Official Organ of the Florida Ento jirB
VOL. VII FALL NUMBER o. 2-
OCTOBER, 1923 ,r.- :
j, .- -- *;- ^-_______
CITRUS CONDITIONS IN THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY AND
THE SATSUMA SECTIONS OF ALABAMA TOGETHER
WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES ON SAN JOSE SCALE
SITUATION IN NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS
W. W. YOTHERS, Bureau of Entomology*
The visit to the Rio Grande Valley was made under the aus-
pices and on the invitation of the Extension Division of the
Texas A. & M. College. A year ago they conducted a citrus school
and it met with such success that it was decided to hold another
one this year and it was held from June 25th to 30th inclusive.
The object of the school was to give the citrus growers informa-
tion regarding the diseases and insects and methods for their *
control. During the week somewhere around a thousand people
attended the lectures at the various places.
General Conditions. The soil of the Rio Grande Valley is very
fertile and citrus trees make a marvelous growth. Nursery
trees one year old are much larger than are trees of the same
age in Florida. The average 4-year old grove was as large as a 7
or 8-year old grove grown uder the average Florida conditions.
In fact some of the trees planted 20x20 feet, 4 years ago, have
branches which now meet.
Owing to the uneven distribution of rainfall throughout the
year it is necessary to irrigate the trees in order to insure
proper growth. The water for this purpose is pumped from the
Rio Grande. As yet the gravity system is not in operation but
*Paper read before the August meeting of the Florida Entomological Society.
We recommend the goods advertised in The Florida Ento-
mologist. Please mention Entomologist when you write our
THE FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGIST
a strong movement is on foot to bring about such a system of
irrigation and no doubt in a few years not only will the present
groves be irrigated by the gravity system but also great acre-
ages in addition. So far as I could learn the cost of irrigating
a grove varies from $10.00 to $12.00 per acre per year. No doubt
the cost is different in different districts. Since the valley is
near Mexico an abundant supply of labor is always available
and the prevailing wage is one dollar per day for common labor.
Extent of Industry. According to the best information obtain-
able, 1,700,000 citrus trees have been planted during the past
few years. This would be about 25,000 acres figuring on the
basis that the trees were planted 20x20 feet. As yet the produc-
tion of fruit has not been great but prospects are good for
ten or twelve thousand cars within the period of 4 years. In
fact this is the estimate given by the president of the Valley
Varieties and Root Stocks. The Parson Brown, Pineapple
and Valencias seem to be the varieties of oranges usually planted,
while Duncan and Marsh Seedless were the leading varieties of
grapefruit, 80% of the plantings consisting of grapefruit and
only 20% of oranges. With one exception all of the citrus
growers with whom I talked in the Valley are of the opinion
that neither trifoliata nor lemon stock have any value for the
growing of citrus trees in the Valley. Practically all the plant-
ings are now on sour orange stock.
Injury from Winds. The injury caused by the winds is very
great. A large part of the foliage on young trees is blown away
and most of these trees are very much lop-sided. The foliage
on the outside rows on the south and east sides of most groves
is usually very sparse, due to the injury from winds. The fruit
also is very badly blemished by being blown around so violently
as to cause mechanical injury. In fact I rather thought that
99% of the blemishes seen in the Valley were caused by winds.
Diseases. Although an extensive search was made for mela-
nose not a single spot was found in the entire Valley. Citrus
scab was very serious on some sour seedlings in a nursery but
the grapefruit trees did not seem to be seriously effected with
this fungus disease. In one grove I saw what I presumed to
be foot-rot and one case of a disease simliar to frenching was
Insects and Mites. Since citrus trees have been shipped into
the Valley from both Florida and California is is only natural
to expect that the same insect pests which are present in both
of these localities should also be present in the Valley. Such is
largely the case and we find about the same scale insects and
mites present as in both Florida and California. The Florida
red scale is supposed to be the most injurious scale present. It
seems to thrive in the hot dry climate. Next in importance is
the California red (this may be dictyospermum). This scale
was observed in a grove, the trees of which were purchased in
California, in great abundance. In fact this scale had nearly
killed this entire grove which was only saved from total destruc-
tion by the use of oil emulsion two or three times last winter.
