Mosquitoes and fleas


Material Information

Mosquitoes and fleas
Series Title:
Circular / United States Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Entomology ;
Physical Description:
4 p. : ; 23 cm.
Howard, L. O ( Leland Ossian ), 1857-1950
United States Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Entomology
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Fleas   ( lcsh )
Mosquitoes   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


General Note:
Caption title.
General Note:
"Washington, D.C., February 1, 1896."--P. 4.
Statement of Responsibility:
L.O. Howard.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 029681045
oclc - 28153191
System ID:

Full Text
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\\', .,r,' .irl,' l^T nt k ,,f hut a .;,,:l,. -\," >^ 1^-"^ .'. l i
f ii .1- 1.-'. i r i ilI l I I' o l 'o tl t ... li' , l t i I, L '
I *l 'lii s..i, ii '- I il.ili, ii' ,,I lth l)iptt'rr r'ords tllet'il o l iet' spec' it Ir. i
Nrti, .\i1ii' .1 .n1 li 'I \'. I'ri'tli '( 11Act llitt lit'- \lew 'r 'd ;it
li'-'t"I timn "1, i '- in "Irnijii iI. '1> ,i.' n l\ l 'i<>'i' ;trc1 e* iitsiiii'd ill tin'
ro lli'ftiiiii frl l fi \ .lll,,li i. M i-, 1111i.
T'lil. feill,,will -i .0 *iii 'iti i nil:, Ifi. lit'e life history of thllt, imi'tl4'' is
base" I Iupl li 1 ,'1 I If jI-, ration! ln ii ei inII this It)vision ui m tile
clevprhloi iiiititl 'f Il"r -lliiii -r .11' Ii .i ,>l- Il F',/'.' /pie U i" tin' of ilour
cOflhI11'1i"'lt :iiel Ii.>.I ,i,'-Ir,.il -;. ii *IT!,i. writer hias seen speci-
mnhl l 'if tlii- Ih., fr- l N,'v Hampshire, NI i-- ilii-'i.- New York,
Marylantld. I)i-tr.i *ft',liiiili.i. I lllir-i. Mili,-,ta, Kentucky. Nelbraiska.
Louisian'i, I h'.r',i.i. il, tit, Island( of Jamaica, West Inldiest. No loutIt
it is also ilitm .iI ii In Nr Jt .lersey.
Egg-layiil. t:ak,' Ilar.' :t iii.tni. 'Tli. ,2"- are 1i|-iil> in bohi t-
Shapedti nil;.-e- ''n lh' iirf:i,',' the water, lite numberr \' roll!
2(X) tn 41li ii rli in --. 'oir '',,- i, i hatch in sixteen ihoiur. 'I.
hlrvit, live luir ,. ,il, ltlr -uifi ..... f the w niter, ,,linii-ir to the <,,p ait li,-
qIieRnt iht'rv:il t I, I tr'. li. 'rI- larval state may It vonipleted in seven
idIvay : th' pu il -t .it, ni.iy I -I ,ii, tI 'enty-f iir hours. An eIItire I, i'
eration ilii liiinr iili. Ilini may be colip1leted in ten 1 i\ This
length 'f tiin.', li,'.'v 'r. i' 1.1 bwe almost indefinitely ,,' I ii tlie
weather liv o, il. Thlr,' .1re therefore, man' I' .i, I'l,- t- in tie 't oi-Tr_'
n[f at M I':.til I till' in.i,'l 111 li breed suclessfully in a mJ ore or sIt'S
transient :surf:i,',' pI. ,l' 'f er.
Mosquitli.-es liilirmi.t, in tlie adult condition in cellars and (outiotuses
and unidrr ,i i''rtV 'f -helter. Ti ,. Ti .'rl, of cold makes no 'lit, is i, .
in successful iilu,.ri:,il i ii in ,-1iiii are a iLundant in the arctic i' W i2 i~

