Title: Florida Entomologist
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098813/00213
 Material Information
Title: Florida Entomologist
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Florida Entomological Society
Publisher: Florida Entomological Society
Place of Publication: Winter Haven, Fla.
Publication Date: 1954
Copyright Date: 1917
Subject: Florida Entomological Society
Entomology -- Periodicals
Insects -- Florida
Insects -- Florida -- Periodicals
Insects -- Periodicals
General Note: Eigenfactor: Florida Entomologist: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1653/024.092.0401
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098813
Volume ID: VID00213
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Open Access

Full Text


Florida Entomologist

JUNE, 1954

Commemorative 9sue
Centennial of irofesional Cntomolog

A brief history of entomology in Florida .--......---..-....--.. 51
TISSOT, A. N., and FRANK A. ROBINSON-Some unusual insect
nests ...................................................................................... 73
Effect of ground and spray applications of zinc compounds
on infestations of purple scales ..-----..............-.........--.-----.. 93
MAYEUX, HERMAN S.-Malathion for house fly control .......... 97
MULRENNAN, J. A.-Expanded mosquito control and research
in Florida ..............------.................. ..-...............................--- -105

Published quarterly by the FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Box 2425, University Station, University of Florida, Gainesville



VOL. XXXVII JUNE, 1954 No. 2


OFFICERS FOR 1953-1954

President -..---.. ~~.....-... -........................-.. D. O. WOLFENBARGER
Vice President ....... -----------------------.............. F. G. BUTCHER
Secretary --.........--.........-- ..... .......-.... MILLEDGE MURPHEY, JR.
Treasurer ---......--....---_.....-... ------.... ....... ...... W. P. HUNTER
Executive Committee --- I. H. GILBERT

LEWIS BERNER .-...-.... --------------......... Editor
L. C. KUITERT ... -..-.. -....-. --.-- Associate Editor
W. P. HUNTER -----..-...----...---..- Business Manager

Issued quarterly-March, June, September, and December. Subscrip-
tion price to non-members $3.00 per year in advance; 75 cents per copy.
Entered as second class matter at the post-office at Gainesville, Florida.
Manuscripts and other editorial matter should be sent to the Editor,
Dr. Lewis Berner, Biology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Subscriptions and orders for back numbers are handled by the Business
Manager, Mr. W. P. Hunter, Box 2425, University Station, University of
Florida, Gainesville. The Secretary can be reached at the same address.
One zinc etching, not to exceed one-half page in size, or the equivalent
thereof, will be allowed free. The actual cost of all additional illustrations
must be borne by contributors. In general, the cost of a full page zinc
etching is $7.50. Reprints of articles may be secured by authors if they
are ordered before, or at the time proofs are received for correction; 25
copies furnished free to authors.
Pages I 1 2 I 3-4 5-8 9-12113-16117-20 21-24125-28129-32
50 copies...... 1.60 2.00 2.70 4.25 6.70 7.25 9.40 10.401 12.05 12.80
100 copies...... 1.95 2.40 3.20 5.10 7.80 8.60 11.00 12.95 15.10 16.20
Add 100 copies...... .75 .75 1.10 1.60 2.70 3.10 3.70 4.80 5.851 6.20

Additional for Covers, with Titles and Author's Name
25 copies .. ----..................$3.50 100 copies ...-.............$..$5.00




The year 1954 marks the centennial of professional en-
tomology in the United States. During the year an attempt
will be made to give the people of our country information
about our insect problems and to tell them about the con-
tributions entomologists have made to the national economy
and to the health and welfare of the people during the first
"100 years of Professional Entomology." An effort will be
made to reach every individual with some phase of the cen-
tennial celebration. Newspapers and magazines, radio and TV
shows, and educational movies will bring various events to
the general public. Entomology will be stressed in educational
programs for children. Federal, state, and industrial labora-
tories will hold "open house" during 1954.
The centennial celebration gives us an opportunity to look
back over the years and evaluate the great contributions made
by entomologists in various parts of our country. It seems
fitting and proper therefore, that we pause and review briefly
the history of entomology in Florida. To tell the whole story
of entomology in our state would require several volumes of the
Florida Entomologist, so in the few pages allotted us we will
mention only a few of the many entomologists who have worked
here, and we will briefly relate some of the more significant
events and achievements of past years.

One of the earliest records of entomological work in Florida
is that of Mark Catesby, who was born in England about 1679.
lie came to America in 1712, landing in Virginia where he
remained for seven years. Upon returning to England, his
collections excited naturalist friends at whose suggestion he
returned to America in 1722 to undertake a more serious study
of the fauna and flora of the Carolinas and the neighboring
areas. He returned to England in 1726 and these studies were
finally published in 1731-1743 under the title, A Natural His-
tory of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands containing
figures of the Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Insects and Plants. The
1 Florida Committee on Information for the Centennial of Professional
Entomology. A. N. Tissot, Chairman.


plates were etched on copper by himself and colored under his
supervision. Catesby was probably the first illustrator of North
American insects.
In 1791, there was first published in Philadelphia what has
now become a rather famous travel book. This was by William
Bartram, the great uncle and encourager of Thomas Say. It
was entitled Travels Through North and South Carolina,
Georgia, East and West Florida. William Bartram was not
primarily an entomologist but his name is mentioned here in
the early entomology of Florida because intermingled with the
sometimes eloquent passages on botany and ethnology are
references to various insects. He began his explorations in Flor-
ida, Carolina and Georgia in 1772.
He mentions the presence of honey bees in East Florida
and their absence in West Florida. On the banks of the "Mus-
quitoe River" he found two or three species of beautiful butter-
flies and gives enough of a description to enable a Lepidopterist
to recognize them. The cochineal insect on cactus also was
noted by him and he devotes three pages to the "Ephemera."
Thomas Say, generally known as the "Father of American
Entomology" and the first great systematic entomologist in this
country, played a part in early Florida entomology. In the
autumn of 1817, an expedition was organized and that winter
Say, William Maclure, George Ord and Titian R. Peale visited
the Sea Islands and adjoining coast of Georgia and penetrated
into eastern Florida for the purpose of studying the fauna and
collecting specimens. This trip, although productive, was cut
short by the bad feeling which existed between the neighboring
inhabitants of the United States and the tribes of Florida which
was still under the control of Spain.
William Harris Ashmead (1855-1908) was one of the fore-
most authorities of the parasitic Hymenoptera in America and
the world. He came to Florida to establish a printing house for
agricultural literature. Here he founded the Florida Dispatch,
an agricultural weekly in which he edited the scientific portion
devoting most of his time to injurious insects. In 1887 he was
appointed special field entomologist in the Division of Ento-
mology, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Florida. The next
year he became entomologist to the State Agricultural College
and Experiment Station at Lake City, Florida. He also received
the M.S. degree from the Florida State Agricultural College.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

Ashmead was primarily a systematist but published extensively
in many fields of entomology.
Other entomologists who played a part in the early history
of Florida's entomology included Henry Clinton Fall, a leading
worker on Coleoptera, who collected extensively in Florida.
Herbert Knowles Morrison, one of the greatest American en-
tomological explorers and collectors, collected insects in Florida
in 1883 and near Key West in 1884-1885. Herbert Osborn, one
of the greatest teachers of entomology and a systematist, au-
thor and editor of the first rank, had a short connection with
the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in 1921. Willis
Stanley Blatchley, author of Coleoptejra of Indiana and other
publications had a winter home in Dunedin, Florida where he
secured many fine records for beetles. He explored the locality
of Paraside Key at Royal Palm Park in southern Florida. One
of his books about Florida is entitled A Nature Wooing in which
he describes the fauna and flora at Ormond by the sea and
around the Upper St. Johns River.
On the feminine side of the profession there was Mrs. Annie
Trumbull Slosson (1838-1926) who was a very successful col-
lector of insects and a gifted writer on field studies. She
collected at a winter home in Florida and a summer home in the
White Mountains. Her ability to discover strange insects seems
to have been unusual, but possibly may be accounted for in
part by the fact that she had leisure to devote time to the
exploring of unusual habitats, along with a keen perception
of the uncommon members of the population. She was very
generous in turning over her captures to specialists and there
are many species named in her honor. For the most part she
contented herself with descriptions of the habits or peculiarities
of the insects she studied.

The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station has played a
prominent role in the insect control program of the state for
two-thirds of a century. In 1888 the Station was organized at
Lake City by the Board of Trustees of the State Agricultural
College and in June of the same year Bulletin 2 was pub-
lished. In it William H. Ashmead, who was on the Station
staff for a short time, discussed the plum curculio, the peach
tree borer, the corn aphid, and root-knot. Dr. Ashmead is best
known for his work with hymenopterous parasites and in this


bulletin described two new species of aphid parasites. Jas. C.
Neal, M.D., served as entomologist from 1889 to 1891 and in his
first report recommended jarring the trees and the use of london
purple to control the plum curculio. In the third annual report
J. J. Earle, the assistant chemist, published some notes on the
use of paris green, kerosene emulsion, and decoctions of tobacco
and pyrethrum. He advocated the use of lime to prevent ar-
senicals from burning plants.
Professor P. H. Rolfs was named Entomologist and Botanist
in 1891 and remained with the station until 1899. During those
years he published bulletins on the horn fly of cattle, tomato
fruitworm, San Jose scale, and insecticides. He discovered the
San Jose scale at De Funiak Springs, Florida in 1893. Professor
Rolfs returned to the station in 1906 as its director and served
in that capacity until 1921. Mr. A. L. Quaintance was ap-
pointed Assistant in Biology in 1894 and worked with Rolfs for
four years. He published on various insects including pests
of vegetables, corn, tobacco, strawberries, and stored grains.
Mr. F. S. Chamberlin has given us some interesting infor-
mation on the early tobacco insect investigations in Flor-
ida. He mentioned that Professor Quaintance advocated spray-
ing tobacco plants with paris green as a control for hornworms
but he evidenced some concern regarding possible hazards to
the consumer. Mr. Chamberlin also said that Dr. L. 0. Howard
described the tobacco insect paper by Quaintance as "the most
comprehensive article yet published in this country." The illus-
trations for his papers were of such excellence that they occa-
sionally are used in entomological publications even today.
H. A. Gossard was the station entomologist from 1899 to
1904. He was one of the early workers on citrus pests and
published articles on scale insects, whiteflies, and other pests.
He devised tents for fumigating large citrus trees and reported
that bordeaux mixture on citrus caused a great increase of
scale insects. The cottony-cushion scale became established at
Clearwater in 1898 and Professor Gossard was instrumental
in introducing the Australian ladybeetle to combat it. He told
how the first shipment of beetles sent from California early
in 1899 arrived in Lake City on February 13th, the day of the
famous "big freeze," and were all dead on arrival. After two
more discouraging failures the beetles were finally established
and the venture was so successful that by 1901 the scale was
practically wiped out.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

Dr. E. H. Sellards followed Gossard as entomologist and in
1905 reported the first occurrence of the Colorado potato beetle
in Florida. It was found in Escambia County, the westernmost
county of the state.
In May, 1906, E. W. Berger accepted a position as assistant
entomologist. The following year he became the station en-
tomologist and remained with the station until 1911. Dr. Berger
in his first report mentioned two kinds of snails which were found
on citrus trees infested with whiteflies. One, found near Pal-
metto, he called the "Manatee Snail" and the other from Miami,
the "Miami Snail." He found that the "Miami Snail" cleared
sooty mold off citrus leaves at the average rate of five leaves per
day while the "Manatee Snail" under similar conditions cleaned
only one and a half leaves per day. In the same report Dr.
Berger discussed the red aschersonia and other fungi on citrus
whiteflies. All of his station reports contained information on
these fungi and he continued to work with them with unflagging
enthusiasm during the many years he was with the Florida
State Plant Board.
An important event in the history of the Experiment Station
took place in 1906 when it moved from Lake City to its present
location in Gainesville, where the University of Florida had been
established. In its new quarters the Station offices and labora-
tories occupied the south end of Thomas Hall.
Professor J. R. Watson became the station entomologist in
1911 and held this position until his death in 1946. One of his
first assignments was an investigation of the velvet bean cater-
pillar. He also began working on root-knot soon after his arrival
in Florida. He worked extensively on citrus insects and with
Dr. Berger published a bulletin which for many years was the
standard pest control manual of Florida citrus growers. Another
of his bulletins on vegetable insects served a similar function
for truck farmers. In the field of systematic entomology, Profes-
sor Watson is best known for his work on Thysanoptera. He
described some 30 new species of thrips and assembled an
extensive collection of these insects. In his later years he
became interested in Lepidoptera, especially the skippers, and
collected and studied them with zest. He was a charter member
of the Florida Entomological Society and on more than one
occasion came to its rescue when its fortunes were at a low ebb.
During the 35 years when he was entomologist, Professor
Watson had many assistants who worked with him for vary-


ing periods. Among these were U. C. Loftin, A. C. Mason, H. L.
Dozier, Evelyn Osborn, A. H. Beyer, H. E. Bratley, A. N. Tissot,
E. F. Grossman, L. W. Ziegler, P. W. Calhoun and J. W. Kea. The
present staff of the Entomology Department includes A. N.
Tissot, Head, L. C. Kuitert, H. E. Bratley, F. A. Robinson, R. E.
Waites, and S. H. Kerr, in addition to A. M. Phillips who is
stationed at the Pecan Laboratory, and J. R. Christie, Nema-
tologist. During the past decade the Department has done
extensive work on insecticides in the control of pests of tobacco,
vegetables, field crops, ornamentals, pecans, and livestock.
The Florida Legislature in 1917 took an action which has
had a great influence on entomological work in Florida. It pro-
vided for a Citrus Branch Station at Lake Alfred, which became
the first of numerous branch stations and field laboratories. En-
tomological work was started at the Citrus Station in 1924
when W. L. Thompson began investigations of the new citrus
aphid, Aphis spiraecola Patch. Mr. Thompson has been at
that station continuously and is considered a leading authority
on citrus pest control. W. A. Simanton, M. H. Muma, R. B.
Johnson, and R. M. Pratt are other entomologists at present on
the Citrus Station staff.
Entomologists are now stationed at five other branch sta-
tions and at two field laboratories. W. C. Rhoades and F. E.
Guthrie at the North Florida Station in Quincy are working
on tobacco insects and pests of general farm crops. At the
Everglades Experiment Station in Belle Glade, entomologists
N. C. Hayslip, W. H. Thames, and W. G. Genung investigate
pests of vegetables, sugarcane, fiber crops, and pastures. E. G.
Kelsheimer, entomologist at the Gulf Coast Station in Braden-
ton, gives attention to vegetable insects in addition to pests
of gladiolus, lawns, and pastures. In the far south at Home-
stead, is the Sub-Tropical Station where entomologist D. 0.
Wolfenbarger studies pests of tropical fruits and winter vege-
tables. At the Central Florida Station in Sanford, entomologist
J. W. Wilson is working on insect pests of sweet corn, celery,
cruciferous crops, and long staple cotton. T. M. Dobrovsky,
entomologist at the Potato Investigations Laboratory in Hast-
ings, is concerned principally with pests of Irish potatoes and
crucifers. The Pecan Laboratory where Mr. Phillips is stationed
is in cooperation with the Entomological Research Branch,
U. S. D. A.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

