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It is beyond all doubt that in caprification the green fruit gives birth to a kind of gnat;1 for when they have taken flight, there are no seeds to be found within the fruit: from this it would appear that the seeds have been transformed into these gnats. Indeed, these insects are so eager to take their flight, that they mostly leave behind them either a leg or a part of a wing on their departure. There is another species of gnat,2 too, that grows in the fig, which in its indolence and malignity strongly resembles the drone of the beehive, and shows itself a deadly enemy to the one that is of real utility; it is called centrina, and in killing the others it meets its own death.

Moths, too, attack the seeds of the fig: the best plan of getting rid of them, is to bury a slip of mastich,3 turned upside down, in the same trench. The fig, too, is rendered extremely productive4 by soaking red earth in amurca, and laying it, with some manure, upon the roots of the tree, just as it is beginning to throw out leaves. Among the wild figs, the black ones, and those which grow in rocky places, are the most esteemed, from the fact of the fruit containing the most seed. Caprification takes place most advantageously just after rain.

1 See B. xv. c. 21: the Cynips psenes of Linn. It penetrates the fig at the base, and deposits an egg in each seed, which is ultimately eaten by the larva; hence the supposed transformation.

2 A kind of wasp, probably.

3 A puerility borrowed from Columella, B. v. c. 10.

4 From Columella, B. v. c. 10.

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