Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/410

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
406
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE UTILIZATION OF AUXILIARY ENTOMOPHAGOUS INSECTS IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST INSECTS INJURIOUS TO AGRICULTURE
II
By Professor PAUL MARCHAL

THE NATIONAL AGRONOMICAL INSTITUTE, PARIS

Generalization of this Method. Different Applications

THE striking success brought about in the struggle against Icerya by the use of Novius cardinalis gave rise to great enthusiasm in favor of the method of fighting injurious insects by their parasites.

First in California, then in Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, under the auspices of Alex. Craw and his adepts, the application of this method became popular and enjoyed extreme favor. From the facts just given, they generalized to excess and imagined that in collecting beneficial insects and naturalizing them in the country where they proposed to use them, they would be able to check completely the plagues of agriculture.

Fight against the Fruit Fly. Compere's Mission.—No example appears to us to show better the belief inspired by this new method, the exaggerated hopes to which it gives birth, and the zeal with which it fills its promoters, than the incredible Odyssey around the world of Mr. Compere, charged at the beginning of 1903 by the government of West Australia with a mission having for its end the search for the home of the fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), and of finding the parasites which in its original home should limit its propagation. This fly, which is a great plague to fruit culture in South Africa, and which has also invaded western Australia, has also for us an interest, since it is abundant in all the Mediterranean regions where it is particularly injurious to oranges in Algeria and Tunis, and which several years ago even made its appearance in the suburbs of Paris, where it attacks peaches and apricots. The Ceratitis has for a long time existed in Mediterranean countries, and it is from this region that it was probably transported to the Cape of Good Hope and to Australia.

It would seem, then, natural to direct one's observations first to this locality. Nevertheless, the damage accomplished by this insect in the Mediterranean region appears to be too large to warrant the conclusion that this is its original home. Spain having received the famous fly from one of its colonies, one naturally thinks of the Philip-