Cotton pests

Boll Weevil

Boll Weevil © Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, www.ipmimages.org|

Cotton plants are attacked by a number of insect pests such as aphids and bollworms. The boll weevil is probably the most notorious cotton pest.

The boll weevil damages cotton by boring into the flower bud or the developing boll and laying its eggs.

The boll weevil originally came from Mexico where it was a minor pest on wild cotton, but the large-scale plantations in the USA enabled it to spread. By the beginning of the 20th century it had invaded the entire Southern USA. During the height of the problem, it reduced yields by up to 50%. In 1903, the State of Texas offered a $50,000 cash reward for a practical remedy for controlling the boll weevil. Today, the boll weevil has been contained and some cottonseed has been genetically modified to be resistant to insect attack.

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