The chaff scale, P. pergandii, does great damage to the twigs
and trunk and no doubt is the third most injurious scale insect.
The long scale, L. gloverii, is the fourth in importance and does
much more damage than the purple scale. The purple scale is
also present but I presume the sun is too hot for its proper de-
velopment in great numbers. I understand the citrus white fly
is present at Brownsville but I did not see it myself.
The citrus rust mite is present in the greatest abundance in the
Valley. It often becomes so abundant that the limbs turn blue
and the leaves take on a brown color and, in many cases, do not
reach normal size. The fruit on several groves was badly rus-
seted and in many cases the living mites and eggs were present
on the fruit in countless numbers.
Even though rust mites are extremely abundant they can be
very easily controlled by means of dusting with sulphur. Owing
to the infrequency of rains the sulphur would remain on the
foliage for long periods of time and sufficient to kill rust mites
would no doubt be present until a rain came and washed it from
Entomogenous fungi. None of the entomogenous fungi at-
tacking scale insects were observed. Neither the county agents
nor Mr. E. W. Halstead had ever seen them in the Valley excep-
ting on nursery stock when received. No doubt these fungi have
been introduced many thousands of times and owing to the
adverse climatic conditions have never established themselves.
I did not find out if our Florida fungus on rust mites was pres-
ent. Neither the citrus red spider nor the six-spotted mite, T.
sexmaculatus, were observed. Another red spider, however,
of a greenish tinge with dark spots on its back was observed
at McAllen. I am of the opinion that this is the same red spider
THE FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGIST
as the one taken by me on some temple oranges at Homestead,
Florida, in W. J. Krome's grove.
A local man was making the Government formula oil emulsion
for controlling scale insects. The grade of oil being used was
too light for best results and specifications of a better oil were
given to him. They have already established a citrus experi-
ment station in the Valley for the purpose of taking up the
problems relating to the industry. No doubt this will solve many
of the problems and difficulties which now seem almost insur-
mountable to the citrus growers.
Even though trees make a much more vigorous growth and
labor is less than half what it is in Florida and no fertilizer has
been required up to this time, the hazard from cold may out-
weigh the advantages above enumerated. Due to this cold haz-
ard most of the growers will arrange for firing in case of
SATSUMA CONDITIONS IN ALABAMA
The satsuma industry in Alabama is in a flourishing condition
with prospects this coming year for an increased yield over
that of the past season. The Gulf Coast Citrus Exchange has
employed Dr. H. L. Dozier to handle its insect and spray prob-
lems. Dr. Dozier has approached the situation with enthusiasm
and vigor and no doubt his work will be exceedingly profitable
to the members of the Exchange. One of his main objects is to
teach the citrus growers the recognition and biology of the
citrus pests. This is being done by lectures, personal interviews
and writing for the Gulf Coast Citrus Grower. It is also his
intention to carry on as much research work relating to sprays
and insect biologies as time will permit.
SAN JOSE SCALE CONDITIONS IN NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS
In Northwestern Arkansas I visited Messrs. Ackerman and
Pierce, who showed me large acreages of apples which had been
completely killed by the San Jose Scale and thousands of other
trees which had been maot severely damaged. The. entire pp'e
industry would have been wiped out in the Ozark district if these
scientists had not introduced the oil emulsions. The apple-
growers and business men are highly pleased with the results of
these emulsions in the control of this scale. They use a heavy
oil for making the emulsion and it retails for $12.00 a barrel
which is less than half what Florida growers pay for emulsions
made out of lighter oils.
THE GENERIC AND SPECIFIC NAME OF THE ORANGE
Some confusion has arisen in regard to the proper generic
name for the orange rust mite and also the proper spelling of
its specific name.
The generic name Typhlodromus under which the mite was
originally described does not appear in recent literature on the
gall mites and is not mentioned in either Nalepa's 1898 mono-
graph of this group or in his extensive 1911 monograph. This
genus was established by Scheuten in 1857 for the pear leaf
blister mite, now known as Eriophyes piri (Pgst.). In Scheu-
ten's paper the name of his proposed genus is neither set off
by a center heading or a paragraph heading, hence has undoubt-
edly been overlooked by most entomologists. Being monobasic
and having Eriophyes piri (Pgst.) as a type, the genus is evi-
dently only a synonym of Phytoptus Dujardin (1851), which in
turn is a synonym of Eriophyes Siebold (1851).