A discussion of entomology in the Experiment Station would
be incomplete without mention of Wilmon Newell who was
its Director from 1921 to 1943. Dr. Newell was an entomologist
by training and with his natural ability was admirably fitted
to direct the eradication campaign against the Mediterranean
fruit fly and the investigation of such pests as the white-fringed
beetle, the citrus blackfly, and the sweet potato weevil. In
addition to being Director of the Experiment Station, Dr.
Newell was Dean of the College of Agriculture, Director of
Extension, and Plant Commissioner of the State Plant Board.

The Florida Agricultural College was established in Lake
City in 1884 and four years later the Agricultural Experiment
Station was organized by the Board of Trustees of the College.
For several years the two institutions had a joint staff and the
members did both teaching and research. Dr. J. C. Neal offered
the first instruction in entomology in 1889. Other early
teachers included P. H. Rolfs, A. L. Quaintance, H. A. Gossard,
and E. H. Sellards. Dr. Sellards taught a course that stressed
the economic phase of entomology, particularly on the insects
of Florida and their control. By 1897, thirty-two students had
graduated from the College. No doubt many of them had
received training in entomology. The record shows that A. L.
Quaintance received the B.S. degree from the college in 1893.
In 1906 the Station staff was separated from the regular
faculty of the "University," though they continued to help with
the teaching and gave . series of lectures from time to
time on the subjects and results of their special investigations."
That same year the Agricultural College and the Experiment
Station were moved from Lake City to Gainesville and became
part of the newly organized University of Florida. The records
are rather obscure but it is presumed that Dr. E. W. Berger,
who became the station Entomologist in 1906, gave some in-
struction in entomology. In 1908 Dr. H. S. Davis was appointed
Professor of Zoology in the College of Arts and Sciences. He
offered a course in entomology and another in economic zoology
for students in agriculture. In 1923, Dr. T. H. Hubbell began
teaching a course in entomology in the Biology Department of
the College of Arts and Sciences and in the same year Prof.
John Gray offered a course in agricultural entomology in the
College of Agriculture.


In 1924 the Department of Economic Entomology and Plant
Pathology was established in the College of Agriculture. Profes-
sor Gray became Head of the Department and served until 1929.
Professor Ralph D. Dickey joined the staff as an instructor in
plant pathology in 1928. He was made interim Acting Head of
the Department the following year and served in that capacity
until 1933. Dr. John T. Creighton, to whom we are indebted
for much of the information in this section, became a member
of the Department in 1928, and in 1933 was elevated to his
present position, Head of the Department. In 1939 the work
in plant pathology was transferred to the Botany Department,
and the Department of Economic Entomology and Plant Pa-
thology became the Department of Entomology. Dr. Homer
Hixon was a member of the department from 1937 to 1946.
The present staff, in addition to Dr. Creighton, includes L. A.
Hetrick, Milledge Murphey, Jr. and Andrew J. Rogers. Some
entomologists on the Experiment Station staff serve in a co-
operative capacity and assist students with their theses and
special assignments.
The Department of Entomology has grown rapidly under
the leadership of Dr. Creighton. It has achieved an enviable
teaching record and is well known, not only in Florida, but
throughout the nation. More than 200 men and women have
received the Bachelor of Science degree in entomology and 60
or more have received advanced degrees from this depart-
ment. Entomology graduates from the University of Florida
are found throughout the world working successfully in many
fields of professional entomology. The Department now offers
courses in many phases of the science including agricultural
entomology, plant quarantine, public health, structural pest con-
trol, apiculture, forest entomology, and insecticides, as well as
the more academic aspects of entomology as morphology, tax-
onomy, physiology, and ecology. Twenty-three undergraduate
courses and eleven at the graduate level are now offered by the
Department. The entomology faculty has a close association
with the Newell Entomological Society and students thus re-
ceive special training not ordinarily given in entomology courses.
In 1934, Dr. Creighton and his staff planned and organized
a special Pest Control Division which is responsible for all
pest control on the University campus. This Division now has
a full time Assistant Supervisor and several pest control opera-
tors, all of whom are students in the Department of Entomology.


Students assigned to this work receive practical experience
in the field of structural pest control as well as commercial
spraying. Dr. Creighton also was prominent in the advancement
of structural pest control. He prepared the Structural Pest Con-
trol Law which was presented to the Florida legislature and
passed in 1947. This law has had a tremendous influence in
raising the standards of commercial pest control in Florida.
Although the University of Florida is the only institution
in the state that grants degrees in entomology, other universi-
ties, colleges and junior colleges give courses in biology or
zoology that include work on insects.

The State Plant Board, the plant regulatory agency of
Florida, was created by an act of the Legislature on April 30,
1915. The threat of the citrus canker disease to the Florida
citrus industry was the impelling force which brought about
the passage of the Plant Act. The Act stipulated that the
State Plant Board consist of five members, they to be the same
persons who constituted the Board of Control. At the first
meeting of the Board, Prof. P. H. Rolfs, Director of the Florida
Experiment Station, Mr. L. S. Tenny, Secretary-Manager of
the Florida Growers' and Shippers' League, and Mr. W. J.
Krome, a Homestead fruit grower, were appointed as an Ad-
visory Committee to carry out the duties of the Plant Com-
missioner until one could be named. These men were largely
responsible for the passage of the Plant Act and several years
later Prof. Rolfs stated that Mr. Krome wrote the act as well
as the first rules and regulations of the Board. Dr. Wilmon
Newell was the first Plant Commissioner and to him goes much
of the credit for the excellent record of the Plant Board and
the position of high esteem which it has so long enjoyed.
In the beginning the work of the Board was carried on by
the Departments of Citrus Canker Eradication, Nursery In-
spection, Plant Pathology, Port and Railway Inspection, and
Entomology. Later, the Department of Apiary Inspection was
added, and the Department of Citrus Canker Eradication was
changed to the Department of Grove Inspection, and Port and
Railway Inspection was changed to Quarantine Inspection.
Dr. E. W. Berger, who had been Inspector of Nursery Stock
since 1911, under the Nursery Act, was elected Entomologist


of the new Plant Board and became the first head of the En-
tomology Department. His first assistant was A. C. Mason who
was followed by C. F. Wilson, F. F. Bibby and G. B. Merrill.
Upon the retirement of Dr. Berger in 1942, Mr. Merrill became
Head of the Department. For several years the principal func-
tion of the department was to culture red aschersonia fungus
and rear the Australian ladybeetle for distribution to citrus
growers for the control of whiteflies and cottony-cushion scale
in their groves. Some experimental work on the control of
various other pests of farms and orchards also was done. Many
articles in The Bulletin, the official publication of the Plant
Board, contain life history studies and control recommendations
made by this department.
Early workers in other departments included F. M. O'Byrne,
Nursery Inspector; Frank Stirling, General Inspector in charge
of Canker Eradication; and Dr. J. H. Montgomery, Quarantine
Inspector. Mr. C. E. Bartholomew, the first Apiary Inspector,
was followed by J. C. Goodwin and R. E. Foster.
From its beginning the State Plant Board has actively pro-
tected Florida's agriculture and horticulture from pests both
from within and outside the state. The Board has the enviable
record of eradicating three important plant pests from our
state. These were: the bacterial disease, citrus canker; the
Mediterranean fruit fly; and the citrus blackfly.
A history of entomology in the Plant Board would not be
complete without further comments on the Mediterranean fruit
fly and the citrus blackfly eradication campaigns. Shortly before
the fruit fly was found in Florida Dr. Newell gave a talk in
which he expressed the opinion that the failure to eradicate
several pests, which had been introduced into this country,
was due to "temporizing and delay." From the outset there was
no "temporizing or delay" in the battle against the "Med" fly.
The first fly maggots found in grapefruit at Orlando on April
6, 1929 were tentatively identified as a species of Anastrepha.
Positive identification was made on April 11th when the larvae
were found to be the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata
(Wled.). Plant Board inspectors were rushed to Orlando on
April 8th and by April 30th they had found fruit fly infestations
on 364 properties in 51 localities in 11 different counties. The
seriousness of the situation was apparent and $50,000 of state
emergency founds were made available April 15th. Two days
later $40,000 of Federal funds were allocated. The National

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

Congress rose to the occasion and on May 2nd appropriated
$4,250,000 for the campaign. On June 7th the Florida Legisla-
ture appropriated $500,000 to aid in the fight.
Dr. Newell marshalled all available forces of men and equip-
ment and planned how to use them to best advantage. Training
schools were set up, quarantines promulgated, surveys broad-
ened and intensified, and eradication measures started imme-
diately. At the height of the campaign 6,300 men were engaged
in the fight. It was necessary to destroy 489,108 boxes of
citrus fruits, 49,974 bushels of vegetables and 27,395 bushels
of non-citrus fruits. A tabulation of records showed that in-
festations had been found on 1,002 properties in 20 counties
and the eradication area covered 15,000 square miles. It is
significant that this included 73 percent of Florida's citrus
acreage. The last specimen of the Mediterranean fruit fly found
in Florida was a pupa collected in St. Augustine on July 25,
1930. Even today, it is almost unbelievable that a pest so well
established over so wide an area could be eradicated in just
a little over a year and at a cost of only $7,573,136.91.
A few years later the citrus blackfly was found to be well
established in Key West. Although this pest was found in an
isolated and rather restricted area, many difficulties were en-
countered. There was considerable opposition to this campaign
and much legal action was involved. In fact, during the last few
months of the spraying program it became necessary to assign
a deputy sheriff to each spray truck. Even though this project
required two and a half years for completion it still was a
remarkable accomplishment.
During the past several years the Plant Board has carried
on control programs against the sweet potato weevil and the
imported fire ant, and has made surveys and investigations of
such pests as the cotton boll weevil, the green citrus aphid,
West Indian fruit flies, the Japanese beetle, and others.
Although port inspection work is not entirely entomology
it none-the-less has much to do with insects. This arm of
the Plant Board each year keeps out of Florida many pests which
do not presently occur here. During the biennium 1950-52 the
port inspectors examined 16,873,807 parcels of plants and plant
products. Many of these contained pests of various kinds and
20,719 were destroyed and 45,198 others were refused entry.
Over six million parcels were fumigated or otherwise processed
and then allowed to enter the state. These inspections revealed


such unwelcome stowaways as South American and West Indian
fruit flies, the Mediterranean fruit fly, pink bollworm, many
species of beetles and moths and many others of economic im-
The State Plant Board has the largest and most complete
entomological library in the South. It has accumulated an
extensive insect collection which is generally regarded as the
finest in the southeast for both economic and non-economic
species. The Plant Board also maintains a card catalog which
now contains over 117,000 collection records of insects. These
are cross indexed in three ways-to insect, host, and collection
During the 39 years of its existence the State Plant Board
has had three Plant Commissioners. Dr. Newell served from
1915 until his death in 1943. He was succeeded by Mr. A. C.
Brown who retired in 1952 and was followed by the present
Commissioner Mr. E. L. Ayers.

The dread of yellow fever in the State of Florida gave birth
to the present State Board of Health. The epidemic of yellow
fever in Fernandina and Jacksonville in 1877 was described by
early writers as the "greatest holocaust to ever strike the State."
The census of Fernandina, taken on September 20th of that
year, showed a population of 1,632, with 1,146 cases of fever
reported. Early writers on Florida had much to say about the
biting insects and the pestilence malaria. The Count of Castle-
nau in 1842 revealed what malaria meant to the Tallahassee
of a hundred years ago. "But unfortunately in opposition to
these numerous advantages there are the greatest plagues that
can afflict a new settlement; and unhealthful climate; every year
bilious fevers of a most dangerous nature spread consternation to
the whole region ... However, although the climate is dangerous
for strangers at all times, the most insalubrious months are
August, September, October and November; then no one can
be sure of escaping the plague, neither the planter who has
been settled in the country for years, nor the negro born in
the midst of the miasma of Carolina or under the burning sun
of Georgia. The comparative extent of the huge cemeteries
is a sad warning for one who, charmed by the beauty of the
sight, would want to establish himself in this region."

