Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Insects, 9 May 1798

Notes on Insects

1798. May. 9.

The insect which lays it’s egg in the plumb, apricot, nectarine peach, &c. is a Curculio. William Bartram. probably the Curculio Cerasi. [note the Curculio segetum is the weavil.)

that which destroys the Peach tree is an Ichneumon. Wm. Bartram. it lays it’s egg in the peach tree a little within the surface of the earth soon after harvest. it hatches. the worm eats downwards, and becomes winged & escapes in May following. Moses Bartram. boxing round the root, with 4. shingles or boards staked down & filled with dung, prevents the insect. idem.

MS (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand; bracket and parenthesis as in original; endorsed: “Natural history.”

On another occasion also TJ discussed the pest of the plumb, apricot, nectarine peach, &c. with William Bartram; see TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., 1 May 1791. Moses Bartram, an apothecary and former mariner, displayed some of his brother’s proclivity for observing natural subjects such as insects (Edmund Berkeley and Dorothy Smith Berkeley, eds., The Correspondence of John Bartram, 1734–1777 [Gainesville, Fla., 1992], 697, 700, 703, 784).

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