Notwithstanding the fact that the orange rust mite clearly
belongs to the genus Phyllocoptes, which genus was established
by Nalepa in 1889, it is sometimes mentioned as being an
Eriophyes, if perchance neither of the two untenable names,
Typhlodromus or Phytoptus, are used. The reason for this is
not hard to find. The drawing of this species given by Hubbard
many years ago, which drawing frequently has been copied in
more recent years and which is the only drawing of this mite
with which most entomologists are familiar, actually represents
the species as being an Eriophyes!, i. e., all of the abdominal
rings are shown as being complete rings, whereas in reality half
of them are only half rings.
The proper genus for this mite is clearly Phyllocoptes Nalepa.
The spelling of the specific name of this mite also varies. In
accumulated notes and papers it has been spelled oliioorus, olei-
vorus, oilivorus and oil-livorus. The first mentioned is the spell-
ing under which the species was described. Evidently it was
badly garbled either in manuscript or in the printing of the
same. In Ashmead's notes accompanying the original description
of the mite mention is made of its feeding on the oil of the
orange, hence the supposition has been that he intended to
indicate this fact in the name proposed. All of the renderings of
the name, other than the original spelling, seem to indicate this
THE FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGIST
intention, but unfortunately not everyone would form the name
in the same way.
If a subsequent paper published by Ashmead in his "Orange
Insects", only a year after the publication of this original de-
scription of the mite, had not been so commonly overlooked,
this confusion would have been largely avoided. In his "Orange
Insects," published in 1880, there occurs on page 40 the follow-
ing sentence: "I immediately began to study it (the rust mite),
and soon after wrote him (Rev. T. W. Moore) that I had dis-
covered what it was and forwarded a description of it for pub-
lication, crediting him with the discovery, under the name of
Typhlodromus oleivorus, i. e., oil eating from supposing it to
feed on the essential oil of the orange."
Thus the earliest amended spelling of the specific name, and
in this instance the more properly formed, is oleivorus. The
proper scientific name for the orange rust mite, therefore, is
Phyllocoptes oleivorus (Ashmead).
H. E. EWING
U. S. Bureau of Entomology.
A GEOMETRID LARVA ON GRAPEFRUIT
The writer has recently received a number of larvae of the
Geometrid moth Microgonia vesulia Cramer which were col-
lected on grapefruit trees. The larva is not apt to be confounded
with anything else, being a large gray looper, fully four inches
long when mature. The majority of the larvae were parasitized
by a Tachinid fly, and only the very young larvae lived to pro-
duce moths. These parasites will probably prevent the insect
from ever becoming of any importance as a pest.
I am indebted to Mr. F. H. Benjamin for the determination.
The moth is figured by Holland (Moth Book, pi. XLV, f. 11)
under the name Oxydia vesulia. Grossbeck (Insects of Fla.,
IV, p. 102) gives the food plant of the larvae as oak. According
to these authorities it is found over south Florida, and extends
to Texas and through Mexico and the Antilles to Brazil. A
series of the bred specimens is preserved in the author's col-
D. MARSTON BATES.
New members of our society are T. H. Hubbell and John
Gray. Prof. Hubbell comes to assist Dr. Rogers in the teaching
of entomology in the University. He is an ecologist and par-
ticularly interested in orthoptera. Mr. Gray is Professor of
Economic Entomology and Pathology in the Agricultural Col-
Mr. D. Marston Bates of Ft. Lauderdale, the youngest mem-
ber of our society and an earnest student of microlepidoptera,
has entered the University. He is also working as part time
assistant in the Department of Entomology of the Experiment
Mr. R. L. Trigg has resigned his position as research fellow
for the National Research Council located at the Experiment
Station to accept a position with the Federal Horticultural
Board. He will be located at New York. Mr. Trigg has se-
cured some valuable data on the influence of 'sulphur on the
Reginald Hart has been acting as assistant to the entomolo-
gist of the State Plant Board during the absence of Mr. Geo.
