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infer, that what is best for man must be best for insect too. The thought of such an army, all engaged in foraging upon man's dominions, is enough to fill the cultivator with dismay; and many, finding the havoc made among their fruits and flowers by these innumerable agents, have left the field in despair. But, properly regarded, it appears to be one of those evils which are necessary to bring out the energies, to quicken the attention, and to call into action those higher faculties which make the human animal a man. Doubtless it would be pleasanter to the housewise, to be exempt from the visitation of those spectres which make night hideous, and to live where no moth might corrupt food and raiment ; the agriculturist, too, would be greatly delighted, if all his minute persecutors, like those which once infested Egypt, could be swept off wholesale to the Red Sea. But the question is not what they would like best, but what would be best for them; and, thus considered, it is evident that these, like all other physical inconveniences, are blessings in fantastic disguises, and could not be removed without opening the way for evils more evil than themselves. This very Report is an illustration of the good which may come from being thus afflicted. Here are great intelligence, observation sharp as a needle, and unflinching patience, devoted to the investigation of the subject. The naturalist takes hold of it with his grappling irons, and will not let it go, till he has traced the insect through all its changes in its underground caverns, enabling us to distinguish foes from friends, and showing us where, in case we proceed against them, our efforts can be best applied. But this is not all; for out of this field, apparently so unpromising, he has drawn rich and beautiful illustrations of wisdom and goodness, which force from us the acknowledgment, that, little as we love them, “ the hand that made them is divine."
We do wrong, however, to speak always, as if all the insect race were at war with man. Nor indeed can it be truly said of any. The worst they can be charged with, is, pursuing their own interest without regard to ours; and, if ihis be a sin, they can plead various hunian examples in mitigation of damages ; and they may reasonably demand of us to show, why that same course of conduct should be worthy of death in a bug, which is so much praised and honored in
As we become better acquainted with them, we invariably find that their injuries are less, and their services greater, than we had supposed. Sometimes the injury itself, as it seems, results in good, long after the insect is hunted down. From our past experience we may infer, that their reputation will continue to rise, since the harm they do is obvious, but the good is more slowly developed, and, therefore, later discovered. We already know that in the first order, of Coleoptera, the tiger, the ground, and the diving beetles, and the wellknown lady-birds, who, though so often warned of the danger of their house and family, persevere in their labors in the orchard, are very efficient coadjutors with birds in removing the destroyers of trees. Many others, of unsavory name and habits, work as scavengers, in removing filth which would otherwise pollute the air. There are others, which fasten themselves on corrupt vegetable matter, and help forward that process of decay, which converts the dead plants into nourishment for the living. Surely, tried by this standard, insects are far from deserving to be trodden down; and if the day ever comes when usefulness shall be the title to respect, many a poor bug will rise into glorious eminence by the side of many men who have been honored and admired by the world.
In the first order, Coleoptera, or insects with sheathed wings, are some which are very injurious to vegetation, both when they have taken to themselves wings, and also in the earlier stages of their existence; particularly those called Melolontha, because they were oddly enough supposed to proceed from the flowers of apple trees, as the name implies. We have nothing which compares with the European cock-chafer in numbers, nor in the extent of its depredations. But our May beetle is sufficiently troublesome in devouring leaves, to make it necessary to proceed against it ; which can be most effectually done, as Dr. Harris suggests, by shaking the trees in the morning, when they do not attempt to fly, and collecting the insects from the ground. The grub is a great destroyer of the roots of grass ; but it is kept down by crows and barn-door fowls, not to mention the skunk, whose merits are now so little acknowledged, but who will doubtless be in better odor, when this important fact in his history in generally known.
The most destructive of these insects is the rose-chafer, or rose-bug, as it is generally called, which has for many years been increasing in numbers, and bids fair to multiply to an indefinite extent, since nothing short of crushing can destroy its tenacious hold on life. When it was first noticed, it was very mysterious in its visitations. Vines were found covered with it, where there was not one the day before. At first it confined its attentions to roses, when they could be had ; but now grape vines, fruit trees, forest trees, and vegetables of the garden, are covered by these pests, which cling to them in silent indifference to all that man can say or do. It is now found, that this is one of the cases, in which troubles come from the ground. The opening of the darnask rose is the signal for its rising ; all that are ready to take wing come forth, rejoicing in the privilege of doing more mischief above ground than they have been able to do below. All their transformations are completed in a year. In the month of July, the females enter the ground, lay their eggs, and then return to the
air to die. The eggs of each are about thirty in number, and are deposited from one to four inches beneath the surface. They are hatched in twenty days, and the young grubs immediately begin to feed on the roots within their reach. In October, they descend below the reach of frost, and pass the winter in a torpid state. In the spring, they return to the surface, where each one fashions for itself a little oval cell, in which it completes its transformations. Since it is thus entirely beyond our reach in the earlier stages of its existence, there is no resort but to shake it from the trees, and gather it from the fruits and flowers. All the efforts of birds, devil's needles, and other friends of humanity, are wholly insufficient to keep their numbers down.
