Use fire, poison to war on pests on Kansas farms

United Press

BUFFALO, Neb. -- This town was on the grasshopper battlefront Sunday night, with farmers inflicting heavy losses on the advancing army that had penetrated deeply into the Buffalo sector.

Wooden fence posts, wagon tongues even clothing hung out to dry, was quickly devoured by the gray yellow horde. Anything containing vegetable fiber attracts the hungry grasshoppers.


Although farmers said several millions of the grasshoppers had been killed, additional swarms are expected when eggs now strewing the ground have incubated. Fires, in which bodies of the slain insects were being burned, dotted the plains Sunday right. Introduction of poison as a weapon resulted in the death of thousands of the insects.

At some points the bodies of the grasshoppers were piled high on the rails, impeding trains. At others they made the highways slippery beneath the tires of automobiles.

Sell the 'Corpses'

Some of the farmers, their crops destroyed, raised money by packing the dead grasshoppers in preservatives and selling them to fishermen for bait at 20 cents a pound.

The insect invasion has devastated gardens, crops and fruit trees and behind their advance stretches a sere swath. Damage already is in the millions of dollars.


Entymologists said the grasshoppers soon would sprout wings and increase the area of their damage. Unless checked too they will be in control of the entire tier of northern Nebraska counties.

Fields green Sunday, may be splotched Monday with barren stretches. Another day and the fertile Platte valley may be barren.

City and town dwellers also are witnessing the march of the grasshoppers. Gardens and trees are left leafless. Hungry grasshoppers swarm solidly on the houses, gather in clusters and fall to the ground from trees and telephone poles.

Burning of the insects was decided upon when farmers feared their cattle would die after eating the bodies of grasshoppers which had been killed by poison.

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