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

The first direct reference to the control of malaria in Florida
was made as early as 1900 by Dr. J. Y. Porter, Florida's first
State Health Officer, when he stated, "It was observed that the
attacks (of malaria) were more than usually fatal along the
river bottoms, marsh lands, and in the flat woods country. It
now is seen that it is not the germ itself which rises from the
soil or water, but the carrier of the germ."
It was not until 1919 that the State Board of Health under-
took its first malaria control project in the city of Perry, a
typical malarious community in Florida. At that time it was
one of the largest projects of the kind in the country and
involved the removal of 47,000 cubic yards of earth for drainage
canals and ditches at an expenditure of $28,000. The cost of
this first project was borne by the City of Perry, the County
of Taylor and the Burton Swartz Cypress Company, with the
State Board of Health supplying the technical supervision.
A great step forward in the control of mosquitoes was the
organization of the Florida Anti-Mosquito Association in 1922.
This organization has been primarily responsible for promoting
legislation for the creation of mosquito control districts and
making possible 'State Aid" in districts and counties.
In 1931 the Rockefeller Foundation established a malaria
research station at Tallahassee to work with the State Hospital
at Chattahoochee and the State Board of Health. This station
under the direction of Dr. Mark F. Boyd from 1931 until its
closing in 1947, performed work in the malaria field of inesti-
mable value, not only to the State of Florida, but also to the
world as a whole.
The year 1933 marked the beginning of widespread malaria
and pest mosquito control operations throughout the State.
The work was performed by the WPA and other federal relief
organizations until 1941 when relief funds were withdrawn. A
tremendous amount of drainage work was accomplished. The
records show that over 1,582 miles of ditches were dug with the
removal of 225,287 cubic yards of earth.
In 1941 a Bureau of Malaria Control was created with the
Florida State Board of Health for the purpose of studying and
making recommendations for controlling malaria in the State.
In 1945 the widespread program of DDT residual house spray-
ing to eradicate malaria was inaugurated in those counties
which had a high malaria rate in the past. It is interesting to
know that the last known case of malaria transmission in


Florida was reported in 1948 and the last case of yellow fever
was reported in 1905.
In 1946 the Bureau of Malaria Control was abolished and a
Division of Entomology was established within the Bureau of
Sanitary Engineering, with John A. Mulrennan as Director. In
1953 the Division of Entomology was raised to independent
Bureau status. Mr. Mulrennan has given us much of the in-
formation in this section and we are grateful to him for this
Mosquito control legislation has played an important part
in the growth of entomology in the State Board of Health. The
first law making it possible for a county to vote for a mos-
quito control district was passed in 1925. The state law pro-
viding for "State Aid" to counties and mosquito control districts
was passed in 1949. In 1953 a second "State Aid" bill was
passed whereby any Board of County Commissioners or Mos-
quito Control District that places funds in its budget for the
control of "arthropods of public health importance," would re-
ceive funds directly from the State in the amount of 75 percent
of the total amount appropriated by the county or district.
These funds are to be used exclusively for permanent elimina-
tive measures.
At the present time there are 23 mosquito control districts
in 21 of Florida's 67 counties and the total monies spent in the
state for controlling arthropods of public health importance an-
nually exceeds $3,322,000 under the supervision of the State
Board of Health.

We could not determine exactly when the Federal Govern-
ment started its entomological work in Florida but it seems
probable that Townend Glover, the first federal entomologist,
also was the first to work in our state. It is known that he
spent some time in the South investigating cotton insects and
that he visited Florida then. His reception must not have been
very pleasant for on his return to Washington he penned the
following lines:
"From red-bugs and bed-bugs, from sand flies and
land flies,
Mosquitoes, gallinippers, and fleas,
From hog-ticks and dog-ticks, from hen lice and
men lice,
We pray Thee, Good Lord, give us ease."

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

H. G. Hubbard, as a special agent, was stationed at New
Smyrna, Florida, from 1881 to 1884. He gave particular atten-
tion to citrus insects and was called upon for advice when the
cottony-cushion scale was found at Clearwater in 1898. His
bulletin, Insects Affecting the Orange, published in 1885 was
considered an entomological masterpiece and still is regarded
highly today.
For nearly half a century the Bureau of Entomology has
maintained laboratories in Florida. Often these were set up to
investigate specific insects or the pests of some particular crop.
Some remained active for many years while others operated for
only a short time. We will mention only a few of the many
laboratories located in Florida.
The Division of Fruit Insect Investigations has operated
laboratories for the study of citrus pests for many years. A
laboratory was established at Orlando in 1907 with A. W.
Morrill in charge. Mr. W. W. Others came to the laboratory
the following year and remained there until his retirement
in 1935. White flies received the principal attention of the en-
tomologists for several years but work was also done on scales,
rust mites and other pests. Dr. Herbert Spencer went to the
laboratory in 1935 and was in charge until 1946 when he was
transferred to Fort Pierce to study citrus insect problems pe-
culiar to the Indian River area of Florida.
A field laboratory to investigate celery insects was es-
tablished at Sanford in 1925. It was operated cooperatively
by the Florida State Plant Board and the Division of Truck
Crop and Garden Insects. Dr. E. D. Ball, in charge, and J. A.
Reeves represented the Plant Board while B. L. Boyden and
W. E. Stone were federal workers. At Quincy, F. S. Chamberlin
of the Tobacco Insects Laboratory has given attention to pests
of shade -grown tobacco.
The Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals set up
a laboratory in Gainesville in 1935, with W. G. Bruce in charge,
to investigate the screw-worm which had become established
two years earlier and had already spread to all but one county
of the state.
We are indebted to Dr. W. V. King, who for many years
was in charge, for information on the laboratory and field station
established in Orlando in 1931 for the investigation of mos-
quitoes of the Southeastern States. The Mansonia mosquito
problem in central Florida, salt-marsh mosquitoes of the ex-


tensive coastal areas, and malaria mosquitoes in central and
northern Florida received special attention. Some work was
done on the "dog fly" (Stomoxys) problem of the northwest
Florida coast, screw-worms in livestock, and the fever tick
problem in native deer.
Shortly after the beginning of World War II, with funds
from the National Research Council, the laboratory was greatly
expanded for the study and development of methods for the
control of insects of medical importance to the armed services.
Much of the early work with DDT was done there. Effective
methods for the control of human lice, mosquitoes, and chiggers,
developed at the laboratory, were quickly adopted by the mili-
tary. This resulted in a great reduction of disease rates in the
allied troops. For these investigations the laboratory was given
the Distinguished Service Award of the Department of Agri-
Following the war, funds were provided by the military
services for the continuation at the Orlando laboratory of in-
vestigations of military insect problems. Reared colonies of
several important insects were maintained and these were used
in an extensive screening program in which thousands of prom-
ising insecticides and repellents were tested.
Experiments at the Orlando laboratory were the first to
show the possibility of the development of increased resistance
to DDT in house flies exposed to DDT sprays in successive gen-
erations. Similar increased resistance to DDT in body lice in
Korea, first noted by Army and Navy entomologists, was con-
firmed at the Orlando laboratory and substitute insecticides
were then developed and field tested among troops in Korea.

Without doubt Florida farmers of a hundred years ago were
troubled with insect pests. Perhaps most of them accepted
these as an inevitable nuisance and did nothing about it but
a few almost certainly used such remedial measures as hand
picking or dusting their plants with road dust or lime. Some
years later they began to use paris green and a few other in-
secticides. Except for paris green and london purple, practi-
cally all insecticides used before 1900 were made at home. Lead
arsenate and crude oil emulsions were used experimentally as
insecticides during the last decade of the 19th century. In 1906
the commercial production of lime-sulfur began and the follow-


ing year Grasselli Chemical Company began the commercial
manufacture of lead arsenate insecticides. About 1908 Wilmon
Newell, who was then working in Louisiana, demonstrated that
the boll weevil could be controlled with powdered arsenate of
lead. His work undoubtedly was a great stimulus to the use
of insecticides in the South and this naturally promoted the
manufacture of insecticides in this area.
For the next quarter century the use of insecticides grad-
ually expanded and then about 1936-38 there was a tremen-
dous growth in the manufacture, sale, and use of insecticides.
This was due to various causes including recovery from the
depression, improvement of insecticides through research, and
the education of the public in the value and use of insecticides.
The next great expansion came with explosive suddenness
in 1945-46 with the advent of DDT and related chlorinated
hydrocarbon insecticides. These new materials made it possible
to control insects better than ever before but each insecticide
was found to be ineffective against some pests. This led to
increased research by chemical and insecticide companies and
in experiment stations and universities. While the wave of
interest in these insecticides still ran high, a new group of
materials, the phosphatics, appeared. These were different from
the other materials in mode of action and they also presented
new hazards to manufacturers and users. The insecticide in-
dustry is to be commended for the way it joined other research
workers in studying the problem and developing protective
measures which now make it possible to use these insecticides
We could not learn when or where insecticides first were
manufactured in Florida but it seems fairly certain that oil
emulsions and lime-sulfur were the first ones made. The manu-
facture of these continued to grow in volume and it was esti-
mated that in 1950, six million gallons of oil emulsion, 20,000
gallons of lime-sulfur concentrate and 100 million pounds of
dusting sulfur were produced in Florida. Few, if any, of the
basic materials used in making insecticides are produced in
Florida but enormous quantities of insecticides are formulated
and processed here as the above figures show. There now are
approximately 50 formulators operating in the state and at
least 17 of these concerns have one or more entomologists on
their staffs. These men do research work, they carry on field
experiments with agricultural workers and farmers, and they


serve as "trouble shooters" who investigate reports of poor
control, plant injuries, or other troubles associated with the
use of insecticides. A dozen or more national pesticide com-
panies now maintain representatives in Florida and many of
these men have had entomological training. Some of the in-
secticide companies further promote entomological research in
our state by providing at the University of Florida and else-
where, scholarships and fellowships which enable students to
work on various entomological problems of importance to Flor-
ida agriculture.
No small part of the research work done by insecticide
companies has been concerned with the development and test-
ing of new materials to replace older ones which have lost
some of their effectiveness or otherwise are deficient. To cite
just one example we call attention to DDT. At first, this in-
secticide appeared to be effective against practically all insects.
Within a very short time house flies, some mosquitoes, and certain
other pests developed a resistance to DDT which made it unsatis-
factory as a means of control. Lindane came into the picture
and for a time it served well but now it is being replaced by
malathion and diazinon. We can expect this process to con-
tinue for it is unlikely that an insecticide will be developed
which will control a wide variety of pests and maintain its
effectiveness permanently.
In Florida the most cordial relationship exists among the
insecticide industry, the agricultural research agencies, and
the farmers of the state. Without doubt the Florida Agricul-
tural Research Institute has helped materially in bringing about
this accord. F. A. R. I. is an association of concerns interested
in the manufacture and sale of materials used in Florida agri-
culture. It fosters research in the Agricultural Experiment
Stations and other state institutions and works closely with
the State Department of Agriculture in formulating rules and
regulations pertaining to the manufacture, licencing, and sale
of pesticides, fertilizers and seeds. The Handbook on Pesticides
and Their Uses in Florida Agriculture, prepared by committees
representing the Experiment Stations, the Extension Service,
and the Insecticide Industry was sponsored and financed by
F. A. R. I.
In closing this section we are happy to report that Florida's
rules and regulations governing pesticides, as administered
by the State Department of Agriculture, are generally con-

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

sidered among the best in the land. This assures farmers and
other users of insecticides that they will get dependable
products. It also is of interest to know that Florida's insecti-
cide industry now has enough plants, facilities, and trained
personnel to formulate all kinds of insecticides in sufficient
quantities to supply the normal needs of the state.

The great majority of our more troublesome insect pests
are immigrants which came to our state from other places.
Early explorers brought on their persons or on their live-
stock, lice, fleas, mange mites and stomach bots. Later settlers
and colonists brought in with their household effects and food
stores such pests as bed bugs, clothes moths, carpet beetles,
cockroaches, larder beetles, rice weevils and meal moths. Many
pests of foreign origin came to Florida from other states where
they had become established earlier. This group includes onion
thrips, imported cabbageworm, San Jose scale, fowl tick, sweet
potato weevil, imported fire ant, vegetable weevil and cottony-
cushion scale. H. A. Gossard, in Bulletin 56 of the Florida Ex-
periment Station, published in May 1901, gives an interesting
account of the early history of the cottony-cushion scale in
Florida. Space will not permit us to tell the story here but
it is one of the most outstanding examples of satisfactory bio-
logical control of a major crop pest.
Though many of our introduced pests came to Florida from
other places in this country, some came direct from foreign
lands. One of the first to arrive was purple scale which came
from Bermuda in 1857, nearly a century ago. In 1879 Florida
red scale came from the West Indies and in 1898 the sticktight
flea arrived from Central America. The Mediterranean fruit
fly, presumably from southern Europe, was found in Florida
in 1929. In 1936 the white-fringed beetle was found to be well
established in two north Florida counties and in neighboring
counties of Alabama. One of the most recent invaders was
the cattle tail louse from Africa which was found here in 1945.
Each of these pests seemed to pose a major threat to some
agricultural enterprise but through the intervention of en-
tomologists and other scientists means were found for success-
fully combating them.
The eradication of the Mediterranean fruit fly from Florida
surely is the most salient example of what can be accomplished


by coordinated effort under able leadership to be found any-
where in the archives of entomology. Dr. Wilmon Newell was
largely responsible for developing the Florida State Plant Board
and elevating it to a:position of high esteem, not only in Florida,
but throughout the nation. Under his leadership citrus canker
had been eradicated from Florida, so it was logical to make
him field director of the combined state-federal eradication effort
in the fruit fly campaign. Dr. Newell met this emergency with
immediate action and in less than two years the pest was eradi--
cated. Dr. Herbert Osborn in his Fragments of Entomological
History refers to the fruit fly campaign as follows: "No more
spectacular achievement in Economic Entomology can I think
be cited in the history of man's warfare with insects." Newell
Hall and Newell Drive on the Universty of Florida campus
and the Newell Entomological Society, a student organization
at that institution, are lasting memorials to this renowned en-
tomological leader.

