22 NOVEMBER 1930, Page 38


A purely temporary malady befell many of the orchards of the West this year. While apples were a bumper crop towards the East, the trees of Worcestershire and neighbouring counties were utterly devoured by caterpillar. The succes- sive appearances of one particular tree in an afflicted orchard are worth recording. It was grease-banded, like all the rest, against that winter moth which, being wingless, can only ascend by climbing. Now these moths take the line of least resistance : they climb exactly where the slope is easiest. On this tree there was one particularly obvious and easy route ; and so many moths took it that the bodies of the first victims made a bridge for the later army ; and such a host crossed this grim viaduct that when early summer came and the eggs of the invaders hatched, the caterpillar were enough to strip the tree as bare as if summer were winter ; you could not find a whole leaf. The bareness was emphasised (when I saw the tree during the summer) by the presence of a jay's nest which the caterpillars had quite robbed of all concealment.

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