Black Currant Gall Mite (Phytoptm Ribis)

The ravages of this pest, long serious, are becoming more so every year. Among many examples of its work I may quote one in East Kent, where about 8 acres of Currants were completely ruined by it. The mite appears to be most capricious in its attacks. Sometimes it affects one variety and leaves another alone; in other cases the position as to sorts is reversed. Again, it usually spreads from bush to bush when established; yet I have known it to attack and destroy several bushes, then disappear, leaving those around untouched. Unhappily the latter instances are not common. The mites are exceedingly minute objects, and they become ensconced in the buds, which lose their conical shape, becoming broad, cupped, and scaly. I have seen traces of attack in November, and from that time onwards through the winter the swollen buds become more numerous. To acquire familiarity with the enemy slice open a distorted bud and place it under a microscope. Remedies:

(1) Directly swollen buds are seen pick them off and burn them, or cut off the twig and put it on the fire.

(2) If the evil has spread without the grower observing it and a whole bush is affected, burn it bodily.

(3) Do not plant another Currant on the same spot, even if lime has been dusted about and pointed in. I have known it done, and the new bush was soon as bad as the old.

(4) After removing twigs in a small infestation spray the bush with the red spider solution, No. 5.

(5) Allow fowls the run of the orchard.

(6) From observing that in years when we have a heavy July rainfall the damage from this pest is less than in dry seasons, I am inclined to think that if a vigorous hosing were possible a few times in summer, when the insects are on the foliage, good would be done.

(7) It has been suggested that the mites may be killed in the buds by enclosing a few bushes in a large, airtight sheet during winter, placing inside a vessel containing 4 oz. each of water and sulphuric acid, and dropping in very carefully 1 1/4 oz. of cyanide of potassium. The experiment might be tried, but the aspirant for knowledge and healthy Currant bushes will do well to keep on the outside of the sheet himself.

(8) Cut the old wood out vigorously, and feed the bushes to encourage them to throw up plenty of new wood.

Magpie Moth (Abraxas Grossulariata)

The creamy, black dotted, looper caterpillar of this moth appears in summer from eggs laid on the leaves, and at once attacks the foliage. (1) Dust with sharp soot when the shoots are dewy. (2) Dust with common black pepper. (3) Skim off the top inch or two of soil, char and replace.

Fig. 60 The Magpie Moth
Fig. 60 The Magpie Moth


See "Gooseberries."

Woolly Scale

See "Scale."