Springtime in Arkansas! As the days get longer and warmer, Arkansas Civil War buffs enjoy the sporadic visitation from the occasional butterfly. This week in 1860, the caterpillars’ presence was much more menacing. 1860 Arkansas was a rural and quiet agrarian-type of culture. It was not a time when Arkansawyers could enjoy the luxury in driving down to the local grocery store for peaches; peaches were grown in private orchards. Below is an account from an 1860 Arkansas newspaper regarding the removal of these unwanted pests:
[LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS TRUE DEMOCRAT, April 21, 1860, p. 2, c. 4
Caterpillars.—For several years past, these pests of the orchard and shade trees have appeared throughout the State, making havoc with the fruit and other trees. They are most commonly to be found on the hickory trees. After stripping the tree they then spread to those adjacent, and sometimes destroy whole orchards. As the time for their annual appearance is at hand, we give our readers a suggestion as to the best method of getting rid of them. Take a gun, an old musket or a fowling piece, and put in it a small charge of powder. A wad is unnecessary. Put the muzzle of the gun as near as possible to the nest or bunch, and blaze away. An ounce of two of powder will clear a tree. If any of our readers know of any better plan to get rid of these troublesome visitors, we would be glad to have them air their knowledge in our columns.