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The Key West citizen. [volume] (Key West, Fla.) 1879-current, May 09, 1947, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016244/1947-05-09/ed-1/seq-3/

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DDT 'Aids Health, Saves Millions in America
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SPRAYING corn, cattle helps checks enormous pest damage.
By ALEXANDER R. GEORGE
AP Newsieatures Writer
WASHINGTON. —The value of DDT to farm and city people is
being increased steadily.
Extensive tests of the war-bora insecticide by agricultural
nyie"H* show promise for control of many pests which damage
field crops, gardens, orchards, forests, and livestock. Mean
while, more and more people are using it for protection against
humffrti diseases carried by houseflies, mosquitoes and lice.
DDT sprays or dusts have "increased amazingly" the beef
and milk production of cows pestered by horn flies, boosted po-
tato yields and reduced the I
damage of certain cotton pests. |
They controlled the European!
cam borer in several experi
ments and destroyed heavy in-!
festations of Japanese beetles
and gyspy moths.
Emulsions containing DDT have,
given good protection to shade
trees and shrubs against many]
other defoliating insects, includ
ing the locust leaf miner, elm leaf
beetle, cankerworm, and tent
caterpillar. DDT is tough on car
penter ants and other insects that
attack logs and woodwork of
buildings.
However, the insect experts
warn that DDT is not a cure
all for all insect problems. They
say. moreover, that its indis
criminate use may damage im
portant food or seed crops and
destroy beneficial insects which
keep certain injurious insects
under controL
The Department of Agriculture,
in cooperation with various state
agricultural agencies has been
testing DDT for more than four,
years. The department’s Bureau ]
pf Entomology and Plant Quaran- j
tine suggests these precautions in :
using the potent insecticide: ]
1. Care should be taken to
avoid excessive residues of DDT
on fruits and other parts of plants
of plant products to be used as
human food.
2. Persons should avoid re
peated or prolonged exposure to
DDT in oil solutions as it is read
ily absorbed through the skin.
3. Extra caution should be tak
en when using oil sprays in build
ings because of its inflammable
nature.
4. DDT oil sprays should not be
used on animals because DDT
may be absorbed by the skin.
5. It’s a good idea to consult
your county agricultural agent or
state experiment station about
the use of DDT.
The bureau points out that
while there is no known proven
case of DDT having been in
jurious to humans, it is never
theless a poison. Therefore, it
advises that persons be careful
not to swallow DDT or to leave
oil solutions of the insecticide
on the skin for any length of
time.
DDT is soluble in oil but not
water. j
The bureau says that in field
tests, DDT has given excellent
control of Japanese beetles on
grapes, early apples, peaches, and
miscellaneous trees and shrubs.
Experiments show DDT to be
a potent weapon against the cod
ling moth, a fruit pest. However,
in tests in nearly all sections of
the country, destructive mites de
veloped to serious proportions in
DDT-treated plots except when
Xanthone was included in the
spray. Three applications of DDT
on apples in Hudson Valley, New
ork, reduced infestations of the
apple maggot from 25 percent to
2 percent.
Scientists say that because of
DDTs effectiveness against the
European corn borer, it is pos
sible control of this insect on
canning and field corn may be
come practical.
. Fungicide dusts and sprays, to
which DDT was added, controlled
infestations of Colorado potato
beetles and potato flea beetles.
In some cases, the treatment in
creased the potato yield by 70
percent. The fungicide-DDT com
bination appeared to have no ad
verse affect on the potato plants.
The insect experts say DDT is
well established as “the perfect
answer” to the bedbug problem.
It also is an important weapon in
combating -sand flies, several
species of ants in buildings, fleas
in houses, and brown dog ticks in
floor coverings and baseboards.
A 10 percent DDT powder may
be dusted on dogs which have
brown ticks. About one-fourth
teaspoonful is dusted over the en
tire body of the average-sized ani
mal. Cats should not be treated
with DDT because they lick them
the key west crnzEK
• : -. • - iSHHH
selves and can swallow enough of
the poison to make them sick.
Soil treatment with DDT has
shown indication of becoming a
practical way of controlling the
white-fringed beetle which feeds
on a number of crops in some
southern states. Infestations of
leafhoppers, the alfalfa weevil,
thrips and aphids in seed alfalfa
Have been controlled with DDT.
