Zemstvo and the grain beetle: Regional entomological congresses in 1880s

Several Regional Entomological Congresses were organized in Odessa and Kharkov during the 1880s, following outbreaks of the “kuzka grain beetle” (Anisoplia austriaca). These meetings constituted the first steps towards professionalization of agricultural entomology in the Russian Empire. The grain beetle and other pests emerged as serious problems for the development of agricultural production in the south of the Russian Empire during the second half of the 19th century and threatened food security of the region. While all southern provinces suffered from pest outbreaks, Odessa – the largest trading, cultural, and scientific center of the south of the Russian Empire – took the leading role in institutionalizing applied entomology. The paper examines initial attempts by naturalists and by regional Zemstvo officials to check the pest infestation. The resultant Regional Entomological Congresses (1878–1889) could not provide a swift resolution to the pest problem, but they helped establish coordination between Zemstvo authorities from several provinces and contributed to the fruitful cooperation between scientists, local authorities, landowners, and various levels of state administration.


Recommended bibliographic description

, Zemstvo and the grain beetle: Regional entomological congresses in 1880s, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  474–507

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143