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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62


page 15


The small bronze-beetle (Encolaspis bnunea) is proving a very serious pest in many orchards in the North, destroying the fruit of the apple, and also eating the leaves from the young shoots of the plum and the pear. Many inquiries have been made as to the best way of fighting this pest. As it is somewhat difficult to poison with Paris green, owing to its habit of feeding on the young growing points of the shoots and round the stalks of apples clustered together, the writer has found it best to take advantage of the habit the beetle has of falling from the tree when disturbed, to catch and destroy it. To do this, obtain sufficient lining-boards and fasten together in a square large enough to cover the ground beneath the branches of your largest trees. The square should be in two pieces, with a notch cut out of each where the trunk of the tree will come. Give the boards a good thick coat of gas-tar, and the apparatus is ready. Go to work by gently placing the tarred square beneath an infected tree, then give each main branch a good smart shake. A forked stick will greatly assist in reaching the upper ones. Down will fall the beetles, and stick in the tar. Proceed in a similar manner with the rest of the trees. In two or three days go over the orchard again, and a third time a little later. This will usually suffice to clear out the pest for the season.

Small trees may be cleared by shaking the beetles into an inverted umbrella, and then emptying them into an old milk-pan in which has been placed a small quantity of kerosene and water.

Orchards which are kept well cultivated and free from grass and weeds suffer but little from this pest.

L. H.

Another good plan, especially for uneven ground, is to obtain a large sheet of stout material, cut a slit from middle of one side to centre of sheet, bind the edges of slit strongly, and provide with strings or buttons and holes. Fix an eyelet in each corner of the sheet. Procure four pointed stakes with a small hook at top. Place the sheet so that the stem of the tree will be at bottom of the slit—i.e., centre of sheet—then button the slit over. Force the stakes into the ground, and lift a corner of the sheet to each hook. Then shake the tree, gather up the beetles, and tip them into a bucket containing water and kerosene.

Fires in the orchard at night will destroy a good many of the beetles.


By Authority: George Didsbury, Government Printer, Wellington.