Before closing this essay we needs must mention the en-
tomological societies of our state. The Florida Entomological
Society was organized at the University of Florida in Gaines-
ville, January 5, 1916, by eleven men interested in entomology.
Professor J. R. Watson was the first president and Dr. Wilmon
Newell was vice-president. The membership more than quad-
rupled the first year and by the end of 1917 there were nearly
a hundred active members. This is the oldest entomological
society in the Southern States. Two of the original charter
members, Mr. K. E. Bragdon and Mr. J. C. Goodwin are still
active in the Society. The Society now has a membership of
275 including Honorary Members, Charles T. Brues, 0. A.
Johannsen, James G. Needham, Herbert Osborn, Edith M. Patch,
and W. W. Others.
At the April 1917 meeting, Dr. E. W. Berger proposed that
the Society published a periodical to be known as The Florida
Buggist. His proposal was accepted and the first issue ap-
peared June 21, 1917. In 1920 the Society voted to change the
name to The Florida Entomologist. The periodical is published
quarterly and now is in its thirty-seventh volume. Professor
Watson was the editor from the beginning until June 1946.
Dr. H. K. Wallace was editor from 1947 to 1950 and since then
Dr. Lewis Berner has been editor.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

The Newell Entomological Society was organized by the
students and faculty of the Department of Entomology of the
University of Florida in 1935 in honor of Dr. Wilmon Newell.
This society was created for the purpose of advancing all phases
of entomology, and in the promotion of good fellowship, co-
operation and leadership among entomologists. Dr. Herbert
Osborn was the speaker at the installation ceremony in February,
1936 during the first annual Florida Entomological Conference
sponsored by the Society. A birthday banquet honoring Dr.
Osborn was a feature of the second annual conference in March,
1937. Dr. H. T. Fernald was honored at the third conference in
1938. This custom was continued and some outstanding en-
tomologist was honored at the banquet session of succeeding
conferences. Mr. W. P. Hunter was the first president of the
Society. During the present school year Mr. Darrell Anthony
is president of the Society which now includes about thirty
student members.
In 1938 both the Florida Entomological Society and the
Newell Entomological Society petitioned the American Asso-
ciation of Economic Entomologists for affiliate membership in
that organization. These requests were reported upon favor-
ably by the Executive Committee and approved at the annual
meeting of the American Association held in Richmond, Vir-
ginia in December, 1938. This was the first time in the history
of the Association that a student society was granted affiliation

In conclusion, we wish to repeat that this sketch admittedly
is deficient in some respects. We perhaps have placed too much
emphasis on some parts and may have omitted things that should
have been included. We regret that time would not permit us
to submit the manuscript to the various organizations men-
tioned for review before the paper went to press. Please bring
to our attention any serious errors or discrepancies noticed and
we will consider correcting them in a later issue if in our opinion
and that of the Editor the circumstances warrant doing so.



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VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954


Entomology Department, Agr. Exp. Sta., University of Florida

On June 21, 1951 a perturbed resident of Gainesville, Florida,
called the Entomology Department of the Agricultural Experi-
ment Station and reported that she was greatly concerned about
a large wasp nest near her home. The usual answer that wasp
nests are commonly found around residences in Florida and that
the insects rarely sting, unless they are disturbed, did not suf-
fice in this case. Having learned from experience that home
owners generally are rather helpless to cope with such situations,
we decided to call on the lady to see what help could be given.
When we saw the nest our curiosity was immediately aroused
and we expressed a desire to study it further; for instead of find-
ing a large nest of Polistes as expected, this proved to be a colony
of yellowjackets. We tried to persuade the lady to allow the
nest to remain for further observations, but it was only a few
feet from her front door and she very emphatically did not want
it there. Consequently we began to plan how the insects might
best be dispossessed.
Many interesting things were found during the removal and
demolition of the nest. Specimens of the insects were collected
and sent to Washington for identification. Mr. K. V. Kron-
bein of the Division of Insect Identification determined them as
Vespula squamosa (Dru.). Having been informed of the loca-
tion of the nest, he wrote that the site was most unusual. He
stated that, according to published records and from his personal
observations, the species always makes its nest underground.
We had previously known about another nest in a similar situa-
tion and we have since studied additional nests of the same
species: Because of the unusual circumstances and locations of
some of the nests and in view of the fact that the habits of the
yellowjackets here are so different from those generally attrib-
uted to them, we believe that they may be of general interest.
We herewith make known this additional information concern-
ing them.
The first mentioned nest was built on the upper part of the
trunk, just below the spreading crown of a large Phoenix palm.
1 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series, No. 247.


The bottom of the nest was approximately ten feet from the
ground. At one time the trunk of the palm had been com-
pletely covered by a dense growth of ferns. Some unknown
disorder killed the ferns, and their remains, together with the
decaying stubs of the old palm fronds, formed a deep layer of
porous but firm material which completely surrounded the
upper trunk and extended downward several feet from the
living crown. The nest lay snug and protected in this layer
on the north side of the palm.

Fig. 1.-Yellowjacket nest on Phoenix palm showing details of structure
of outer envelope.

It was quite obvious that the nest was a large one but
when it was uncovered and fully exposed we learned that it
was a great deal larger than we first thought. It was a broad
bow-like structure which followed the curvature of the palm
trunk. The outside arc of the nest measured six feet and it
extended 30 inches from top to bottom. It averaged about 12
inches in depth from front to back. Figure 1 is a close-up
photograph of the nest showing the details of the outer en-
Yellowjackets generally are reported to be belligerent crea-
tures but these did not prove so. It is true that we donned bee

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

veils to remove some of the drooping palm fronds and other
obstructions preparatory to taking pictures of the nest, but we
worked bare handed. An occasional insect buzzed about us, but
they were not very aggressive and there was no indication of
concerted attack.
The outer envelope of the nest was not a continuous sheet
but was formed by many overlapping sheets of paper with
small spaces between. This formed a ventilated outer wall an
inch or more thick. The insects seemed to be able to go in and
out almost anywhere between the sheets of the wall but there
were some eight or ten openings with reinforced edges which
served as regular gateways. The location of the nest made it
virtually impossible to enclose it for fumigation so we decided
to attack the colony by other means. A ladder was placed
against the palm so the nest could be reached easily and an
aerosol bomb was discharged into all the nest openings. After
a few moments numbers of yellowjackets began to emerge from
the nest and drop to the ground. They were mostly workers
but an occasional queen was noted.
The next step was to remove the enveloping plant material
and thus expose the nest. Some mention had been made of
preserving the nest for a museum specimen so care was taken
to avoid damage to the outer envelope. This could not be pre-
vented entirely since it extended in several places into pockets
in the surrounding material. Although the aerosol had stopped
insect activity at the front of the nest, it obviously did not
affect the deeper portions. At the first attempt to remove the
debris by hand some half dozen yellowjackets darted out and in
a fraction of a second each inflicted a sting on a hand or wrist.
From then on a hand weeder was used to remove the debris.
As each piece was pulled away, the newly exposed part of the
nest was immediately sprayed with a household spray. By the
time the operation was completed the entire contents of the
aerosol bomb and about three pints of spray had been liberated
into the nest openings and on the outer envelope.
At that stage operations were temporarily suspended until
nightfall. A tarpaulin was secured below and in front of the
nest which was then pried loose from the palm and lowered to
the ground. It was noted that the palm was light colored and
clean where the nest had been. Apparently the insects removed
all loose material so that the combs of the nest could be secured
firmly to the solid wood.


Several dozen adult yellowjackets remained alive and much
of the brood appeared to have survived the barrage of insecti-
cide. The nest could not be placed in a museum so it was taken
to the Honey Plant Gardens at the University of Florida and
fastened to the trunk of a large oak tree. Adult insects con-
tinued to emerge for several days but after about two weeks the
last survivors had disappeared.

Fig. 2.-A comb from the nest shown in Fig. 1 with queen cells in
central portion.

In its central part the nest contained 17 levels of comb but
only about half of the combs extended continuously from side
to side. Although most of the combs were securely fastened to
the palm at their inner edges, the nest was strengthened and
braced by numerous pillars constructed between the combs.
The outer wall of the nest was only slightly fastened to the
combs, and it appeared to be largely self supporting.
A comb situated near the middle of the nest had many cells
much larger than the others and we presumed that they were
queen cells. This comb is pictured in Figure 2. An estimated
40 to 50 queens were found in the colony and a few males were
noted. A few cells contained male pupae but no queen pupae
were found.


About ten years earlier one of us (Tissot) helped to remove
another large yellowjacket nest. It was located only one block
from the campus of the University of Florida and it, too, was
built on a Phoenix palm. The trunk of that palm also was
encased with a deep layer of ferns and decayed stubs of old
palm fronds, but in that case the ferns were alive and growing.
The nest was only a few feet from the walk leading to the
front porch and although no one had been stung the home owner
was very anxious that the nest be removed. In this case the
task was comparatively simple as the nest was only a few feet
from the ground and easily accessible. To minimize the danger
of being stung the nest was destroyed at night. A tarpaulin
was put over the nest and drawn snugly around the trunk of
the palm. A few ounces of carbon bisulphide were introduced
under the cover and the nest was left until the next morning.
At that time all the adult insects were dead and only a few
larvae and pupae remained alive.
After the outer envelope was removed some measurements
were made of the nest proper. This nest also followed the
curvature of the palm trunk and the combs were fastened
firmly to the trunk at their inner margins. The nest measured
24 inches horizontally and 12 inches vertically. The combs were
about 10 inches wide from front to back. There were 12 levels
of comb in the middle portion of the nest but only about half
of them extended continuously from side to side.
The nest was dismantled and the area of comb containing
brood was determined. It was estimated that from 25 to 30
thousand cells contained eggs, larvae and pupae. About a
dozen queens and just a few males were found when the dead
adults were examined. Specimens of the insects from this nest
were identified as Vespula squamosa (Dru.) by K. V. Krombein.
The presence of another nest was suspected several weeks
before it was found. In the spring of 1952 it became necessary
to feed the bees at the Honey Plant Introduction Garden on
the Agricultural Experiment Station Farm. The honey and
water mixture which they were given was attractive to yellow-
jackets also and they entered the hives in large numbers. They
were vigorously resisted by the bees and from 40 to 50 dead
yellowjackets were found in some hives. The nest from which
they came was found in June 1952 but the yellowjackets were
not molesting the bees then so the nest was allowed to remain.
It became necessary to feed the bees again in the fall. At that


time there were a number of queen rearing nuclei in addition
to the full sized hives. Once more the yellowjackets began
to rob the bees and this time their depredations were more
serious as some of the nuclei were destroyed. To prevent further
loss of bees the yellowjacket nest was removed on September
27, 1952.
The yellowjackets in this colony were conservatives which
conformed more closely to the traditions of the genus. Their
nest was made in a cavity in the earth where all published in-
formation indicates it should be. Late in the evening of the
day before the nest was removed a little carbon bisulphide was
poured into the nest entrance and a large sheet of craft paper
was spread over the nest site to confine the vapor. There was
no sign of life when the paper was removed the next morning
and the nest was dug out for examination. The ground around
the nest was level and the entrance was even with the soil
surface. The doorway to the nest was a circular passageway
one and one-half inches in diameter which led straight dowln-
ward for a distance of about four inches. This passageway
was lined with paper and at the top the paper extended outward
on the surface of the soil to form a collar a little over an inch in
width. At its lower end the entrance way led into the outer
envelope of the nest and thus gave access to its interior.
When the soil above the nest was removed it was noted that
roots of weeds and grasses penetrated the paper of the outer
envelope. It was noticed also that the nest settled perceptibly
when the soil was removed and it appeared that the roots sup-
ported it from above. This was verified later when it was found
that the upper combs of the nest were securely fastened to
the roots.
The nest was completely enclosed in the multiwalled paper
envelope. Soil particles and other debris were embedded in the
outer layer of the nest covering but the inner layers of the
envelope and the combs were free of foreign matter except for
the roots mentioned above. The nest was nearly circular in
outline and flattened on the top and bottom. It had a diameter
of 30 inches and the distance from top to bottom was about half
as great. There were 13 levels of comb but none of the combs
extended continuously all the way across the nest. All of the
combs were being used for rearing brood. There were about
30 cells per square inch and by measuring the combs it was
estimated that approximately 120,000 cells contained brood in

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

various stages of development. It was also estimated that the
colony probably contained at least 100,000 adults. The sixth
and seventh combs from the top had numerous large cells which
had been used for rearing queens.
Approximately half of the dead adults were taken to the
laboratory for examination. The vast majority were workers
but nearly a hundred queens and a few males were found. An
examination of the combs failed to reveal any queen or male
pupae. Mr. Krombein identified specimens from this nest as
Vespula squamosa (Dru.).

