Read e-book online American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial PDF

By James E. McWilliams

ISBN-10: 0231511361

ISBN-13: 9780231511360

The realm of bugs is one we basically dimly comprehend. but from utilizing arsenic, cobalt, and quicksilver to kill family infiltrators to utilizing the delicate instruments of the Orkin guy, american citizens have fought to eliminate the "bugs" they've got discovered to hate.

Inspired via the still-revolutionary theories of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, James E. McWilliams argues for a extra harmonious and rational method of our dating with bugs, person who doesn't damage the environment and, accordingly, ourselves alongside the best way. starting with the early thoughts of colonial farmers and finishing with the trendy use of chemical pesticides, McWilliams deftly exhibits how America's struggle on bugs mirrors its continuous fight with nature, fiscal improvement, expertise, and federal legislation. He unearths a truly American paradox: the lads and ladies who settled and built this state sought to regulate the surroundings and accomplish sure monetary objectives; but their equipment of agricultural growth undermined their efforts and associated them even toward the inexorable realities of the insect world.

As instructed from the viewpoint of the customarily flamboyant actors within the conflict opposed to bugs, American Pests is an interesting research into the attitudes, regulations, and practices that proceed to steer our habit towards bugs. Asking us to question, if now not abandon, our reckless (and occasionally futile) makes an attempt at insect regulate, McWilliams convincingly argues that bugs, like humans, have an inherent correct to exist and that during our try and rid ourselves of bugs, we compromise the stability of nature.

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Additional info for American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT

Sample text

Summarizing the destructive power of grasshoppers, one entomologist remarked that “fortunately there are a considerable number of species of animals”— the blister beetle and ground beetle—“that depend to a greater or less extent upon grasshoppers for substance. .

One of the most ambitious of these budding entomologists was Mary Treat, who (to support herself after her divorce) wrote popular manuals on insects and insect control that reflected the spirit of Harris’s book, but was even more overt about appealing to a lay audience—frequently publishing her findings, for example, in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. In the preface to her Injurious Insects of the Farm and Garden, Treat’s publisher complained that older entomological works “are written with reference to the identification of the species” rather than with information on how the species may be controlled.

Another entomologist who came of age under the broad umbrella of Harris’s influence was Townend Glover. Born in Brazil and raised in England, Glover migrated to the United States in 1836, at age twentyfive. As a fruit farmer in New Rochelle, New York, he developed an abiding interest in insect behavior, so much so that he abandoned his farm to study and paint insect specimens. His concerns took him to New Orleans, Florida, Venezuela, and British Guiana. At some point, he contracted malaria, but survived.

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American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT by James E. McWilliams


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