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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / The Wisconsin horticulturist
Vol. III, No. 9 (November 1898)

Kitchen, J. M. W.
Hydrocyanic acid as an insecticide--a warning,   pp. 29-31 PDF (729.7 KB)

Page 29

much upon the readiess with which it is assimilated in the
process of digestion and scientific authorities agree that
whatever prevents decomposition delays digestion. There
are legitimate methods of preservation which do not involve
the use of noxious drugs and the department will prosecute
dealers in milk found using these deleterious mixtures."
I have been interested in reading Dr. Fisher's commu-
nication in the last issue of American Gardening on the sub-
ject of hydrocyanic acid gas as an insecticide; but think a
more serious word of warning should be uttered to your
readers in regard to its use than was given in your editorial.
At Willowmead Gardens, we have made probably the
most thorough experimentation with this gas, as well as
with other insect poisons that have been in glass structures,
the commercial necessity of overcoming various forms of in-
sect pests injurious to the contents of our orchid houses be-
ing the incentive of the elaborate experimentation. It is
true that hydrocyanic acid gas will kill every form of life,
animal as well as vegetable, if it is used of sufficient strength
and for a long enough time; but there are some insect forms
that will not succumb to it unless a sufficiently strong solu-
tion of gas is used to have a caustic effect on plants of vari-
ous kinds. This effect does not at once show itself.
One trouble of the long immersion of plants in even a
dilute solution of the gas is that too much is absorbed by
the plants and more or less injury to the plants is effected.
Plants show remarkably different susceptibilities to its ef-
fects; some of the apparently toughest plants being most
susceptible. Furthermore, the gas sometimes "banks" up
in certain parts of the house.
But outside of this, the use of the gas as prepared by
this process is too frightfully dangerous to warrant it being

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