Fig. 3.-Nest in a rolled rug in a garage.

An interesting nest which shows the versatility in nesting
behavior of Florida yellowjackets came to our attention Deceni-
ber 17, 1952. Another Gainesville resident reported that "hor-
nets" had made a nest in her garage and she asked how they
might be destroyed. We found in this case that a colony of
yellowjackets had utilized a man-made structure for their nest
site. A rolled-up rug had been suspended overhead in the open
garage and the insects had made their nest in the end of the
roll nearest the front of the garage. The gable of the garage
was enclosed to the top of the door opening. The outer end of
the rug roll was slightly lower than the bottom of the gable wall


and the rug was nearly touching the inside of the wall at its
lower edge. The exposed parts of this nest are shown in Figure
3. At its outer end the opening in the roll had been closed by
a paper wall with an opening near its center. The paper was
extended upward and attached to the wood of the garage for
a distance of four or five inches. On the lower side of the roll
about two feet from the end, the insects had constructed a
shield-like paper structure. This was about a foot long and
eight inches wide and there was a slit-like opening along its
central keel which served as an entrance for the yellowjackets.
It was a rather cool day when the nest was removed and
though a few yellowjackets were leaving and returning to the
nest their flight was slow and their movements sluggish. The
rug roll was hung from cross supports of the garage with pieces
of sash cord. Two of the cords at the front were loosened allow-
ing that part of the roll to swing downward. Some chloroform
was poured on the end of the rug containing the nest and the
rug was quickly wrapped in a large plastic sheet. The rest of
the supporting cords were then loosened and the nest was taken
to the laboratory for examination.
As we began to unroll the rug it was noticed that a circular
hole about three inches in diameter had been cut just above the
center of the shield-like structure mentioned above. The circu-
lar opening extended inward to the center space of the roll.
Protruding downward into this opening and almost filling it
was a circular comb composed entirely of large queen cells.
When the rug was unrolled further it was found that another
circular hole of about the same size had been cut through all
but the outer layer about eight inches nearer the front end. This
opening likewise contained a round comb of queen cells. After
the rug was completely unrolled it was noticed that a fairly
large area of the innermost layer had been cut away. An oval
shaped comb about six inches long, composed of small cells,
occupied this space. Attached to one end of this comb was
the first mentioned queen cell comb. The space in the roll above
the small combs was occupied by two larger combs of nearly
equal size and shape. These combs were about sixteen inches
long and about four inches in width at their widest point. They
were shaped somewhat like a long narrow shoe sole. They con-
tained only small brood cells.
The combs were fastened to the rug by a single small attach-
ment. This was located about in the middle of the upper comb


and it must have marked the point where the queen mother
built the first cells when she founded the colony. Elsewhere
the combs were separated from the rug and partially supported
by a layer of paper a half inch or more in thickness. The front
ends of the combs were about a foot from the end of the roll and
the intervening space was filled with curved and twisted layers
of paper which formed a number of tortuous passageways.
An examination of the paper of the nest revealed that the
yellowjackets had incorporated a little of the rug material in the
paper. Apparently this was not suitable building material for
most of it had been discarded. Some had been thrown out and
dropped to the ground but the greater portion had been dumped
in the open space in the rug roll beyond the nest.
This was one colony where we were able to obtain an accurate
census of the adult inhabitants. A few of the insects were
afield when the nest was removed but probably not more than
twenty-five individuals were thus lost. Fourteen queens were
found. One was obviously the founder of the colony for her
wings were tattered and so reduced in area that they could not
possibly have supported her in flight. The remaining popula-
tion consisted of 1,013 males and 372 workers. An examination
of the queen cells indicated that we should have found sixteen
young queens for there were that number of empty cells from
which queens apparently had emerged. Presumably the three
missing ones had left the nest to hibernate elsewhere or they
may have fallen prey to natural enemies. The comb with the
empty queen cells had 34 additional large cells already capped.
These contained pupae in various stages of development and a
few fully formed adults ready to emerge. The other queen cell
comb contained 50 capped cells and both combs had an unde-
termined number of open cells containing queen brood in all
stages of development from eggs to fully grown larvae. It
seemed probable that a few weeks later this colony would have
included more than 100 queens. All of the small brood cells
which had been capped contained male pupae. Although the
earlier stages could not be definitely identified as males it seems
probable that only sexual forms were being produced when the
nest was removed.
A comparison of the insects from this nest with those from
the other colonies showed that they too were Vespula squamosa


Although we were told that the rug had been in the garage
for two or three years it seemed likely that the colony had been
founded the previous spring. Later information proved that the
nest actually was started much later than we supposed. The
owner of the garage called a few weeks after the nest was
removed and said that the rug had been taken down about
July 1, 1952, and that it was partly unrolled and a piece cut
from it and then hung up again. A part of the rug was missing
when we examined it and certain events made it possible to time
its removal quite accurately. If there had been even a small
nest in the rug then it surely would have been noticed so it seems
certain that the nest was less than six months old when we
removed it.
We learned of the most amazing nest of all in June 1952.
H. O. Harrison, Agricultural Agent for Dixie County, Florida,
told us that he had heard of the nest a few weeks earlier and
that he had gone to see it. The description he gave and his
estimate of its size sounded fantastic and we determined to see
the nest ourselves.
The nest was located in the extreme southwestern corner of
Lafayette County about 200 yards from the Dixie County lire.
It was on the west side of State Highway 51 just three miles
from its junction with Highway 19, on land belonging to the
Buckeye Cellulose Corporation of Foley, Florida.
On June 30 we visited the nest site and it was at once evident
that Mr. Harrison had been very conservative in his statements.
In one respect, however, we found conditions different from
the way he described them. The nest was only a few rods from
the paved highway and the yellowjackets were said to fly into
cars and sting people passing by. We reached the nest about
the middle of the forenoon on a warm, bright day. Hundreds
of yellowjackets were leaving and returning to the nest and
many of them flew low across the highway but they took no
notice of us. It was realized that the colony had great stinging
potentialities so we played safe and donned bee veils and pro-
tective clothing before proceeding with our observations and
picture taking. A ladder was placed against a tree about 15
feet from the nest to get a close-up picture. We went up the
ladder several times, walked all around the nest, and took pic-
tures directly under it. Though an occasional insect flew around
us they made no serious attempts to sting and this colony like

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

the others failed to uphold the yellowjackets' reputation for
George B. Everson, Jr., staff writer for the Florida Times-
Union, also had heard about the nest and when he learned that
we had seen it and made pictures he asked us for an interview.
His story, illustrated with a close-up picture of the nest, was
featured in the Sunday, July 6, issue of the Florida Times-Union.
This story attracted the attention of entomologists as far away
as New York and California. Dr. Herman Gunter, Director of
the Florida Geological Survey, also became much interested in
the nest and expressed a desire to secure it for the Survey
Museum if possible.
One can think or tell about this nest only in terms of super-
latives. At first sight it gave the impression of being a gigantic
unopened toadstool or perhaps the thatched stilt house of some
aboriginal tribe. Figure 4 shows the nest as seen from the
road. When seen in full sunlight it had a silvery gray appear-
ance. In shadow it appeared a darker, duller gray. It towered
high in the air and its rounded top was a full 30 feet above the
ground. The pine tree which supported it was broken off some-
time in the past, probably by the wind. No vestige of the top
remained to give a clue as to when the tree was broken. The
top of the broken trunk was completely hidden within the nest.
The nest was roughly cylindrical in shape with a rounded
dome-like top. At the bottom there was a sort of ruff or frill
extending downward around the tree trunk. The nest proper
measured 9 feet from top to bottom and the ruff extended a
little over a foot, giving an overall length of a little over 10 feet.
At its widest point the nest had a circumference of 9 feet 10
inches. There were no well defined entrances but the inhabi-
tants went in and out of the nest almost anywhere between
the over-lapping sheets that formed its outer wall.
In addition to the large nest we found some smaller ones
which presumably were outposts of the main colony. One was
at the base of the nest tree and it extended into a cavity in the
trunk at the ground level. Another was a small cone-like struc-
ture on the ground a few feet away. A third was hidden beneath
a palmetto leaf and a fourth and fifth were fastened to the trunk
of another pine tree nearby. When we again visited the nest
site early in December 1952, the small nests had disappeared.
Some charred remains indicated that they had been burned and


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Fig. 4.-Yellowjacket nest on trunk of broken pine in Lafayette
County, Florida.


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VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

the destruction must have been deliberate as the surrounding
woods did not appear to have been burned.
There was a great contrast between the condition of the nest
and its inhabitants as we first saw them in June and as they
were in December. In summer the colony was a bustle of ac-
tivity as hundreds of yellowjackets left the nest or returned
from foraging expeditions. The nest itself had a neat and tidy
appearance and its walls were in good repair. In December the
insects were pathetically few and their flight was faltering and
irresolute. Gaping holes appeared in the walls of the nest, par-
ticularly on the side facing the road. It appeared obvious that
the colony could not survive the winter.
As the colony seemed doomed it was decided to remove the
nest for examination and study and to secure specimens. We
went to the nest site on February 6, 1953 and were joined there
by Dr. Herman Gunter and Andrew R. Janson of the Florida
Geological Survey. We were equipped with ladders, block and
tackle, saws, and other paraphernalia for cutting the tree and
lowering the nest gently to the ground. The tackle was secured
between the nest tree and a neighboring pine. After sawing
the tree it was slowly lowered until the nest was suspended in
a horizontal position within easy reach. A half pint of chloro-
form was poured along the upper side of the nest which was
then wrapped with a large canvas. In about fifteen minutes it
was deemed safe to remove the cover and begin exploring the
nest. Measurements proved that our earlier estimate of the
size of the nest was surprisingly accurate.
After some discussion it was decided that a lengthwise cut
would best reveal the internal structure of the nest. A sharp
machete was used to cut out a wedge-shaped section reaching
in to the tree trunk and extending from top to bottom of the
nest. Later, more of the nest was sliced away until only half of
it remained attached to the tree. The section thus exposed is
pictured in Figure 5. This shows the arrangement of the combs
and it also reveals that all of them sloped slightly downward.
None of the combs was continuous around the nest but they were
made in sections which met irregularly and often overlapped.
This made it difficult to determine accurately the number of
layers of comb in the nest. Neither were the combs continuous
from top to bottom. The picture shows that they were arranged
in three groups, separated from each other by areas of loosely


constructed paper. The lower group contained 39 levels of
comb, the middle group had 29, and the upper group only six.
We started removing combs from the bottom of the nest
and worked toward the top. Each comb was examined care-
fully as it was taken from the nest. There was no living brood
in any part of the nest. Most of the combs contained only small
cells but the 13th, 14th, 35th and 36th combs from the bottom
each had an area of large queen cells near its attachment to the
tree. No queen cells were found in the middle group of combs.
A few small clusters of queen cells were attached to the lowest
comb of the upper group but apparently they never were used
as there was no sign of the meconium layer which should have
remained if queens had developed in the cells. Only half of the
nest was examined but there was no reason to believe that the
other portion varied greatly from the part that was removed.

Fig. 5.-Longitudinal section through nest shown in Fig. 4.

