HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 410

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means of a simple but effective method, which will render their names historical as the greatest benefactors in an island that has seldom known aught but oppressors. The idea originated with Signor Richard Mattei, who is the largest landed proprietor in Cyprus. It is much to be regretted that professional entomologists can seldom assist us in the eradication of insect plagues; they can explain their habits, but they are useless as allies against their attacks. M. Mattei had observed that the young locusts invariably marched straight ahead, and turned neither to the right or left ; he had also remarked that upon arrival at an obstacle they would endeavour to climb over, instead of going round it. Under these peculiarities of natural instinct a very simple arrangement sufficed to lead them to destruction. Pits were dug about three or four feet deep at right angles with the line of march, and screens of cotton cloth edged at the bottom with oil-skin were arranged something after the fashion of stop-nets for ground game in covert-shooting in England. This wall, with a slippery groundwork, prevented the insects from proceeding. A s they never turn back, they were obliged to search sideways for a passage, and \vere thus led into the pits in millions, where they were destroyed by burying the masses beneath heaps of earth. If a few gallons of petroleum were sprinkled over them, and fire applied, much trouble would be saved. This is a crude method of insect destruction which could be improved upon, but great praise is due to the efforts of M. Richard Mattei and Said Pacha for having devoted their energies so successfully to the eradication of a scourge which proved its ancient importance from the Biblical registration of a curse upon the Egyptians.

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