(O f r.t:ni. lie :iL. i -i ..ii'-. liil .'' in liotsi s the il st is a1 .1 ,,,:',. i
serptc i e "wnii ,, ii.le-\\- nrI i ;, '.,it- .,I neti about lceds. If th1 itnsIct?
are trouble..! ,- ii -ilii' ,r -1-1' ,1 11' roo1s ',lirir I the i11 2- t..i'
Ieurm iii: 'if p\v"-,.ii 1in "ill to -t ii,.l'. tlieni al to miake their pre et1 e
Liin ljecti,,ni.lul'l,. I''r,'tllrnini l',r t0 15'ii pl '.- should li e prepared 1,l
inItlll i iiiL' i ll' ,' 1' r l l tli, i !iil' 1 to allow o, f its [I i, i,- .-li_' ly citollle l
ivy halndi int,, lir!' *... i ,ln, t u lthe Mizt and -Ii 11 'I a ;I .',.' clioanolhte
dirii Tlie-, ,,uls- .. mr i ,.n i,1 .. 'I in a1 pain and 'i. *.'i,_.d', dried ill
ai .,'ii. Hl'n li t- I i til ell .11`p \ ucha cone will smnoulder slowly.
-uil1 ,i'ndl 1ip a diin t'olumiin ,,i piu,_'. ( sT? mi ike, t Imitet l TIii to maim, but
.,tumi'fHimi te> ii'',.iuil,,'s- InI actual' \,',i' ,' i, two or three suclh cones
liur .ild during flie course ',I an ,.M ,ili ,i have i ii mi,.liuch,-i fr,,mn
nml,,squit'e,'- in "iiii., rooms. It does not kill the im-', l-. boowever, and
is at best but a j.lli.itiv,'.

The nisiijuitoes found on the ceilings of bedrooms in the evening
may be quickly and easily killed by means of a small shallow tin cup
(such as the lid of a blacking box) naiiled to the top of a stick and wet
inside with kerosene. This cup is placed, over the quiescent mosquito,
which immediately drops or ftlis against the oily surface and is killed.
But altogether the most satisfactory means of figliting mosquitoes are
those which are directed to the destruction of the larva or the abolition
of pr,.ding places. These measures are not everywhere feasible, but in
many ll:iI-e. there is absolutely no necessity for the endurance of the
mosquito plagw,. The principal remedies of this class are three: The
draining of ponds and marshes, the introduction of tish into ishlf-ss
pml,.., and the use of kerosene on the surface of the water.
The draining of breeding pools needs no discussion. Obviously the
drying up of such places will prevent mosquitoes from breeding therein.
and the conditions of a successful application of this measure will, it is
equally obvious, vary with each case.
The introduction of fish into fishless ponds is feasible and advisalble
in many cases where the use of kerosene on the surface of the water
would be thought undesirable. In tanks supplying drinking water, for
example, fish would destroy the mosquito larva' as fast as hatched. A
case is recorded in Insect Life (Vol. IV, p. 223) where carp were
emplyel in this way with perfect success by an English gentleman
living in the Riviera. At San Dir.... Tex., the people use for this pur-
pose a little fishl, called there a pr-rc.h, the species of which the writer
has not been able to ascertain. Probably the common voracious little
stickle-back would answer admirably as a mosquito destroyer.
Probably the best, and certainly the easiest, of wholesale remedies
against mosquitoes is the application of kerosene to the surface of
breeding pools. The suggestion that kerosene coulI be used as a remedy
for mosquitoes is not new and has been made more than once. Exact
e-xpe-riiiipnts out of doors and on a large scale were made in 1892 by the
writer. These and subse lueiit experiments show that approximately 1
ounce of kerosene to each 15 square feet of water surface on snlall pools
will effectually destroy all the larvae anil pupa' in that pool, with the
additional advantage that the adult females,not deterred from attrmipt-
ing to oviposit, are killed when they a;light onthe kerosene-covered water.
Ordinarily the application need not be renewed for a month, though
v,;Ir ying circumstances may require more frequent applications in c.-ertain
Since 1892 several demonstrations, on large and small sales, havw
been made of the practicability of this method. Under the writer's
supervision two localities were rid of misqiluitl alone. It will, however, probably not prove feasible to treat in this
way the large sea marshes along the coast where mosquitoes breed in
hordes, although even here the remedy may prove to be p)raticable
under certain conditions and in certain situations. In inland places,
however, where the mosquito supply is derived from comparatively cir-
cumscribed p,.ols. the kerosene remedy will prove most useful. In
some California towns, we are inform r.-l. the pit or vault behimlnd water-
closets is sulject to flusl ing with water during the irrigation of thlie
land near by. A period of several weeks elapses, more water is
turned in, and in the meantime the water in the pit rn iw stagnant and
becomes the bie,,ling place of thousands of mosquitoes. \Whlre, as in
certain towns and cities, house drainage runs into such a pit and an