Merrill on a short vacation in the Carolinas.
Among the publications recently published by our members
are two by Dr. H. S. Davis of the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries on
diseases of fish and three by Dr. Carl J. Drake in Technical Pub-
lication No. 16, of the N. Y. State College of Forestry.
Mr. A. H. Beyer recently visited Lakeland Highlands where
"pumpkin bugs", Nezara viridula, were doing much damage to
citrus. They were killing limbs of grapefruit trees an inch or
two in diameter. They attack the uppet side of limbs bending
under the weight of fruit at the point of maximum bending,
where it seems to be easier for them to pierce the bark. This
type of injury was first brought to our attention last year. The*
infestation was due to a crop of cowpeas that was allowed to grow
until about the first of October instead of being cut by the middle
of September as has been recommended.
A recent correspondent writes concerning the "fungas" in his
grove. A member of the Board of Control once said that Dr.
Berger is the man who put the fun in fungus. Who inserted the
Official Organ of The Florida Entomological Society, Gainesville,
J. R. W ATSON--..............-- ...-......... --.........-..........................Editor
WILMON NEWELL.-....--..................-..--- ........... .-....Associate Editor
A. H. BEYER.....................-..........--....................... Business Manager
Issued once every three months. Free to all members of the
Subscription price to non-members is $1.00 per year in ad-
vance; 35 cents per copy.
THE SCALE INSECTS OF FLORIDA
The last number of the Quarterly Bulletin of the State Plant
Board of Florida (Vol. VII, No. 4) consists chiefly of an il-
lustrated catalog of the scale insects of Florida by Geo. B. Mer-
rill and Jeff Chaffin. This is a very valuable reference work
which should be in the hands of everyone interested in the in-
sects of Florida.
NATURAL CONTROL OF ANTS
A fruit grower in attendance at the Farmers' and Fruit Grow-
ers' Short Course reported a novel method of controlling ants
.nesting about the bases of young citrus trees where the use of
solutions of sodium cyanide or carbon disulphide would be
unsafe. He collects a number of ant-lion larvae ("doodle-bugs")
and liberates them about the bases of the infested trees. The
larvae at once "dig in" and construct their deadly funnels. The
result is a prompt and satisfactory clean up of the ants.
A PROMISING NEW BAIT
It has been found that a flavoring of nitrobenzine added to
the poisoned bran bait (25 pounds of bran thoroly mixed with
a pound of paris green) is very attractive to a variety and large
range of insects. It was first tried by U. S. D. A. workers as a
bait for web-worms (Crambidae). The Experiment Station
found it quite attractive to the celery leaf-tyer at Sanford. The
Official Record of the U. S. D. A. for July 18, 1923, reports its
successful use against tobacco wireworms at Clarksville, Tenn.
If it is attractive to such diverse insects as wireworms and
caterpillars it is quite possible that it will be found of value
against a large number of insects. It is at least worthy of a
trial against almost any biting insect.
THE BUMBLE BEES OF FLORIDA'
P. W. FATTIG
Altho there are 58 species of Bombidae in the U. S.,-47 of
the genus Bombus-the true bumble bees, and 11 of Psithyrus-
the parasitic bees; only five species, four Bombus and one Psi-
thyrus, occur in Florida. Thus it is seen that these bees are but
poorly represented in Florida. They are most abundant in the
Rocky Mountains. The following key will enable the reader to
separate our species.
A. Outer surface of hind tibiae convex and hairy; face of males black
Abdomen of female entirely dark; that of male very variable.............
AA. Outer surface of hind tibiae of female concave and smooth; face of
male usually with yellow ................... ---------....-........ .... Bombus.
a. Thorax with a distinct black band.
b. First and second segment of abdomen yellow....B. fraternus.
bb. First, second and third segments of the abdomen yellow......
aa. Thorax without a distinct black band.
b. Dorsum of the abdomen with the first segment yellow and the
remaining segments black--..................................B. impatiens.
bb. Dorsum of the abdomen with the first segment yellow, the
second segment more or less brown-ferruginous on the basal
portion, especially in the middle-the remaining segments
black .................... .. .. ........................------- separates.