The insecticide has proved very
effective against the gypsy moth,
destroyer of foliage in the north
eastern part of the country.
Extensive tests indicate DDT
is a good remedy for such cot
ton pests as the bollworm. stink
bug, and plant bug. However,
DDT was not as effective as
calcium arsenate against the
boll weevil, an insect which
takes a tenth of the cotton crop
each year.
DDT will control several spe- 1
cies of Lygus bugs that attack the
seed stalks and seed of sugar
beets. It has not been found effec
tive for control of the sugar cane
borer. In sugar cane plots treated
with DDT, populations of yellow
sugar cane aphids have greatly
increased.
DDT is highly effective against
most of the common pests of
stored seed. It is best used in
combination with a carrier dust to
give it greater volume and insure
better distribution over the seed.
Avery good combination is ob
tained by using magnesium oxide
as the carrier dust.
DDT’s biggest single contribu
tion to the nation’s wealth, ex
cepting its protection of human
health, has been a great increase
in beef and milk production.
Its use in control of horn flies
and other flies which pester cat
tle is already worth $100,000,000
a year to cattle owners, accord
ing to P. V. Cardon, administrator
of research for the Department
of Agriculture. Cardon says the
returns to cattle farmers will be
greatly increased as the use of
DDT becomes more general.
Agricultural experts estimate
that some 8 to 10 million cattle
were sprayed with DDT last
year. They predict that from
two to three times that number
will be given DDT treatments
this year. The total cattle popu
lation of the country is around
84 million.
Tiny horn flies which suck the
blood from a cow in summertime
have cost American cattle and
dairy farmers plenty. If flies are
bad —sometimes 4,000 settle on a
cow—beef cattle won’t put on
weight and cows don’t give as
much milk as they should. Some
experts have estimated the peak
horn-fly drain from the farm
pocketbook at a million dollars a
day.
In a test on a Kansas ranch, 600
cattle of all ages and classes were
sprayed with DDT. They gained
18,000 more pounds than the same
number of unsprayed cattle. On
another ranch each pound of DDT
resulted in an increase of 2,306
pounds of weight. It was esti
mated that each dollar’s worth of
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TESTS check poison dangers.
Do You Know That
The grasses of the world are
classified into 5,750 species.
Beetles are the bulkiest in
sects, the largest known being
the Herdules of South America,
measuring six inches long.
Jamaica was discovered by
Columbus on his Second voyage
in May, 1494, when he christen
ed it St. Jago after St. James
the patron saint of Spain, but
the new name did not last and
the island was known by its na
ti\fc narhe of Jamaica.
The Skating Frog of India
literally jumps on the water, cov
ering the surface in big leaps,
alighting on all fours and leap
ing again as it would on land.
DDT accounted for at least 1,000
pounds of beef.
In four counties in Florida,
28,000 head of cattle and 120
barns were sprayed. It was con
servatively estimated that in
the month following the spray
applications there was a gain of
700.000 pounds of beef and an
increase of 30.000 gallons of
milk which could be attributed
directly to the use of DDT.
The period for cattle spraying
in most parts of the country is
about 14 weeks —from May 15 to
Sept. 1. In the south, of course,
the season is longer. -Two or three
thorough sprayings may do the
job for the entire summer. Insect
| experts say it is a good idea to
kill relatively few flies early in
the spring rather than have to
combat millions of them later in
the summer.
The Department of Agriculture
says a preferred spray is a 50
percent wettable powder. It is
i pointed out, however, that county
j agricultural agents and state col
! lege people can advise hoW to mix
; DDT and how best to apply it.
If a farmer doesn’t have a
1 hand spray, he can sponge it on
! or apply with a paint brush or a
piece of cloth. Some use orchard
spraying equipment.
DDT and another chemical,
benzene hexachloride, have shown
more promise than any materials
heretofore used for the control of
all species of cattle lice, says the
Bureau of Entomology and Plant
Quarantine. Both materials ap
pear to be capable of eradicating
cattle lice with one treatment,
i which has not been possible with
the older remedies.

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