Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/120

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resulting in the rapid destruction of all. While this is experimental work, and may not invariably give the satisfactory results to be wished for, it illustrates in a striking manner one way in which science is working in the interests of agriculture.

In 1887 what is known as the gypsy moth (Ocneria dispar) was discovered in eastern Massachusetts. This insect was originally brought to Massachusetts from France, where it is exceedingly destructive to vegetation, and especially the foliage of trees. When first found in Massachusetts its character was not known by the finder, but when later examined by Prof. Fernald, of the State Agricultural College, he, knowing its nature, at once began an investigation to ascertain how much of a foothold it had in the State. It was located in numerous towns. The Legislature was advised of the dangerous character of the insect. A State law was enacted to provide against the depredations of the gypsy moth. Several commissioners were appointed and money appropriated to eradicate the insect. During the entire growing season of 1892 bands of men were engaged in destroying this insect in its various forms, and every effort is being made to prevent its further increase.

Perhaps the most serviceable labor given by science to the cultivator, in its application to insects, is the invention and perfection of insecticides. A great number of experiments have been conducted in agricultural colleges and experiment stations over the country with solutions and powders with which to kill injurious insects. Arsenic in different preparations, carbolized plaster, kerosene, hellebore, pyrethrum, hot water, and Bordeaux mixture have been in use and tested in many ways, so that, as a result of this work, standard insecticides can be recommended to farmers generally, which may be easily made at home out of simple ingredients. What is termed the kerosene emulsion is perhaps, all things considered, the best general insecticide in use. This may be made as follows, following Cook's directions:[1] Dissolve in two quarts of water one quart of soft soap or one fourth pound of hard soap, by heating to boiling; then add one pint of kerosene oil, and stir violently for from three to five minutes. This can then be diluted with twice its bulk of water for use. This emulsion will destroy lice on both live stock and plants.

Finally, we have in the United States nearly fifty experiment stations where trained men are working in the interests of agriculture—men whose one aim is to conduct research of benefit to mankind. Considering this fact, and that numerous scientists outside of the stations are also engaged in a class of work that of

  1. Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 76, October, 1891, p. 5. Kerosene emulsion.