National Geographic : 1953 Sep
392 Howell Walker, National Geographic Staff Georgia's "Bug Factory" Turns Crickets into Cash George Smith, of College Park, started his live-bait hatchery with a handful of crickets left over from a 1950 fishing trip. Now he raises 1,000,000 a year for direct and mail-order sale to anglers (pages 387, 394). Fresh-water fish strike eagerly at the insects. Here a couple, headed for a stream, stocks up with bait in screened boxes. The National Geographic Magazine . ... . ..I day Saints prayed for help. As if in answer to their prayers, sea gulls came in droves to gorge on the insects. Today a monument to the birds stands in Temple Square of Utah's capital.* The western mead owlark, Brewer's black bird, and the sage thrasher are avid eaters of adult Mormon crickets and their eggs. One species of wasp, Sparaison pilosum, also is their enemy. Crickets Harm and Help Fruit Trees Tree crickets some times spread a canker disease in apple twigs by their egg laying. The female hollows out cavities in twigs with her ovipositor. Then she lays pale-yellow banana-shaped eggs in them. Because of their egg laying and their taste for berries, tree crickets are considered harmful by fruitgrowers. On the credit side, how ever, a single snowy tree cricket was found to eat from 300 to 900 destructive scale in sects in one night. In late summer, when the chorus of male field crickets is at its height, females are busy laying their eggs just below the surface of the ground. To study the insect's ovipositor, Dr. Vincent G. Dethier, Johns Hop kins University biolo gist, offered five cents apiece for 1,000 female crickets a few summers ago. Dr. Dethier hoped * See "Utah, Carved by Winds and Waters," by Leo A. Borah, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1936.