August 30th, 2011
Sometimes, when I’m looking through old books online (what did we do before Google Books??), I run across a tidbit that is completely unrelated to my search, but too wonderful to be passed up. Here’s one of my all-time favorites, just discovered while browsing for embroidered “inserting” patterns.
The only remedy known, which is sure of completely ridding infested vegetation of all the Aphides upon it, is the smoke of tobacco. But unfortunately this can only be resorted to in the case of rose bushes and other low shrubs or small trees. For enclosing a shrub to be operated upon, gardeners abroad use a large box, a hogshead, or a kind of small tent humorously described some time since by Prof. Ijndley, under the name of a “Parapetticoat,”—made by sewing the upper end of a worn-out but entire petticoat to the outer edge of an opened parasol that has been thrown aside, any holes in its cover being first mended, and a staff six feet long securely tied to its handle. The petticoat being then raised up in folds to the parasol, the staff is inserted into the ground under the centre of the infested shrub, and the petticoat is drawn down to surround and inclose all of the foliage of the shrub. The interior is then filled densely with tobacco smoke for the space of five or ten minutes, or long enough to insure the fumes penetrating every curl, plait and crevice of the foliage. The apparatus is hereupon removed and the foliage immediately washed with lukewarm water from a large syringe, else it too would be liable to be destroyed. This utterly exterminates the Aphis from the shrub, every insect being suffocated and dropping from the plant, so that “unnumbered corses strew the fatal plain.”
— Salem, N.Y., 1855
I would truly love to see this in action. Please.