Entomology in the service of the State: Queensland scientists and the campaign against cane beetles, 1895-1950

Griggs, Peter (2005) Entomology in the service of the State: Queensland scientists and the campaign against cane beetles, 1895-1950. Historical Records of Australian Science, 16 (1). pp. 1-29.

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The Queensland sugar industry between 1880 and 1950 faced a major agricultural crisis. The annual cane crops were attacked periodically by white grubs, the larvae of different species of native beetles found along the Queensland coast. Both canegrower and miller suffered considerable financial losses during these outbreaks. Entomologists engaged by the Queensland government sought strategies to reduce this damage. This paper begins by discussing the biology of the beetles that troubled the Queensland sugar industry. The organisations and personalities involved in the research to combat the depredation by the white grubs are outlined in the second part of this paper. The extent of the canegrowers adoption of the entomologists’ advice on ways to reduce the white grubs’ impact is reviewed in the third section of this paper. In the final section, the solution to the canegrowers woes is discussed, although it will be highlighted that the widespread adoption of benzene hexachloride (BHC) in the 1950s only provided protection until the Queensland government banned the use of this insecticide in 1987.

Item ID: 285
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5508
Keywords: entomology; cane grubs; cane beetles; Queensland sugar industry; benzene hexachloride
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© 2005 CSIRO : Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher : This journal is available online - use hypertext links above.

Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2006
FoR Codes: 22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220299 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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