This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The following is taken from the Free Press of Loo-don, Canada West: "Allow me to note that Tuesday and Wednesday of this week was a continuation of heavy rains and murky weather, impeding the important operations of the husbandman. On Thursday it cleared off and Mr. Butt discovered, on one of his farms in Southwold, millions (or innumerable even on a square rod) of caterpillars on his Barley field. To-day I accompanied him over two fields of Barley, one of Oats, and two of spring Wheat, which are actually alive on the ground, stem, straw, and a few remaining heads; they are devouring all before them, cutting the leaves and heads off every stalk they climb. I never saw so much destruction in a short period, not even excepting the ants in the West India islands, of which I often witnessed sad havoc in a few hours. They are traveling in myriads at 11 o'clock this morning, having finished a Barley field, with an adjoining field of spring Wheat. They eat all the grass before them, and bridge drains full of water on fallen stalks. Three or four men were of no use while I looked on. I left them with a reaping-machine, cutting a swath around each field, and plowing it up, then sowing quick-lime on top, to try to arrest their onward progress of rapacity and ruin.
The Barley field that would have yielded 60 bushels to the acre, by appearance of the straw, now won't average over 15, allowing that no more damage will be done. I just hear that another farmer has lost his field, and that they exist on other farms in the southern part of the country, destroying spring Wheat, Barley, and Oats".
[We have no doubt that the caterpillar here described is the "army-worm," which this year has made its appearance in large numbers in portions of the country where we should least have expected it; for instance, on Long Island. It has thus far, we believe, been confined to the north side of the island. Mr. Elbert Bogart informs us that it has been very destructive at a place called Cedar Swamp, between Roslyn and Oyster Bay. Its course at this place was northward, and a few miles would take it into the Sound. It would be desirable to know where else they have been seen in the vicinity of New York. - Ed].