Friday, August 3, 2007

Science and Field Mice


In France a few years ago the field mice almost devoured some of the farmers' crops. The wretched little pests were so numerous that they got in each other's way, like denizens of a tenement house, and disease broke out among them. A great epidemic carried them off in certain localities so that almost none were left. The farmers thanked heaven and took courage again.

But the mysterious dying off of the mice attracted the attention of Professor Danysz of the parasite laboratory of the Paris chamber of commerce. He dissected some of the dead mice. He found that their bodies were swarming with a microbe, undoubtedly the one that killed them. Then a bright thought occurred to Professor Danysz. He soaked 80,000 bits of bread in 12 gallons of water that had been plentifully mixed with the microbe cultures. He scattered the bread over a farm and waited.

In a short time the fields were dotted with dead and dying mice. The remedy is so effectual that the field mice will soon be exterminated in France if farmers follow up the discovery. Professor Danysz is a benefactor to the race.

What is the reason that all offensive vermin — rats, mice, roaches, flies and other such pests — cannot be driven off the earth by inoculating them with deadly microbes? What is to prevent the utter destruction of the mosquito every summer in this way?

No comments: