harvested, or immediately after the corn is removed and placed in the silo. And that is just why the bug editor is inclined to say, "wait a while."

It is only by waiting that the crop can be made secure against the ravages of the Hessian fly, an insect which causes more damage to the wheat crop in the United States than any other insect pest. During seasons when the fly is especially abundant, hundred of thousand of acres of wheat are either totally destroyed or so badly injured that the yield is reduced fifty to seventy-five per cent. Money losses run far up into the millions.

Disking stubble ground, or burning stubble immediately after harvesting the grain, thorough preparation of the seedbed, late seeding and the use of good seed, are effective measures for controlling the pest in winter-wheat growing regions. A trap crop of wheat may be sown immediately after harvest and disked under later in the fall before seeding the main crop. In spring wheat growing sections, late seeding will not apply; on the contrary, the earlier it is sown in the spring, the less it seems to suffer from this pest.

The general rule for winter-wheat seeding is that there should be a difference of one day for each ten miles of difference in latitude, and seeding should be approximately one day earlier for each 100 feet of increase in elevation. There is usually, however, a period of several weeks in all the winter-wheat area where sowing may take place with about equal results. This period is longer as one proceeds to the southward.


After seventeen years of study the Kansas grasshopper has been reduced to a harmless quantity. The grasshoppers that do the damage are native. That is, they develop and perpetuate themselves on one farm; they do not move about. Of course, no one should confuse these native grasshoppers with the hordes of small red ones that used to sweep down from the North in armies. The latter, raised in arid land, are forced to migrate to obtain food.

In the counties that provide the materials, poison is spread on the farms. The formula used in the following, obtained after years of experimenting: No. 1. Two and a half pounds Paris green or white arsenic; fifty pounds bran (mix these dry). No. 2. Six oranges or lemons, chopped up fine, rind and all; four quarts syrup; five galls water (mix these three together thoroughly). Mix Nos. 1 and 2, then add sufficient water to make a wet mash.

The lemon and orange in the mixture attract the grasshoppers, who find it irresistible and deadly. A scientific count showed that from two-thirds to three-quarters had been killed.

Alfalfa should be disked and cross-harrowed early in the spring as soon as the frost leaves the ground. This throws out the eggs of the grasshoppers, to be destroyed by the weather and eaten by the birds. This method of culture, first advocated by the University of Kansas, not only lessens the number of grasshoppers, but also has been proved to increase the yield of the alfalfa fully one-third. Scatter the poison, disk the fields and say "Good-bye" to the Kansas Grasshopper.



Published By Wilmer Atkinson Company, Philadelphia, 1919

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