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Just Outside My Door 06/28/12

July 4, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - CORRESPONDENT ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

The month of June continues to fly by and another new month will arrive Sunday. Hopefully it will bring us more rain for it's getting quite dry. Although the hot temperatures we've been having has made the farmer's crops shoot up, they need more rain along with the heat. Gardens and other newly planted things such as shrubs and flowers also need a certain amount of moisture. Apparently berries also need more rain than they have gotten recently for I notice that the wild blackberry and raspberry bushes on our land look very dry and have only nubbins of berries on them.

Rain is not all that can cause havoc to farmers crops and other leaf growth. In recent weeks our area and in many other parts of our country have become infested with army worms. It isn't the first time we have had them attack locally. I spoke to Art Tanner recently and he said he remembers when his father had those worms invade the same fields that Tanner and his brother, Alton, own on Tanner Road in Findley Lake.

According to Art, their first hay cuttings produced good crops, but recently they only got one hay bale on each of three 15-acre lots because the army worms had attacked them. He also said a farm worker on a nearby farm told him the worms came just over his boots.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Sherman’s Howard Crump’s hay field after army worms attacked it.

Probably many of you have read an article or book about the many difficulties the early settlers faced when they came to the new world. I remember the Laura Ingles Wilder books which told about the locust plagues that destroyed crops in those days. Currently there are some methods that can be used to prevent the insects such as crop dusting prior to the outbreak of them. However, often one doesn't even know there is a problem until after the crop is destroyed.

Army worms can eat their way through a farm field or lawn in just days. They are really yellow green caterpillars, the larvae of a rather large adult moth. One doesn't see anything but a good growing crop one day and then the next day see nothing but devastation.

The damage to the field begins as the worms climb up the stalk eating the foliate as it travels and then finishes it off as it goes back down. One can hear the crushing noise as the worms travel through the field. Moreover, they can literally destroy more than a 100 acres in 18 to 24 hours. I've been reading the papers stating they are even worse in some other states. The army worm is similar to the crane fly infestation that happened a few years ago.

Although the army worm infestation is often a great devastation for farmers involved in that industry, those folk have been known to be a sturdy lot, having survived many difficult situations, especially in financial matters. Moreover, such losses often affect the cost of food and other essential products. However, we can be thankful the army worms don't like strawberry leaves so we can still enjoy strawberry shortcake or pie.

I didn't write about our upcoming Forth of July or Independence Day, but I trust you all know about that special holiday when we celebrate the document introduced by John Adams that eventually became the document stating the original first 13 states in the new world became the United States of America. I trust you all think about how our forefathers worked and sacrificed greatly to make our country the greatest nation in the world. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable celebration on that day.



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