1itntil'.1'r pri\\ %%itl nt eldo 1lse doo11 ik)' is u0 l o 1e it, uI, sqI ,,- l of e '%i w Il
lirM'il .ll summer in the I lii coM ntents I the \1 ilt lo-l xf A il 7se l ill
iilf'-t all tli, adi , ni hl1 e s.
In such eases a tt,'acupfldl 'I poItil red intuh ';tl vautIlt at i r-
v r.l nf a ; n1 th o1 r less w o1hl _1i' %l de 'te s iI ii ,,, I ..l i, fl 11
lilt,.-li,,, '-.a i t did n t al nt;.tith itr I r l it. This is a -'ste w.her the'
1,1.iii 111*. li,> tir ._'l .1 1 ,I- is m ost i essentii l ; 'v ry :,hoii'r ,h r it+ nj ;i ., ,i
n,.'l lsli, c ...t.d should sLI thlt his ir a lilt is trc itme w ith ke tro ene ', _,l i ,ily
.11il ,,'l.ii. The c ost if O lii elii,- thati i t net d it t ,n-1 idrl
i'1'1",'. is is ieth ese it they o nt wooy h e'K m rimin "W te is MWleI'd
inl },|r'els or I,,.-,-),. ,,1 fnr (mt i ,n |i ...... or" ano+ther. n niH S tiiitn s ni~ly
.iil do Itreed in im m li'rrtinHic s tivx'.!-fs. if tlir w; tcr*< l :+ u tlic ijh;iu
rniii lV O Wi 1141t1101) f' Itll I'Lua it i 1!1 h, 1 ii' W i k 1- m :f Ai little W k '<>-
'liv,. sin i l'e t hi t' oil will not. h,* ilr .1n imt wit t l is t in* r +'it t ;ii +v.i'r ti
T-rl. i > I si ould Il co redl ;Ii t i t I ti I rI i t I-m 1 t i t-. s-. I
Thi ,ila't it n. Wl hu th is thI li'st i;iy to tIu V( d ithi kI Is i t I twri itur-e
f.-i' of a pool of some si. e? i I'. "'ii'r miiT? tini .',h sh ii the o crrI itimat
ii* oi'viously iinii, hut such a ,iit, .I'..i h:is mlin a tsk med of the livisinm .
Si cplly l,,i i'r tilt oil on from .I,' lt int of tIi K slsio' r t ill ;- ,! tl tIIil-
tril;, iy j v,.ll. sWin e it iil spr. e d of i. if' hi if for;itiy rt>;i i .i o it isit ,h ir, ml
t,, riat the pIo.,, ril,idly with krr nei it ln::y hv ;Idvis;h ,l ,oil lhr, m a "Ipl. in i rn 4 i ".'.'I". cithr fom tin hatk or 11.. 11:i ho; I 1
nithi,, ,,f apppli, iti,,Il \ ill vary with <;K'h f;i>m lint in tIe cisi of Iooit
wli,.h Can1 be m ost .,I\ I Il.l Oi-. I:sly trcitt'd, nai i(ly. tli-f of sii ll siz<*,
t1 ,e il can Ie 'k m -l., 1,,. 1 !, ,,,i-k it on tZ Iin, witli ;n wide
w, ',j of the arin.
uI i._'i from tlie specimens f i1. i, sI ut t'o thi )ivisinn of late -ars,
rillti r,.npl.riil.- of hoIuses ilnfe-ted Iy th' thi, [1 hiNiiin 01 1 ( 0l'0 f
irria .ii,) is not their species mow -t lik-ly t1o mcit in _ii it 1iniii'r. ini
ululliinr houses, ut rather th ie omuini ..n ,,-,i ltai mi' tf t d mmn
:iAnd c:t (l il.x serrafici p). A house niay !mi''oinne inife Asteml w itl) this
JpI I''i,. even no ,omisthe *ininials lie keplt, 4,ir a visitor at a
hlii',n,, \ln, i, sueh pIets are nl;iltiiitii 'I it; le tie 0 ii 'n,'lls If e il1. ii'.'
home with him one or two feiali' I1 I- w\hi li '.'.:i tok ii- o\ Jprcin-
ises. 1l course where a pe-t ,-. inr 1at is kept thie sourme if th 1. ink' -
tntion is manifest.
Tlih.r worst ases ,I infestatimon reported tO this Division w oure where
houses had beenii 1'-nilir iri]\ unoccupied dI:,ii,,- the summer. Sutli
houses ,,tl,'la !ecoie more or ss da, i' ;ip a s ia rule th(,I I 'sto i'ii'-:y
sl' ,,piii- of the ilI is interruptel, thus' furnishiiii th, l 'l u;ditiins
under which. as we ,-h.ill see, Il' imost readily I''' ,i-.
TI e',i.- of Pulpx serratierio s are deposit ,.Ite l ,. ,_ thi- iii'is of i-ts
and ,li,-. hut as they are n, t aittanhed to tIim hairs. nunili'rs dro il"l
whenever the infested animal -moves r -lies don. Fr m'X\M rini nttrs
who desire to 1'"ll .,. ou tfor the)seI lves tR life Iiist ( tli sp c iies.-.
an ,..i-' ,:,, to collect t 'he to-0 is 1', r, i, ,,, to, lay I a ; trip .. l t i car-
pet f',r the animal to -1. *" upon, and .,11" 'r,ards tV lruslh tie uhth itnto
a r'eclIptacl'e. in which the wmill he ,iiiii. in nmIers if thIe [.Iini m
is infested. In this lies a hint fi the housekeeper Il I wul lId kIelx a
pe't i1, or cat andl yet avoid an outbreak .. ,- in ter lhouse'. 'rov'ide
a ru._ fr lliw cat or the d,1_' to p I n and i ... this i!_ a :. i ',
shiking,. and mwi-linwL. :ill.'rwA.Lr I- o" pihiji up andI lo ii.,1 thi e dust
thus removed. As ;d1l the tle:i P'u,- on an i;t, -id animal m, il not. how-

