Group Title: Press bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: Sweet-potato caterpillars
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 Material Information
Title: Sweet-potato caterpillars
Series Title: Press bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Alternate Title: Sweet potato caterpillars
Physical Description: 2 p. : ;
Language: English
Creator: Watson, J. R ( Joseph Ralph ), 1874-1946
Publisher: University of Florida, Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1919
Subject: Sweet potatoes -- Diseases and pests -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Caterpillars -- Control -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: J.R. Watson.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "February 22, 1919."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00005196
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA6520
ltuf - AEP5895
oclc - 52854588
alephbibnum - 000934828

Full Text




Brown, velvety caterpillars are sometimes very destructive
to sweet potato plants during late July, August, and early Septem-
ber. Often, they strip the leaves from an entire field of vines.
They usually appear first in spots in the field. If not checked, the
caterpillars will spread from these spots to the whole field, travel-
ing after the fashion of army worms to which they are closely
related. In fact one species is sometimes called the "semi-
tropical army worm".
] Altho the defoliated vines may put out new leaves and
continue to grow after the worms have passed, the yield of
tubers is always greatly reduced, and may be entirely destroyed
as a result of the attack.

The quickest, and for most farmers the cheapest, method of
controlling these caterpillars is by means of the "Kansas bait",
which has been used so successfully against cutworms as well
as grasshoppers for which it was originally made.
To make this bait, mix together thoroly 20 pounds of bran, 5
pounds of cottonseed meal, and 1. pound of paris green. Then
grate or chop finely, rind, pulp and all, 3 or 4 lemons into 21/2 gal-
lons of water and add 2 quarts of molasses. Oranges or grape-
fruit will do, but lemons or limes are better. Dampen the dry
bran and paris green mixture with this liquid until the whole
mass is moist but not sloppy. It should be of such consistency
that it will fall in fine flakes when sown broadcast over the vines.
This poisoned mash should be put out either in the evening or
early morning so that it will not dry too quickly. In the evening
would be better as the caterpillars would have longer to feed
upon it before it becomes dry. If properly sown it will fall in

February 22, 1919

such small flakes that there will be no danger to fowls or wild
birds picking it up.
Instead of the mixture of bran and cottonseed meal either
may be used alone, in which case 25 pounds are required. Bitter
molasses such as New Orleans, stale bran or meal, should not be
used in making this bait. The bait should be made up fresh each
day. The amount provided by this formula should be sufficient
for a field of four or five acres.

If one has a good power spraying machine he can economi-
cally spray the vines with lead arsenate, using 1 pound of the
powder to 2 pounds of the paste, mixed with 50 gallons of water.
It is well to add to the mixture the milk obtained by slaking 2
pounds of quick lime in hot water and then straining it. This will
prevent any burning of the leaves, otherwise possible, by the
A cheaper method of control is to dust the plants in the
early morning when they are wet with dew, using a mixture of
powdered arsenate of lead and thoroly air-slaked or hydrated
lime. Use from two to four times as much lime as arsenate.
This mixture can be applied by means of a coarse burlap bag,
shaken over the vines, but a better method is to use a dusting
machine designed for such work.
Fall army worms also sometimes strip sweet potato vines.
The foregoing measures will serve to control them as well as
grasshoppers which always do more or less damage to this crop.

Birds are important enemies of nearly all caterpillars. The
insect-eating wild birds on the farm should be carefully protected
from hunters and cats. Domestic fowls, especially turkeys, eat
many caterpillars and will quickly check an outbreak of these
insects if given the run of the field. If fowls are housed in
portable' colony houses, the houses may be moved to the edge
of the infested field. The caterpillars make a good poultry food,
materially reducing the feed bill.
State papers please copy.

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