S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Berensberg, Mr Herbert von Pelser (entomology)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

Herbert von Pelser Berensberg was an amateur entomologist. In 1898 he was living in Johannesburg and applied for a post in the diplomatic service of the South African Republic. In June 1903, after the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), he was appointed in the Department of Agriculture of the Colony of Natal, becoming assistant entomologist in July 1904. He served under Claude Fuller*, the government entomologist of the colony at that time. In about 1904 he compiled an (undated) illustrated monograph, The entomologist's handbook of scientific instructions for collecting and preserving all kinds of insects (Pietermaritzburg, 47p). On the title page he is described as a member of several continental European entomological societies, and of the Durban Field Naturalists' Society. During 1905-1907 he published five articles in the Natal Agricultural Journal, including 'Entomology and education' (1905, Vol. 8, p. 251-252), 'Butterfly collections' (1906, Vol. 9, pp. 474-480 and 594-599), 'Insects of German East Africa' (1907, Vol. 10, pp. 50-55) and 'The uses of insects as food delicacies, medicines, or in manufactures' (1907, Vol. 10, pp. 757-762). He left the civil service around the middle of 1908 and established the Natal Fumigating Company in Durban. His firm cleaned orchards and gardens from insect and fungus pests, and fumigated houses and other buildings. The venture appears not to have been successful, for by 1912 he was again living in Johannesburg and applied for employment as an entomologist in the civil service of the Union of South Africa.

List of sources:
Lounsbury, C.P. The pioneer period of economic entomology in South Africa. Journal of the Entomological Society of South Africa, 1940, Vol. 3, pp. 9-29.

Natal [Colony]. Report of the Government Entomologist, 1905/6, 1909/10.

Natal Agricultural Journal, 1905-1907, Vol. 8-10, articles by Berensberg; 1908, Vol. 11, p. 184, "Mr H. von P. Berensberg".

Natal civil service list, 1906, 1907.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm

South African bibliography to the year 1925, Vol. 5. Cape Town: South African Library, 1991.

Compiled by: C. Plug