A simple soil washer for large samples


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A simple soil washer for large samples
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Morrill, A. W
United States -- Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine ( Washington, D.C )
Publication Date:

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Resource Identifier:
aleph - 030345194
oclc - 781628585
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7Ul 1939

United States Department of A. riculture
Bureau of Entomology ird Plant Quai,;,tine


By A. W. Morrill, Jr., Division of Trnck C. ad
Garden Insect Investigations

Th'-e apparatus described heri-in .-'. 1-vised fo us i sepa-
rat-,.- larvae, pupae, and unemer'ed adults of flea beetle from th
oil1 of tobacco and potato fields in which th-.., develop e de-
scription of a similar soil washer by W. R. S. Ladell 1/ a fol-
lo',ed, with certain modifications. The soil washer is thou 't to
be simple, convenient, and easily assemblI and operated. It has
recovered, under test, 23 out of 25 small .;.*.ts of various s es,
excl',dii? eggs, put into soil to be washed through it t Is cap-
able of handling samples of considerable mass and we t, although
it is not believed to be so well adapted to the recover' of insect
Pggs as the apparatus previously described by F. H. irck. 2/

The soil washer consists of four cans, a st-rring de-
vice revolved by a 1/4-horsepower motor, and a series of three
screens. The largest can (fig. 1, is an oil drum cut in half,
measuring 24 inches in diameter and 25 inches in -:l-eth. A !/2-inch
.:opper tube containing a ball bearing is soldered to the center
of the bottom, and a small copper tube, for releasing c ressed
air at the bottom of the tank, is soldered do.'.' the inner surface
of onip side (fig. 2). Across the top of the can is laid a strip
of 11-inch strap iron, fastened in place with stove bolts and
bored through at the center to take a 1/2-inah rod.

The stirring device (fig. 2) consists of a shaft, 1/2 inch
in diameter and 281 inches long, to which are bolted two cross
bars of 1-inch strap iron holding two blades. These ar It .,1
similarly to those in an old-fashic:ed ice-cream churn. The

I/ Ladell, W. R. S. A New Apparatus for Sep-aratn Insects
and other Arthropods from the Soil. Ann. i' Biol. 23 (4):
B62-879, illus. 1936.
2/ Shirck, F. H. Soil-'.'.-.:-. A- iratus ad thods U.-1l
in Counting Wireworm Eggs. ET-', Jan- 19%, illus. rck,
F. H. A Soil-'.'Jashing Device for Use in .'.'ireworm Invsti tons
Jour. Econ. Ent. 23: 991-994, illus. l'J'.



blades are of 3-inch strap iron 18 inches long and are given a
quarter twist when attached. To the top of the shaft is fixed an
old-style sewing machine treadle wheel, 13- inches in diameter
(fig. 2).

A 1/4-horsepower electric motor is fastened to a 4 by 4
inch wooden upright and is geared down by two pulleys, one 8 inches
in diameter and one 2 inches.

The total cost of the apparatus, including a second-hand
motor, is about $10.

Op-iniigs cut near the top of the largest can allow the
surface water to drain to the next smaller can through a 1/4-inoh
mesh hardware-cloth screen. The water and. debris passing this screen
are allo..'.ed to churn in the second can, which also has a compressed-
air tube but lacks the stirring mechanism.

From this can the surface water and debris flow to the
next smaller can through a 1/8-inch-mesh hardware-cloth screen.
The material passing this screen is allowed to flow over a white
cheesecloth on a rack of 18-mesh window screening, is further washed
with clear water, and then examined.

A 12-percent solution of Epsom or table salt may be used to
help float the insects out. The solution can be allowed to settle
and be re-used. In some cases good results may be obtained without
either the salt or the compressed air. The apparatus will handle
as much as six 2-gallon buckets of eqrth at one time. About 20
minutes are required to wash a sample and change the water.

The items and materials used in making the soil washer are
as follows:

1/2 oil drum
2 ash cans
1 preserving kettle
2 blades, iron stock
4 crossbars, iron stock
1 rod
1 strap

copper tubing
copper tubing
1 ball bearing
1 pulley wheel
1 pulley wheel
1 pulley jack
1 pulley belt
1 pulley belt
12 nuts and bolts
1 sewing machine treadle

221 in. dia. and 28 in. deep
16 in. dia.
13 in. dia.
18 in. long and 3 in. wide
1 in. by 15 in.
1/2 in. dia. and 29 in. long
1 in. by 1/4 in. by 24 in.
(turn down each end, 28 in. overall)
6 feet, 1/4 in. dia.
1 in. dia. and 2 in. long
1/2 in. dia.
8 in. dia.
2 in. dia.

25 in. long (54 in. overall)
18 in. long (40 in. overall)
1/4 by 1- in.

Figure l.-Soil-washing apparatus, showing the two largest

cans and the pulleys for turning the stirrer.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries with support from LYRASIS and the Sloan Foundation











Figure 2.-Diagra of stirring apparats and can assembly.


3 1262 08537 0889

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