B. fraternus nests in the ground or in holes in stumps or trees
at the level of the ground. It is one of the most pacific of the
bumble bees. Its coloration is very constant.
B. impatiens also nests in the ground.
B. pennsylvanicus nests on top of the ground, usually in old
mouse nests and similar situations. Occasionally the nests are
B. separatus nests in the grass on the surface of the ground.
It is one of the most pugnacious of bumble bees when its nest is
Bees of the genus Psithyrus are parasitic on the true bumble
bees which they mimic in color and actions. Usually they mimic
most closely the species of Bombus on which they are parasitic.
The Psithyrus queen enters the Bombus nest and kills the queen.
The young Bombus bees then adopt the Psithyrus queen, feed her
and tend and raise her brood.
1Abstract of a paper read before the Fla. Entomological Society March, 1920.
THE FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGIST
FOOD HABITS OF THE PECAN TWIG GIRDLER
In the latter part of October Mr. Robert R. Thompson of the
Palmer Corporation at Sarasota sent to the Experiment Station
specimens of an insect that was severely pruning his roses. It
was the hickory twig girdler, Oncideres cingulata. This is the
first instance of its attacking roses in Florida that has come to
our attention altho Felt, in "Insects Affecting Park and Wood-
land Trees", records it as an occasional pest of roses. In Flor-
ida in addition to hickories, including the pecan, which are its
normal hosts, it frequently attacks Japanese persimmons and
Australian pines, Casuarina equsetifolia, and occasionally the
water beech, Carpinus Carolinana, and citrus trees. In the
northern states it commonly attacks elms. Felt also lists oaks,
apple, plum, linden, pear, and peach. A peculiarity of their
attacks upon Australian pines is that they seldom lay any eggs
in the girdled twigs. Evidently the stimulus of the tree (which
is not really a pine) excites, thru smell, sight, feel, or other
sense, the girdling instinct but not the egg-laying instinct.
"BRAZILIAN ANT EATERS"
P. H. ROLFS
Friends and Associates or the Florida Entomological Society:
I send you words of greeting from the land of the lure, where
the skies are higher, where the stars are more numerous in the
sky, and where the Southern Cross shines every night to remind
one of his duty to his fellow man. Brazil, the land where great
rivers flow without having names, where mountain ranges occur
that are not even indicated on the maps. This vast interior
is really the Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, Sau Paulo, and the other
large coastal cities are merely cosmopolitan conglomerations
like New York, Chicago and New Orleans. One has to get away
from these cities to really know and appreciate the Brazil for
what she is. Three million people could live in this territory
and find themselves less cramped than a hundred million in the
Well, what I started out to write you about was the ant
eaters of Brazil. At first you will say that this is not an ento-
mological problem. Maybe the eating of honey is not an ento-
mological problem, but even entomologists condescend at times
to satisfy their gastronomic longings for that delicacy.
THA SAUVA (Atta sexdens, L.)
The destructiveness of this species is attested in all agricul-
tural countries in tropical America, ranging from Texas to Ar-
gentina. It is the "billion dollar insect", destroying far more
than the boll weevil, with which the Florida entomologists are
The formicaries of this "bicho" are often from six to eight
meters across and the range of the activity of the ants from one
nest may be as great as a hundred meters. Frequently they
connect their formicaries with the field in which they are cut-
,ting by long tunnels. I have a photograph of one formicary
that went to a depth of more than four meters.
Naturally formicaries of this size can breed a great quantity
of sauvas, and each year produce thousands of tanajuras
(queens). During the spring (October and November), after
the rains have commenced, these tanajuras make their nuptial
flight. Fortunately the distance they fly from the formicary is
not great. The largest number of them alight within one hun-
dred meters of their birthplace. After divesting themselves of
their wings these new queens begin to excavate and then com-
mence a new colony. Each one carries with her enough "am-
brosia" to care for herself and progeny until the first set of
workers are ready to bring in the organic matter on which to
plant the mushrooms.