The family of weevils belong to the first order, and the name is sufficiently well known not to belong to a public benefactor. The most common with us, perhaps, is the pea weevil, though every eater of green peas is employed in reducing their numbers, and with a success which must be very gratifying to a benevolent' heart. During the flowering season and immediately after, the insect pierces the tender pod, laying one egg in each seed, from which a small, light-colored grub proceeds without much delay. By the time the pea becomes dry, the weevil has reached its full size, and begins to bore its way from the centre to the hull, generally without injury either to the hull or the germ. By the spring it becomes a beetle, and gnaws a hole through the hull in order to escape into the air. The weight of the pea is diminished about one half by this operation. If the pea is eaten whole when dry, the beetle is generally eaten with it; but though revenge may be sweet, the flavor of the pea-bug adds little to the amount of gratification. It is very considerate on the part of these vermin to spare the germ, so that a pea will grow when sown, even after it has been eaten almost to the shell ; but this forbearance is probably exerted in favor of the children of pea-bugs, rather than of men.
One of the most pernicious of the weevils is that which takes its name from the white pine. This tree is the pride of the American forest, distinguished for its beauty of form, and very important in ship-building. Its value for masts depends very much on the straightness of the stem ; and if the leading shoot be destroyed, the tree is deformed and rendered useless. Upon this shoot, the eggs of this nuisance are laid. The grubs produced from them bore into the wood in various directions, and, after doing all the mischief in their power, come out in September and October, leaving the shoot perforated in such a manner that it cannot recover. Happily a sort of ichneumon-Ay finds his interests identical with those
and manages to put an end to the ravages of this destroyer, where human power could not reach him.
But the most troublesome of the weevils are those which officiate in our gardens. Every horticulturist knows to his sorrow, that his unripe apricots, plums, peaches, and cherries, fall in consequence of the doings of an insect, which stings the fruit as soon as it is formed, allotting one egg to each, and so proceeding with all upon the tree. This insect is the plum-weevil, and is the same which may be found in the black excrescence, that so often disfigures the plum tree, the branches of which, as Dr. Harris supposes, they resort to in default of fruit, should there be none upon the trees when they happen to rise out of the ground. His advice is, that, when the insects are seen in the beetle form, and are engaged in laying their eggs, the trees should be smartly shaken every morning and evening. The insects do not attempt to fly, but contract their wings and fall; they may thus be caught in sheets spread under the tree, and disposed of at pleasure. All the fruit which falls in consequence of their attacks, should be carefully gathered, and the diseased excrescences should be cut from the trees and burned, before the last of June. NO. 114.
But while the depredations on the orchard are the most vexatious, the injury done to forest trees is a more serious evil, since it is not so easy to point out the means by which it may be arrested. The painted Clytus has acquired an iofamous notoriety from its destruction of the locust-tree, one of our most beautiful and valuable trees, both for timber and shade. The insect is gay in appearance, and, to see it glittering in its gold-laced suit of black velvet, no one would suspect its true character. It is a remarkably civil beetle, at least to those of its own race; since two hardly ever pass each other without a profusion of bows. But the female lays its eggs in the crevices of the bark, and, as soon as the grubs are hatched, they aim at the inner parts of the tree. The winter renders them torpid ; but in the spring they mine into the wood, till the branch or stem is disfigured and perforated in such a manner, as to be easily broken by the wind. The consequence is, that the trees, when the insects prevail, become unfit for ornament or use; and, as no means have been thus far devised, which have the least effect to destroy or repel the enemy, the cultivation of the locust-tree must be abandoned. They cannot even be disposed of by giving up the tree for a time ; for we see the insect feeding on the blossoms of the golden-rod, and, if deprived of one kind of food, they will easily supply themselves with another.
Unfortunately the sugar maple, another of our forest trees, has fallen under the destroying ravages of another Clytus, called speciosus, or the beautiful, a name to which, if its doings alone are regarded, it is but poorly entitled. Those who have cultivated this tree, have seen the progress of decay commence at the end of one of the limbs, and gradually extend, till the whole were dead ; but, till the Reverend Mr. Leonard, of Dublin, New Hampshire, traced out the cause, it was very little known. This large insect, about an inch in length, lays its eggs on the trunk of the maple in July and August. The grubs, as soon as hatched, 'burrow in the bark, and are thus sheltered during the winter. In the spring they penetrate the wood, forming long, winding galleries up and down the stem. About midsummer, they are changed to beetles, and prepare a race to succeed them in their destructive labors, and to finish what their short-lived sires begun.
Among the beetles are found the Cantharides, which are more useful in medical practice than injurious in agriculture ;