Since the superstition as to the moon’s influence upon the wind and weather is so widespread and deep seated, a word on that subject may be in order. In the first place, since the total heat received from the moon, even according to the highest determination (that of Smyth), is not so much as 0.00001 of that received from the sun, and since the only hold the moon has on the earth’s weather is through the heat she sends us (I ignore here the utterly insignificant atmospheric tide), it follows necessarily that her influence must be very trifling. In the next place, all carefully collated observations show that it is so, and not only trifling, but generally absolutely insensible.
For example, different investigators have examined the question of nocturnal cloudiness at the time of full moon, there being a prevalent belief that the full moon “eats up” light clouds. On comparing thirty or forty years’ observations at each of several stations (Greenwich. Paris, etc.), it is found that there is no ground for the belief. And so in almost every case of imagined lunar meteorological influence. As to the coincidence of weather changes with changes of the moon, it is enough to say that the idea is absolutely inconsistent with that progressive movement of the “weather” across the country from west to east, with which the Signal Service has now made us all so familiar.
Princeton, April 12, 1884.
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APPLE TREE BORERS.
The apple tree borers have destroyed thousands of trees in New England, and are likely to destroy thousands more. There are three kinds of borers which assail the apple tree. The round headed or two striped apple tree borer, Saperda candida, is a native of this country, infesting the native crabs, thorn bushes, and June berry. It was first described by Thomas Say, in 1824, but was probably widely distributed before that. In his “Insects Injurious to Fruit,” Prof. Saunders thus describes the borer:
“In its perfect state it is a very handsome beetle, about three-quarters of an inch long, cylindrical in form, of a pale brown color, with two broad, creamy white stripes running the whole length of its body; the face and under surface are hoary white, the antennae and legs gray. The females are larger than the males, and have shorter antennae. The beetle makes its appearance during the months of June and July, usually remaining in concealment during the day, and becoming active at dusk. The eggs are deposited late in June and during July, one in a place, on the bark of the tree, near its base. Within two weeks the young worms are hatched, and at once commence with their sharp mandibles to gnaw their way through the outer bark to the interior. It is generally conceded that the larvae are three years in reaching maturity. The young ones lie for the first year in the sapwood and the inner bark, excavating flat, shallow cavities, about the size of a silver dollar, which are filled with their sawdust-like castings. The holes by which they enter being small are soon filled up, though not until a few grains of castings have fallen from them. Their presence may, however, often be detected in young trees from the bark becoming dark colored, and sometimes dry and dead enough to crack.”