The remaining portion of the nest was separated into two
parts by sawing the tree trunk just below the middle group of
combs. The upper part was taken to Tallahassee for display
in the Florida Geological Survey Museum. The lower portion
was deposited in the Florida State Museum in Gainesville.
Several unexpected discoveries were made during the re-
moval of the nest. Perhaps the most surprising of all was the
condition of the tree itself. From our first visit we assumed
that the tree was dead. As the first saw cut was made the

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

copious flow of sap from the trunk and stump showed without
doubt that the tree was alive though it possessed neither
branches nor needles. The most plausible explanation of this
phenomenon was that a natural root graft had developed be-
tween the tree and its near neighbor.
Another surprising feature was the small number of yellow-
jackets in the nest. Twenty-seven queens and 114 workers
were found in the part that was dismantled. Some of the insects
were afield when the nest was removed and perhaps as many
as a hundred of these returned and flew about where the nest
had been. The entire population probably numbered between
four and five hundred individuals.
It was hoped that the internal structure of the nest might
give some indication of the age of the colony. Few tangible
clues were found and no definite conclusions were reached. The
upper part of the tree trunk was hollow and it seemed fairly
certain that the original nest was built within this cavity. It
was not possible to determine whether the colony had been
established before or after the top was broken off. Neither
could we tell if the three portions of the large external nest
were the same or of different ages.
The arrangement of the combs in three regions was puzzling
but a possible explanation was found in the two small nests
which we noticed on the lower trunk of the neighboring pine in
June. They were on the same side of the tree and one was
about 18 inches above the other. If they had not been destroyed
the insects might have extended these nests around the tree as
well as downward. As the inhabitants of the upper nest built
their combs downward they soon would have encountered the
upper edge of the outer envelope of the lower nest. It seems
logical that instead of removing this and intruding on their
neighbors they would have added paper of their own and filled
in the intervening space. This would have resulted in a struc-
ture much like that of the large nest described and pictured
We can only surmise the causes that brought about the
rapid decline of the colony, but a few things were noted which
may be significant. The nest was in good repair on our first
visit though we noticed numerous tiny holes in the outer en-
velope on the side nearest the road and an empty shotgun shell
was found near the roadway. A considerable area around the
nest was strewn with wooden stakes, empty bottles, stones, and


other objects which obviously had been thrown at the nest.
Such a conspicuous object no doubt made a tempting and ir-
resistible target for passersby who sought a thrill or were
merely bent on destruction.
As the nest was dismantled we found evidence that a great
many of the missiles had found their mark. Holes in the outer
envelope showed where the larger objects had entered the nest.
A dozen or so stones varying from pebbles to chunks weighing
a pound or more were found in the outer envelope or lodged
deep between the combs. Many of the combs were pierced or
grooved by smaller, faster moving objects. Most of these had
passed all the way through the nest but a number had lodged
against or embedded themselves in the wood of the tree. No
effort was made to find all of them, but several dozen shotgun
pellets were noticed. These varied in size from number eight
birdshot to large buckshot. Several .22 rifle bullets and .38
caliber revolver slugs also were found. Without doubt these
missiles killed a number of the insects and some of these may
well have been queens. Indeed, a number of dead and multi-
lated queens were found in the nest, but they could have died
from natural causes. Whether the forces of nature or the acts
of man brought about the death of the colony will remain an
unsolved mystery.
A farm family living about two miles from the nest site
told us about another large nest that they had found deep in
a dense swamp. They stated that it was built near the ground
and that it possibly surrounded a, large tree stump. It was
their opinion that this nest was even larger than the one on the
broken pine but no measurements were made and its size could
not be verified. The nest appeared to be deserted when they
last saw it and as the swamp was said to be almost impenetrable
we did not try to visit the nest. There were rumors of still
another large nest in the vicinity so it seems likely that big
yellowjacket nests are common in that part of Florida.
A news release describing the removal of the nest was widely
distributed by the Associated Press Service. As a result of the
story we received letters and comments from widely scattered
places. Information given by one correspondent was so in-
teresting and relevant that we report it here.
Mr. L. L. Ferebee of Tillman, South Carolina, wrote about
two large yellowjacket nests which he saw in the extreme south-
ern tip of that state in 1922. He remembered distinctly that


he visited the first nest about the middle of June and the other
in September. Mr. Ferebee owned a large apiary then and a
neighboring farmer asked him to remove the honey from a "bee
tree" that he had found across the Great Swamp from Hardee-
ville. Mr. Ferebee's description of what he found and saw is so
vivid and realistic that it seems fitting to quote directly from
his letter. "When we got there and I took one glance, I realized
instantly there was not a bee anywhere around, but yellow-
jackets equal to 40 colonies of bees. The thing was approxi-
mately forty feet of yellowjacket nest, starting about 11 feet
from the ground, on a dead and partly rotten tree probably 75
to 80 feet high. The diameter of the nests plus about two feet
of tree seemed to average about 40 to 55 inches, and was in
bulges, which gave the apparent average thickness of the nests
from about 8 to 18 inches. Many young yellowjacket queens
were in evidence and I probably saw 50 to 100 flying about."
From this description it seems evident that the structure of the
nest must have been like that of the one we studied except on
a much grander scale. It appears significant that he empha-
sizes the bulges in the nest and these probably mean that the
combs were not continuous but more likely were arranged in
a number of separate groups. It is interesting to note also
that queens were so numerous in early summer.
The second nest that he told about was found on Colleton
Neck about five miles south of Parris Island Marine Base. It
was built over an old oak stump but apparently rested on the
ground also. He describes it as approximately 11 feet long,
41/ feet high at the peak, and about 6 feet wide at the ground.
Mr. Ferebee's letters indicate that he is a careful and ac-
curate observer and his descriptions of the nests and estimates
of their size are without doubt entirely trustworthy. He wrote
that in his youth he tended cattle and sheep in the woods and
that in middle life he spent many years as a practical forester.
He mentioned that he also hunted deer and turkeys extensively.
Although he found many yellowjacket nests in the ground, the
two described above were the only ones that he ever found above
Once again, in the spring of 1953, we were called upon to
destroy a yellowjacket nest for another Gainesville resident.
This time the nest was found within the house and the insects
were extremely troublesome to the people living there. A
diagonal wall had been built across the angle of an ell of the


house and this made an enclosed triangular passageway joining
the two rooms of the ell. This passageway had a low ceiling
just above the top of the doors and the sloping roof was of
sheet metal. The nest occupied the space under the roof and
as it was on the southeast side of the house and exposed to
full sun the temperature must have been extremely high beneath
the metal roof.
The insects entered the nest through a crack just beneath
the lower edge of the roof and also at one side where the siding
did not match well. Some paper had been attached to the side
of the house but there was no comb on the outside. On the
inside of the passageway, there was a narrow crack at one edge
of the ceiling and through this the yellowjackets made their
way into the house.
On the night of May 18 we sprayed the entranceways of the
yellowjackets thoroughly with two percent chlordane household
spray. Then a one-inch hole was bored in the ceiling so that
spray could be driven directly into the nest space. Immediately
after the bit went through the wood about a dozen mad yellow-
jackets poured out of the hole and in an instant several had
used their stings to good advantage. After applying a liberal
amount of spray we plugged the opening and left the nest until
the following evening. At that time there were a few living
insects but they offered little resistance. More spray was ap-
plied and a week later there was no sign of life.
It would have been very difficult to expose the nest so we
contented ourselves with examining the insects that crawled
into the passageway and died there. We found 12 queens, three
males and a large number of workers.
For a long time we have had a desire to watch a yellowjacket
colony develop and grow. In July 1953 we inadvertently lost
an opportunity to do so. This colony was reported to have its
nest in the ground and the insects were said to be very ag-
gressive. We visited the site after dark and the entrance of
the nest was pointed out. A quantity of carbon bisulphide was
poured at the entrance and the nest was covered with a large
piece of craft paper and left until the following morning.
To our surprise we found only a very small and apparently
newly established colony. The nest contained a single oval
comb about an inch and a half long by an inch and a quarter
wide. It was located amid the litter of leaves and twigs on the
surface of the ground. It was not enclosed in an envelope but

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

was protected above by a loosely constructed cover of paper.
The adult inhabitants of the colony consisted of one queen
and 11 workers. The comb contained 18 capped cells with pupae,
10 cells with larvae, and eight cells with eggs. Each of
two cells contained both a larva and an egg and one cell con-
tained three eggs. The queen was of normal size but the work-
ers were unusually small for the species. This nest gives
further evidence that it is quite normal for yellowjacket colo-
nies to be founded in midsummer in Florida.
Some of the features of biology and behavior discussed in
this paper are different from those usually attributed to yellow-
jackets. It generally is stated in the literature that colonies of
hornets and yellowjackets endure only a single season. Mich-
ner and Michner in their book American Social Insects 2 state
that males and young queens leave the nest before the break-
down in social behavior of the workers which marks the end of
the colony. They add that the workers stay with the nest and
die off one by one until all are gone and only the hibernating
queens remain to carry on the species. They state further that
in warmer climates a nest may occasionally survive through
the winter and then produce sexual forms in the spring. They
do not tell what the fate of these late-produced sexual forms
may be but from their other statements it would be surmised
that the young queens leave the old nest and establish new
Although we have no conclusive proof, we believe that yellow-
jacket colonies in Florida sometimes are perennial and that
they may remain continuously active for several years. The nest
in the palm which was removed in June, 1951, was first noticed
the previous Thanksgiving. It is not known whether it re-
mained active through the winter. The numerous daughter
queens in this nest must have been produced the previous fall
or perhaps in the spring and they may have remained in the
nest and possibly they aided the mother queen with the egg
The extremely large size of some of the nests is further
evidence that the colonies are perennial. This may indicate
that they consist of the offspring of several queens. It is in-
conceivable that a nest ten feet long, and a yard across, could
have been built in a single season even through the combined
efforts of several queens. The thriving outpost nests which

2D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1951.


we found below the large Lafayette County nest in June very
likely were ruled by some of the daughter queens from the parent
It is commonly believed that yellowjacket colonies are founded
in the spring and that may be their usual behavior in most
places. However, the nest in the rug which almost certainly
was started after the first of July and the small nest which also
was found in July give very good evidence that daughter queens
may leave an old colony almost anytime to start new ones.
Vespula squamosa (Dru.) is reported to nest only under-
ground or rarely just above the surface. Five of the nests
described here were aerial and one was twenty feet from the
ground. Subterranean nests also are common here so this
species evidently is much more versatile in its nesting habits
than was formerly believed.
This discussion would not be complete without some mention
of the paper of the nests. All of the nests studied had the same
general coloration and appearance irrespective of their locations
or the situations in which they were found. Pieces of paper
from the outer envelopes of the nest on the Phoenix palm in
Gainesville, the one dug from the ground at the Honey Plant
Garden, and the large nest on the broken pine in Lafayette
County are scarcely distinguishable one from the other when
they are placed side by side. In every case the paper of the
envelope has a brindled appearance with more or less curved
streaks of various colors. The streaks shade from white through
creams, yellows, and light browns to dark rich tobacco browns.
There are also streaks of gray of various shades and quality.
The paper used in making the combs always is a uniform dark
dull gray. It is generally darker than the darkest streaks in
the nest envelope.
A number of other colonies of yellowjackets have beer ob-
served during the past two years but they have not shown any
features of structure or location different from those already
described. We plan to observe and study other colonies when-
ever opportunity offers in the hope that they may cast light on
some of the unanswered questions relative to these interesting




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VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954



In 1947 it was the practice to remedy zinc deficiencies in
citrus trees by spraying them with zinc sulfate plus hydrated
lime. Symptoms of frenching chlorosis called for a spray con-
taining 4 to 5 pounds of zinc sulfate plus 2 to 21/2 pounds of
hydrated lime per 100 gallons of water. For other citrus trees
the recommendation was a maintenance spray containing 3 and
11/ pounds of the respective materials each year (Florida Citrus
Commission, 1947).
Heavy inert spray residues on the leaves and fruits of citrus
trees are objectionable, since heavy infestations of purple scales
(Lepidosaphes beckii [Newm.]) and other pests often follow
their use (Osburn and Spencer, 1939. Spencer, 1939). The use
of other available zinc compounds that are safe for foliage and
require no lime for neutralization might result in fewer purple
scales, since these compounds would leave less residue on the
leaves. Ground applications of zinc might avoid residue build-
up entirely. Also, more information was needed on the degree
of scale infestation that would follow their use.
Since the problem was horticultural as well as entomological,
an experiment was planned in cooperation with the Orlando,
Florida, Laboratory of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and
Agricultural Engineering.2 That laboratory studied the effects
of the treatments on the trees, and the authors the effects on
the insects. This paper reports the entomological results.
A grove of 324 young Hamlin orange trees on rough lemon
roots was selected early in 1947 for this work. The trees had
been planted in virgin land 5 years before, and neither the
ground nor the trees had ever received any applied zinc. For
the experiment the grove was arranged in 10 blocks of 13 trees
each. Buffer rows of trees were left on the roadside and between

1 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Serv-
ice, Entomology Research Branch.
2 Cooperating project workers of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and
Agricultural Engineering were Walter Reuther, Paul F. Smith, and George
K. Scudder. Jr.; grower cooperators were Werner Husmann and A. N.
Fox of the Apshawa Groves, Minneola, Fla.


the experimental blocks to make sure that spray drift and cross
feeding of roots would not affect results. Seven different treat-
ments, as given in Table 1, were applied in each block of trees.
The amounts of material were calculated to give each tree that
got zinc the same amount of elemental zinc.
The sprays were applied to single-tree plots in each block.
A 400 or 600-gallon power sprayer was used with one lead of
hose and an orchard-type, spray gun. Enough spray was applied
to cover all parts of the trees thoroughly. The ground applica-
tions were made to three-tree plots, and the middle tree was
used in obtaining data. The material was spread by hand, like
fertilizer, the quantity of zinc being measured for each tree. Ap-
plications were made each year for 5 years-on March 4, 1947,
February 18, 1948, April 27, 1949, March 1, 1950, and April
25, 1951.
The grower cooperators followed their usual rust mite and
red mite control program, but agreed to put on no zinc or scali-
cide in this grove during the experiment. In the midsummer
of 1948 scale-insect infestations had reached a high level, and
for protection of the trees and the crop all trees were prayed
on July 22 with 1.25 percent oil emulsion. By 1950 infestations
had again become very high; so on September 14 all trees were
sprayed with 2 pounds of 15 percent wettable parathion plus
5 pounds of wettable sulfur per 100 gallons. At the conclusion
of the experiments a spray containing 2 pounds of 15 percent
wettable parathion per 100 gallons was used to clean up the
remaining scales.
The effects of these treatments were determined by cutting
off 20 leaves at chest level around each tree and examining
them under the binocular microscope for living purple scales.3
Numbers found on half the upper and lower surfaces of each leaf
were recorded separately. These data were summarized for
each sampling date and for each treatment, and statistical
analyses made. During the 5 years eight sets of samples were
examined, with the results shown in Table I.
The data usually showed higher infestations following the
zinc sulfate plus hydrated lime spray than after the zinc oxide
or zinc carbonate sprays. After the zinc sulfate plus lime spray,
increases over the check were significant statistically in 3 of the
5 years, and highly significant in 1 year (1950). However,
increases from zinc carbonate and zinc oxide were slight and
: Bernard W. Knecht assisted in examining the leaf samples.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954













