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A Harvest of Beetles.

The provincial official journals of Russia give some curious statistics of the harvest of beetles in the Southern Provinces. In many parts of Kharkoff the only harvest.reaped this year by the peasants has been that of the Anisoplia austriaca, for collecting which the local assemblage have granted small subsidies. The results of this harvest are weekly published in the Kharkoff Government Vcdomosti, and the number received to-day contains a long' list in continuation of previous ones.- From this we iearn that two tons of beetles have been reaped in the Commune of Veselandskij, five tons at Vasilievsky, seven tons at the German colonies at Belpzersk, and fifteen.tons at Prishiisk. Such figures as these but faintly bring home to the mind the ravages wrought by the insect pests of Russia, and their prostrating effects on the prosperity of the country. The visitation, indeed, is as extraordinary as it is beyond human skill to cope with. Fifteen years have elapsed since; the waves of the Black Sea first washed on the Russian shores the eggs of the Anisoplia austriaca, and yet, so fa l - from the phenomenon being exceptional in its character, it has been constantly repeated since, and the Odessa Vestnik received this morning contains another announcement that fresh “ swarms are ripening in the sun on the sands near Sebastopol.” Where- they come from is a mystery. The larvre is first seen floating on the waves of the Black Sea, the beetles break into life as. sopn as the eggs get stranded on the shore, and then swarm after swarm of Anisoplia : austriaca pass over the Crimean valleys into the interior, every year increasing the area of their ravages, and every year diminishing by millions the sorry earnings of Russian peasants. How to deal with the evil is one of the great problems of to-day in . Russia. Machines of all descriptions have been tried, but have proved more or less worthless, as indeed must all mechanical appliances against a pest so vast that a single field in Kharkoff was calculated to contain 350,060,000 insects. ’ A short while ago it was said that a fly had been discovered with a propensity for killing corn-beetles, and it may be safely - assumed that it will only be by means of some such antagonistic insect, or by the. agency of birds at present absent from the Russian steppes, that the evil will be ultimately supressed. ,

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Bibliographic details

A Harvest of Beetles., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 208, 4 December 1880

Word Count

A Harvest of Beetles. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 208, 4 December 1880