The spread and establishment of the cotton boll weevil in the Texas High Plains



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Texas Tech University


For over 100 years the boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis Boheman, has been extensively studied in attempts to halt its destmction. In spite of all this effort, the boll weevil continues to be responsible for extensive losses and socio-economic changes in the cotton belt of the United States. The Texas High Plains has been threatened by the boll weevil for over 40 years. The High Plains or Texas High Plains is defined as the area of northwest Texas bounded on the east by the Rolling Plains and to the south by the Edwards Plateau and the Trans Pecos area. This area is the largest cotton producing region in the state of Texas and one of the finest in the nation (Bottrell et al. 1972). Until recently, a diapause control program initiated in 1964 has kept the boll weevil from establishing itself as an economic pest in the Texas High Plains (Leser et al. 1996). Since 1993, the boll weevil has become a more wide spread problem in the Texas High Plains.

This study documents the spread and establishment of the boll weevil in the Texas High Plains. This study also addresses some questions pertaining to the overwintering success and the importance of late season trap collected boll weevils to the overall overwintering population. Documenting this latest boll weevil incursion and understanding the underlying causes and limitations for population establishment may provide the insight necessary for Texas High Plains producers to continue to grow cotton in spite of this threat. Will the cotton industry of the Texas High Plains withstand the onslaught of the boll weevil or fade into obscurity like that of the old south?



Cotton, High Plains, Boll weevil