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nonsignificant, except in 1948 when the carbonate series was
significantly higher. The presence or absence of zinc did not
seem to be the factor affecting the magnitude of the infesta-
tion, but rather the total amount of deposit. All the ground
applications gave results statistically equivalent to the checks
except in 1948, when zinc sulfate gave higher infestations.
Although no spray burn was caused by the zinc sprays in
this experiment, zinc oxide may cause burn if sprayed on trees
carrying young fruits and tender, new growth. Zinc carbonate
can be used safely. Zinc carbonate or zinc oxide used without
lime usually resulted in fewer purple scales than zinc sulfate
plus hydrated lime. Ground applications of zinc sulfate re-
sulted in fewer purple scales than spray applications of zinc

Florida Citrus Commission. 1947. Better fruit spray and dust schedule
for 1947 season. 10 pp. Lakeland, Fla.
Osburn, Max R., and Herbert Spencer. 1939. Effect of spray residues on
scale-insect populations. Jour. Econ. Ent. 31(6): 731-732.
Spencer, Herbert. 1939. Increases in citrus scale-insect infestations from
heavy residues and from copper spray mixtures. Jour. Econ. Ent.
32(5): 686-688.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954


Numerous chemicals and methods have been tested by vari-
ous workers against house flies (Musca domestic L.) during the
past several years in an effort to find suitable control measures
to replace the chlorinated hydrocarbons, DDT and related com-
pounds, to which the house fly has developed a high degree of
resistance in most locations. Among the chemicals and methods
tested and/or proposed, the use of baits and sprays containing
organic phosphate insecticides have appeared to be the most ac-
Results with sprinkler-can applications to floors of baits
containing tetraethyl pyrophosphate were reported by Thomp-
son et al. in 1953, and widespread use was made of TEPP baits
during that year. However, the mammalian toxicity of TEPP is
rather high and the residual action is very short.
Malathion (o,o-dimethyl dithiophosphate of diethyl mercap-
tosuccinate), an organic phosphate compound much less toxic
to mammals than either TEPP or parathion, was applied to
dairy barn floors at 0.1 percent strength with 10 percent sugar
or molasses in water by Gahan et al. (1954) and gave better
control than 0.1 percent TEPP with 10 percent molasses; how-
ever, daily applications were needed for up to two weeks where
breeding was heavy. Similar good results were obtained by
Gahan on a garbage dump at Orlando, Florida.
A schedule of daily applications is often difficult to maintain
and following the work by Thompson et al. it was believed
desirable that chemicals be tested to find a form of bait that
would be active for longer than one day.

The writer conducted a series of practical experiments dur-
ing 1953 against flies in the north Florida and south Georgia

1Entomologist, Florida Agricultural Supply Co., Division of Wilson &
Toomer Fertilizer Co., Jacksonville, Florida.
The writer wishes to acknowledge assistance by Julian H. Jackson,
Chemist, and William J. Head, Assistant Chemist, Florida Agricultural
Supply Co., in making chemical and physical analysis studies and James
R. Christie, also of this organization, and Clyde Flynn, Jacksonville Board
of Health, who assisted in the field testing.
This paper was presented at the Georgia Entomological Society Meeting,
Athens, Georgia, March 13, 1954.


areas. Preliminary work in 1952 showed that a bait composed
of 1 pound of 25 percent dilan wettable powder mixed into 21/2
gallons of blackstrap molasses was very attractive to adult flies
and was effective in reducing fly populations in caged laying
hen houses. Although effective, the dilan bait was slow to
kill and lacked the spectacular fast-killing power of the TEPP
baits then in experimental use.
In 1953 malathion was substituted at the rate of one pound
of 25 percent wettable powder per 2.5 gallons of blackstrap, or
approximately 1 percent malathion in the finished bait. The
bait was very attractive to adult flies. Flies became affected
and began dying two to three minutes after starting to feed
upon the bait during warm, summer weather. When the tem-
perature was 50 degrees F. or lower, the flies became affected
in five to ten minutes, depending upon the temperature.
In chemical laboratory tests it was determined that the finely
divided powder settled none at all or extremely slowly in liquids
such as molasses, syrup or honey having a density of 42 degrees
Baume or higher.
Field testing showed that after storage for several weeks,
some of the baits required a longer time to kill. Chemical
analysis showed that the malathion was very gradually broken
down, probably by hydrolysis, in the presence of moisture and
impurities in the sweet materials. However, this gradual loss
of toxicant did not prevent mixing a supply for use over a
period of four to ten weeks. Furthermore the rate of loss varied
greatly among different types of sweet materials.
The baits were very attractive when applied on double thick-
ness burlap bagging or when "dribbled" in a narrow band on a
hard surface in a manner to produce "plenty of shore-line" for
the flies to stand around. Flies would soon light directly upon
the bait as it soaked into burlap but were distinctly wary and
definitely repelled from puddles of bait onto which their legs
and wings might become stuck. For this reason shallow pans
of bait were very unsatisfactory as were puddles of bait upon
hard surfaces.
The active life of the baits depended upon the length of time
required for the flies to consume the material and on the time
required for the bait to dry out. Once the baits became dry
and hard they lost much of their original attractiveness.

VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

Comparisons were made of various sweet bait materials
as to the rapidity of drying. The materials were smeared onto
burlap and exposed in direct sunlight and in shade during both
dry and humid weather. Blackstrap molasses dried within one
day in direct sunlight but remained tacky and attractive for
periods from two days up to seven days in shade depending upon
atmospheric humidity. Sugarcane syrup and corn syrup were
slightly better than blackstrap and produced less of the thin,
skin-like film that commonly forms on the surface of blackstrap
exposed to atmosphere. This film is believed to be the result
of oxidation of impurities in the material.
Honey was definitely slower drying than any of the bait
materials tested. The honey baits remained moist and attrac-
tive after as long as three weeks at which time a small amount
of mold began to form. However, the baits killed flies during
the entire twenty-one day period.
In June, 1953, three widely separated caged hen houses were
baited by hanging pieces of double-thickness, baited burlap at
intervals of about 5 yards under the egg trough of each of the
cages. The burlap pieces were approximately 12 by 18 inches
in size and were framed to prevent rolling by sewing with a
piece of haywire in about 4 inch stitches around three sides.
The piece was hung just above the ground with haywire sus-
pended from the egg trough. One of the houses was 170 feet
long and 43 baits were used, a total of two gallons of bait ma-
terial. Initial fly populations were 15 flies, 12 flies and 25 flies
per square foot for the three buildings respectively. Popula-
tions were reduced to less than one fly per square foot within
seven hours of daylight in all houses. Flies were still dying
when the second application was made after seven days; how-
ever, the population was beginning to increase.
Several dairy barns were treated over a period of several
weeks each. Baits were hung or laid at intervals about the
buildings or wherever flies congregated. Six or eight baited
burlap bags laid on the floor of the barn and two in the feed
room were usually sufficient for fly control. During periods of
dry weather, blackstrap baits were resupplied every three or
four days but once a week was usually sufficient unless the baits
were eaten away earlier.
Beginning in early June, 1953, there was a heavy popula-
tion of house flies and blow flies at the Jacksonville, Florida
City Garbage Dump and at the hog-feeding establishment asso-


ciated with the dump. Estimates of adult flies in the hog shed
ranged from 300 to 2,500 per square foot. During the early
afternoon a total of three gallons of blackstrap bait was applied
on burlap and dribbled onto wooden and carboard surfaces un-
der and around the shed. By noon the following day the ground
under and around the building was practically covered with
dead house flies and blow flies. By scooping up the flies at in-
tervals it was possible to estimate at least 35 to 50 gallons of
dead flies in the area.
After two days of baiting the population was reduced to an
average of two or three flies per square yard. Migration from
the garbage was heavy at all times; however, it was observed
that the number of dying flies usually equalled the number of
unaffected flies, indicating that the flies were being killed as
fast as they moved into the baited area. After initial reduc-
tion was obtained three to six baits were kept active at all times
for the next seven weeks. Baits were resupplied every three
to seven days.
Beginning in late September there was a period of two weeks
when no baiting was done. On October 15, there was an aver-
age of 54 flies per square foot based upon counts of live flies
at ten points, one square foot at each point. An application
was made in late morning using three pints of the malathion-
blackstrap bait. One gallon was used in late afternoon of the
same day and another gallon was used two days later. Table I
shows the results during the first five days of the test period.


No. Points Average Flies/Sq. Ft. Percent
Time Examined Alive Dead Reduction

Initial ......... 10 54 0

6 Hours ...... 8 15 251 72

5 Days ....... 14 1.4 1,136 90

Baiting was continued until late November when cool weather
reduced breeding on the garbage.
On October 16, the fly population of a hog-feeding pen, sit-
uated about 200 yards from the garbage dump was estimated



to be in excess of a half million adults. The pen was baited at
2:00 P.M. with one gallon of bait smeared on four burlap bags,
and bait was dribbled in a thin band onto a concrete slab that
surrounded the fifty-feet-long feeding vat. After ninety min-
utes dead and living flies were counted at 20 points of one square
foot each. There was an average of 15 live and 573 dead flies
per square foot or a calculated total of 13,000 flies alive and
458,000 dead inside and around the pen, a reduction of 90 per-
The garbage dump itself was baited on October 17 with ten
gallons of bait applied to an area of 11/ acres. The bait was
carried about the area in a ten-quart bucket, and the worker
used a wooden paddle to sling the bait around over the garbage.
Some of the bait was dribbled from the paddle onto cardboard
and paper. There were at least two million flies present when
the application was made. Flies began dying within three min-
utes as the bait was applied. The dump was observed after
three days at which times flies were definitely under control
and some were still being killed by the bait.
Additional tests were conducted in poultry houses where
hens and broilers were kept on litter. These tests were in the
Titusville, Florida, and Madison and Gainesville, Georgia areas.
The baited burlap was particularly desirable in buildings having
dirt or litter floors, such as poultry houses and cattle barns;
whereas, the sweet baits that are diluted with water and are
applied to floors were not satisfactory on litter or on dirt. They
were also very short lived when applied to burlap and laid or
hung about the area.

An experiment was conducted against fly larvae in a caged
hen house using emulsifiable, malathion spray applied to the
surface of the manure underneath the caged hens. The build-
ing was 100 feet long and about 28 feet wide with four cages,
each four feet wide, extending the full length of the building.
The cages were suspended about 31 feet above ground level.
Plots were 25 feet long and 4 feet wide, which was the width of
the manure pile under each cage. Treatments were replicated
three times with each cage having a replicate of every treat-
The following treatments were used:



Treatment 1-1% Malathion emulsifiable spray (8
fl. oz. 50% Malathion per 3 gallons
water) applied at 212 qts. per 100
sq. ft.
Treatment 2-Spray containing Emusifiable Aldrin
(2 Ibs. tech. per gal.) at 4 fl. oz. per
2 gallons, applied at 7 qts. per 100
sq. ft.
Treatment 3-Untreated Check.
A total of one quart of manure was taken from ten different
obviously infested mounds under each cage for a pre-application
larval record. The manure was placed upon a piece of thin
cardboard lying on 16 mesh screen wire held by an eighteen
inch square wooden frame four inches deep. The material was
then slowly washed through with a fine sprayer of water from
a garden hose nozzle, and was manipulated with a trowel while
being sprayed. Larvae were counted as they appeared on the
screen and recorded as being alive or dead.
The initial counts were 510, 710, and 560 larvae for the
three cages or blocks of plots respectively, an average for
the house of 590 larvae per quart of manure. The applications
were made during the morning of October 1, and the remain-
ing manure in all four buildings of the poultry establishment
was then treated with malathion spray and other malathion
preparations against larvae and adults. The adult population
was practically eliminated within a few hours.
After five days each plot was sampled by the same manner
as described earlier. On this same date the plots were re-
sprayed. The malathion spray was increased to 4 quarts per
100 square feet. The aldrin concentrate was increased to 8 fl.
oz. per 100 square feet in 4 quarts of water. Plots were sampled
again for larvae after seven days. Table II shows the results
of this experiment.
There were more dead larvae and fewer live larvae in the
malathion spray plots following the first application than where
aldrin was used. By the time readings were made for the second
application the overall larval population, including the untreated
check, was reduced to almost zero as the result of controlling
both larvae and adults in the entire establishment.
In another experiment in another house at the same loca-
tion and at the same time, single plots were sprayed with
emulsifiable malathion spray containing 0.5 percent and 0.25
percent malathion at the rate of 6 quarts per 100 square feet.


VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

Five days after the application there were 111 dead and 35 live
larvae per sample in the 0.5 percent treatment; 50 dead and
8 alive in the 0.25 percent treatment.