4IIIl IHnll lil 111111111111 111111111 IIIN ll li 1111
3 1262 09216 4846
ever, drop oft' in this way, and those %lhich remain on it will probably
develop successfully, it will be found wise to occasionally rub into the
hair of the dih or cat a quJintity of pvrethruni puwdler. If thoroughly
:Ipplied it will cause the fle:is to fall oft in a half stupefied condition,
when they, too, inijay be sw(--pt up and burned.
In the observations made at this Department upon this species of flea
during the summer of l M5. some diIliculty was found in preserving just
the right dlcgre of moisture to enable the insect successfully to trans-
form. An excess of moisture was found prejudicial to the development
of the .-p, .ihs, as was too great dryness. The observations showed,
however, that at W:isliington in summer an entire generation may
develop in a little more than a firtniiiLt. I.iii.e :, housekeeper shut-
tinuL, up her house in June, for exa:niple. with i cihlony of fleas too small
to be noticed inside it, need not be surprised ti- fil the establishment
overrun when she opens it up again in Septembler or October.
The larva' of the 'log and cat flea will not develop successfully in
situations where they are likely to be disturbed. The use of carpets
and straw niatting-, in our opinion, favors their development, since the
young larvae can penetrate the interstices of either sort of floor-covering
and tiriI an livingg place in some crack where they are not likely to be
disturbed. It Is comparatively easy to destroy the insect in its early
-tag,. (when it is noticed), as is shown by the difficulty of rearing it,
but the adult fleas are so active and so hardy that they successfully
resist any but the most strenuous measures. Even the persistent use
of California buhach and other pyrethrum powders was ineffectual in
one case of extreme iinfc.tatiion. as was also, and more remarkably, a free
sprinkling of floor m.iattin-s with benzine. In this instance it was
finally necessary to take up the floor coverings and wash the floors down
with hot .,napsuds in order to secure relief from the flea plague. In
another case, however, a single liberal application of buhach was per-
fectly .iit.-cful. while in a third a single thorough application of ben-
zine completely rid an infested house of fleas.
To sum up: Every house where a pet dlog or cat is kept may become
seriously infested with fleas if the proper conditions of moisture and
freedom from disturbance exist. Infestation, however, is not likely to
occur if the (bare) floors can be frequently and thoroughly swept.
When an outbreak of fleas comes, however, the easiest remedy to apply
is a free sprinkling of pyrelhruim powder in the infested rooms. This Wi.
failing, benzine may be tried, a thorough spraying of carpets and floors
being unibrlt ikii. with the exercise if due precaution in seeing that no :
lights or fires are in the house at the time of the application, or for some
hours .tftrrwards. Finally, if the plague is not thus abated, all floor
(,)ering.- must be removed and the floors washed with hot soapsuds.
This is a useful precaution to' take in any house which it is proposed to
close for the summer, since even a thorough sweeping may leave behind
some few flea eggs from which an all-pervading swarmi may develop
before the house is reopened.
L. 0. H1IWAID.
.\plr,\,l : Entomiologist.
Assistant sper-flaryi.

VWAHIN.ION, D. C., F briary 1, 1896.