These tanajuras are of a considerable size. With their wings
folded back they measure from four to six centimeters. Their
wing-spread is six to seven centimeters. Just after they have
shed their wings the tanajuras are considered a particularly
appetizing morsel. We had been told repeatedly that the ab-
origines ate them, and that some of the country people cooked
them. So we made particular inquiry to find out how this par-
ticular feat was accomplished. It seems that the regulation
way is to pull off the heads and fry the abdomen and thorax in
hot fat. So Mrs. Hargrave (nee Effie Rolfs) prepared some of
them for us. While in the hot fat, the abdomens burst, sounding
and appearing very much like popcorn. In eating quality, too,
they are about like good popcorn, crush readily and give off a
rather pleasing, evanescent aroma.
THE FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGIST
Mrs. Long, a teacher in the Methodist Missionary School at
Juiz de Fora, tells us that she has frequently seen the moleques
(negro urchins) in the school there pull off the heads and wings
and eat the remainder with a great deal of gusto.
There is no reason why one should have a great aversion to
eating tanajuras. They are absolutely cleanly about their for-
micary. For thousands, possibly millions of generations they
have lived upon nothing but mushrooms. They are much more
cleanly and certainly more appetizing in appearance than either
oysters or shrimp, though of course their color is somewhat
dark, almost black.
If any of you are "from Missouri" on this proposition, just
make us a visit next spring (October or November) and we will
give you an opportunity of changing your mind.
REPORTS OF MEETINGS
August 9, 1923.-A special meeting of the Society was held
during Farmers' and Fruit Growers' Week at the University. A
large number of visitors and members were present. President
G. F. Merrill presided. The paper of the evening was by Mr.
Others on "Citrus Conditions in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas
and in the Satsuma District of Alabama". This paper is printed
in full in this issue of the Entomologist.
September 21-A meeting of the Society was held during
County Agents' Week.
Meeting was called to order by the temporary chairman, J. R.
Watson. Members present, Beyer, Briggs, Burger, DeBusk,
Gomme, Kime, Link, O'Byrne, Warren and Watson. A large
number of visitors were also present.
The subject of the meeting was "Most Important Insect
Problems and Their Control." This was discussed by a number
of the county agents.
The first speaker, E. F. DeBusk, Extension Citrus Patholo-
gist, formerly county agent of Lake County, spoke of the aphid
injury to the watermelon crop and control measures. He brought
out very strongly the idea of agitation for a bill to the legislature
to standardize spray materials.
Wm. Gomme of Polk County also spoke of watermelon insects
and stated that in his opinion spraying was more efficient than
dusting. He spoke of Florida Red Scale as being particularly
bad. Spray burn from oil emulsion was noticed from June to
October. He also commented on the serious infestation of mealy
bugs the past season, but declared that it was brought under
good control by means of the parasite Paraleptomastix, distri-
buted by the Experiment Station.
C. D. Kime of Orange County mentioned about the same
troubles as the former speakers, but added rust mite injury.
W. R. Briggs of Manatee County told of controlling aphids
on peppers by means of nicotine sulphate. He had success in
controlling the Garden Flea Hopper with kerosene emulsion.
Alfred Warren of St. Lucie County spoke of the Florida Red
Scale as a puzzling insect.
J. S. Rainey of Dade County brought out the idea that control
work is more or less regulated by the market price of fruit;
as a result the groves have been neglected. He considers avocados
of primary importance and thinks citrus will become secondary.
He expressed the opinion that spraying or dusting of fruit should
be made compulsory by law.
General discussion followed and the meeting adjourned at
6:00 p. m.
October 31.-The Society met in Language Hall at 4:30 with
President Merrill in the chair. Members present were, Ayers,
Bates, Beyer, Berger, Chaffin, Floyd, Goodwin, Hart, Merrill,
O'Byrne, Walker, and Watson. Following a rather extended bus-
iness meeting Mr. Reginald Hart spoke of his work on an
insect survey of the lower East Coast. Among the insects
collected and sent to Mr. George Merrill for identification were
eight species of scale insects new to Florida, including two species
new to science. He spoke of the importance of the insect
pests of ornamentals to that portion of the state. In that connec-
tion Prof. Watson mentioned the recent finding of a heavy infest-
ation of root-knot on the roots of Washingtonia palms. The roots
do not produce the characteristic knot-like galls. Prof. T. H.
Hubbell and Prof. John Gray were elected members of the So-
A. H. BEYER, Sec'y.