First Application Second Application
Treatment Dead Alive Dead Alive

Malathion Spray ...... 92 33 12 14

Aldrin Spray .......... 1 129 1 0.33

Untreated ........... .. 2 83 0 3

Tests were conducted during 1953 in Florida and Georgia
against adult and larval stages of house flies in dairy barns,
poultry houses, hog-feeding units and garbage dumps. Baits
containing 1 percent malathion from wettable powder in honey,
blackstrap molasses or syrup applied to burlap or in narrow
bands on such hard surfaces as wood, concrete or cardboard
were very attractive to adult flies and remained active for
much longer periods than is claimed for similar baits that
are diluted with water. Honey is definitely superior to black-
strap or sugarcane syrup because honey dries very slowly,
if at all. Baits remained attractive from one to twenty-one
days, depending upon the bait material used and atmospheric
Laboratory testing showed that settling of the wettable
powder from thick baits of this type is extremely slow. The
malathion content of baits was very gradually reduced upon
storage; however, stored baits were effective for 4 to 10 weeks
after mixing depending upon the material used.
In tests against fly larvae it was found that a spray con-
taining one percent malathion from emulsifiable concentrate,
applied to manure with a sprayer or sprinkler can at the rate
of one gallon per 100 square feet was very effective against fly
larvae and killed the adults that were contacted by the spray
and many that later contacted the treated manure.



Gahan, James B., H. G. Wilson and W. C. McDuffie. 1954. Organic phos-
phorous compounds as toxicants in house fly baits. Jour. Econ. Ent.
(in Press).
Thompson, R. K., A. A. Whipp, D. L. Davis and Edward G. Batte. 1953.
Fly control with a new bait application method. Jour. Econ. Ent. 46(3) :


The thirty-seventh annual meeting of the Florida Entomo-
logical Society will be held at Bradenton on September 2 and 3.
To make this meeting as successful as those held in the past,
members are urged to make plans now to attend. Dr. Herbert
Spencer, U. S. D. A. Laboratory, Fort Pierce, Florida, is program
chairman. Titles of papers to be presented at the meetings
should be forwarded to him in the near future. Dr. Spencer will
also appreciate suggestions or help in the planning of the pro-


VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954


Director, Bureau of Entomology, Florida State Board of Health
Jacksonville, Florida

In opening this address, it would seem appropriate to give
credit where it is so justly due, because without the unanimous
consent of the Florida Legislature some of the following re-
marks could not be made. Therefore, it can be seen that the
mosquito control workers are indeed indebted to the thirty
members of the Senate and the 79 members of the House of
Representatives who voted for the new mosquito control law
making it possible to establish a research center in the State
to study arthropods of public health importance to give addi-
tional aid to counties for permanent control work. Not only
are we indebted to the very able men in the 1953 Legislature,
but an expression of humble thanks is in order for our great
Governor, Dan McCarty, who was the first Governor in the
history of the State to ever call the need for mosquito control
to the attention of members of the Legislature, not only during
the budget hearings, but also in his message to the Legislature.
He pointed out the importance of mosquito control to the econ-
omy of the State and the great need for more direct aid to the
counties as well as a stepped-up research program and the neces-
sity for establishing a laboratory by the State Board of Health
for the purpose of studying and developing better and more
economical ways and means of controlling arthropods of public
health importance.
In 1950 the State Board of Health adopted a policy in which
they pointed out the status of mosquito control in the State
and also recommended that every mosquito control district and
county in the State appropriating a dollar for mosquito control
should receive 75 cents from the State, the State funds to be
used exclusively for eliminating breeding areas.
The Board also recommended that $200,000.00 be made avail-
able for research and technical assistance to the counties.
As you know, these recommendations became a reality dur-
ing the 1953 Legislature in which a law was passed carrying

1 Presented before the Florida Entomological Society at the 36th annual
meeting, Miami, Florida, September 10, 1953.



an appropriation of $1,250,000.00 as direct aid to counties and
mosquito control districts, the funds to be used exclusively
for eliminating permanently the breeding areas of arthropods
of public health importance by draining and filling.
In addition to the appropriation for permanent work and in
order to administer the provisions of the Act, to assist districts
and counties with technical and administrative problems in
complying with the Act in an effective and economical manner
and for the purpose of research in developing more effective
means of arthropod control, the Legislature appropriated
$250,000.00 annually to be expended by the Board for the es-
tablishment, equipping, maintenance and operation of a re-
search laboratory and facilities incident thereto.
There is no question but what arthropods of public health
importance were the greatest stumbling block to the early de-
velopment of the State. Before the turn of the century, yellow
fever caused panic in the State, dengue fever would spring forth
every few years to take its toll and malaria remained a con-
stant yoke around the necks of practically all citizens in the
northern and western part of the State. The control of these
mosquito-borne diseases in the past 20 years has led to ex-
panded development in the State which is now coming to the
forefront with each year finding an ever-increasing number of
permanent residents as well as more tourists each year finding
their way to the sunshine State.
In the past fifteen years it has been brought to the atten-
tion of the people of the northern States that it was possible
to come into the southern part of Florida during the winter
months and not run the risk of succumbing to a mosquito-borne
disease or being chewed on by pest mosquitoes during this time
of the year. This northern influx of tourists each winter has
built up to the point where last winter (1952-1953) nearly
4,000,000 people visited the State and it is anticipated this
winter that around 5,000,000 will visit the nation's winter play
grounds. The last two years have seen a decided increase in
summer visitors. In 1952 it was estimated that around
1,000,000 summer tourists visited the State and it is expected
that there will be a greater increase than the previous sum-
mer. While in 1952 the total number of visitors to the State
was around 4,950,000 and it is expected that the number
may reach the 6,000,000 mark during the 1953 season. This
means increased income to the citizens of Florida and whereas


VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

in 1952 it was estimated that $900,000,000.00 was contributed
to the State by the multitude of visitors, all evidence at the
present time points to a figure for 1953 to rise to well over
the billion mark.
The protection of the health and the comfort of the visitors
is in itself a humanitarian expression of service but for the
static populations it is not only a humanitarian gesture, but it
is an economic necessity for the survival of an ever-increasing
high standard of living which has been brought to the citizens
of Florida in the past few years.
There are those who would lead you to believe that the con-
trol of arthropods of public health importance such as mos-
quitoes, sand flies, dog flies, house flies, yellow flies and other
arthropods annoying man is a very simple and easy task to
accomplish. Just how simple is the job? Well, did you ever
fly over Florida and especially over the 10,000 islands, then over
the Florida Keys and come back through the central part of
the State to Jacksonville and leave for Pensacola flying over
the vast number of gum swamps in West Florida? If you
had made the trip last week, I can assure you of one thing-
that you would have seen rivers out of their banks, swamps
that were flooded, ponds, lakes and temporary marshes that were
flooded to the brim. To the average individual this would
mean flooded conditions brought about by heavy rainfall. To
the individual who is familiar with some of the habits of the
67 different species of mosquitoes found in the State it would
mean extremely heavy mosquito production. Flood water pro-
duces mosquitoes, regardless of whether this water is caught in
a tin can, collected in the leaf bases of a bromeliad, the over-
flow from a swamp, high tides over a coastal marsh, or water
lettuce growing prolifically in a canal-all spell mosquitoes by
the billions; and when all factors are in balance for a heavy
production, mosquito populations are produced on a scale to
stagger the imagination of the human mind.
It would be hard for you to believe that this spring the egg
counts of salt-marsh mosquitoes on some of the islands off the
western coast of Florida were found to be an average of 12,000
eggs per square foot of soil or over one-half billion eggs per
acre. It has been estimated that there are approximately
700,000 acres capable of producing this fabalous number of
salt-marsh mosquitoes. All that is necessary to bring forth
these massive broods is to flood the marshes, swales and de-



pressions near the coast with water from high tides or by
heavy rainfall. What does all this mean? Exactly this: if
there is located adjacent to a town fifty acres of the above
type of breeding area, it would be very easy to bring forth at
one emergence 25 billion mosquitoes. Suppose that the town
covered five hundred acres, and that one-half of the mosquitoes
were females, this would mean that distributed over one acre
of land in the town you would have 25,000 female salt-marsh
mosquitoes making life miserable for any individual having
nerve enough to stick his head outside.
We know that in four days the salt-marsh mosquito, Aedes
taeniorhynchus, can travel as far as twenty-five miles and in
all probability they may be able to travel twice as far.
Does is make sense to you to allow natural breeding condi-
tions to continue year after year to produce mosquitoes in
such astronomical numbers? It did not make sense to the
State Board of Health and therefore they recommended to the
Legislature that more consideration should be given to elimi-
nating these gigantic breeding areas by filling and ditching so
that high tides could flow and ebb through a system of minnow
access ditches.
A ditching program inaugurated in two counties on the
west coast of Florida two years ago already has made great
strides in reducing the mosquito population. Some counties
on the west coast of Florida will eliminate their heavy mos-
quito producing areas in the next two or three years and it
is felt that most of the counties on the west coast of Florida
in the next ten years will be able to reduce to a low percentage
their heavy producing areas thereby making it possible to con-
trol the remaining small scattered breeding areas by larviciding.
The breeding potential on the east coast of Florida is much
more difficult due to the large expansive marshes which will
take many years to completely neutralize to the degree where
breeding can be brought under control.
The control of salt-marsh mosquitoes in the southern tip of
Florida presents a real problem with no economical solution in
sight as far as permanent control is concerned. There is such
a vast acreage in the ten thousand islands, the southern tip of
Florida and the Florida Keys that it will be very difficult to
construct minnow access ditches or to fill these difficult areas
due to the hard digging in the limestone and coral formations.


VOL. XXXVII, No. 2 JUNE, 1954

Nothing has been mentioned about the sixty odd species of
fresh water mosquitoes which are a menace to many sections
of the State and the control of fresh water species by permanent
methods present a tremendous and almost impossible task.
The creation of impoundments, the construction of dikes to
hold back flood waters, while having their advantages from an
agricultural point of view and from the standpoint of creating
wildlife sanctuaries do present problems for the future as far
as the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases are concerned.
There is a grave possibility in southern Florida should water
remain impounded for a number of years that in the gigantic
sawgrass areas floating aquatic vegetation such as water lettuce,
could produce on the roots of these aquatic plants conceivable
billions of three species of Mansonia mosquitoes. Nature at
the present time does a pretty good job of keeping the Mansonia
mosquitoes fairly well under control in the Everglades sec-
tion of Florida due to the long period of time Mansonia mos-
quitoes spend in the larval stage and the fact that the vast
areas dry up every few years stopping breeding completely by
the intermittent drying aad flooding of the area. To let the
millions of acres become a vast lake and remain so for a number
of years would certainly be conducive to the production of
Mansonia in staggering numbers.
The expanded building program in this section has only one
of three places in which to spread. One is into the Atlantic
Ocean; second, to the south and southwest in the mangrove
islands or third, to the west adjacent to the dikes.
Eastern encephalitis is prevalent in Florida and it is known
to be transmitted by a Mansonia mosquito. The infection is
not only found in man, but also in horse and bird. In Louisiana
one of the white pond birds has been found to be around 45 per-
cent infected.
These virus diseases are capable of explosive epidemics
when factors become favorable for heavy production of the
vector and a good reservoir of the virus is prevalent in an area.
In California that very thing happened last year when there
were around 650 human cases of Western encephalitis. In Cuba
this summer it was reported that around 30,000 deaths in horses
and some 40 deaths in humans occurred from Eastern encepha-
There is no question but what the same thing could occur
in Florida unless we stay constantly on guard, because Florida's



tremendous growth, land reclamation and changing of natural
flow of water adds to the difficulty of controlling mosquitoes.
The mosquito control director not only has his trouble from
natural causes but he must also battle the housing developer,
and the farmer who wants to retain rain water on his field in the
summer months to enable him to grow a truck crop in the fall.
Not only does the mosquito control director have his troubles
from man-made hazards, but nature sometimes works against
him in the form of high tides, heavy rainfall and in the past
ten or twelve years there has been a marked increase in the
mean sea level. It has been estimated by past information that
the sea was rising at a rate of approximately one foot in 100
years. In the last 10 or 12 years the mean sea level has risen
around one-third of a foot which can mean the difference be-
tween an area that did not breed salt-marsh mosquitoes ten
years ago and one that is now productive.
It should be evident to all that in order to guide the State
Agency having the constitutional and legal responsibility and
the local agencies which have legal jurisdiction for protecting
the health and comfort of the citizens of the State, that these
agencies must be fortified with as much information as is pos-
sible to better enable them to carry out a safe, effective, and
economical program in controlling arthropods of public health
importance. To this end the State Board of Health is going
to establish a research center on the southeast coast of Flor-
ida for the purpose of learning something about the intermost
secrets of arthropods of public health importance in order that
new and better ways and means may be found to control these
It is expected that around $125,000.00 will be utilized in con-
structing and equipping the research center. In subsequent
years it is planned to utilize around $150,000.00 a year for re-
search and around $100,000.00 is to be used in administering
the mosquito control laws and giving technical assistance to the
counties by assisting them in planning and evaluating their
temporary and permanent control procedures.
The purpose of the research center will be twofold: (1) to
produce such biological information as the Bureau of Ento-
mology needs in order to promote and carry out the most effec-
tive and efficient control possible, and (2) to expedite the
incorporation of this information into control practices. In
other words, this is to be a biological research center. It will


VOL. XXXVII, NO. 2 JUNE, 1954 111

be intimately connected with the control operations in all dis-
tricts so that its efforts will always be in the direction indicated
by control needs. Under no circumstances will it undertake re-
search of no value to the control of arthropods of public health
importance or drift into a program of purely academic research.
It is to be a center of biological research within a control or-
ganization, with none of the aloofness rightly expected, for in-
stance, of a university laboratory with no control ties.
There is no question in my mind that with a better coordi-
nated program between the coastal counties and with a research
center to guide the State and the counties in their control activi-
ties that great strides will be made in the next ten years and
that many sections along the coastal areas will be able to bring
the salt-marsh mosquitoes under control.

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