Boll weevils are making their last U.S. Cotton Belt stand in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation Program Director Larry Smith expects the pest to be eradicated soon.
“Only a small area (of weevil activity) remains in South Texas,” Smith told participants during the South Texas leg of the annual National Cotton Council/Bayer CropScience Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) tour.
“This is the last threshold, and we face a lot of obstacles, but I am confident we will be successful,” Smith said.
One of those obstacles is the sub-tropical climate of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where freezing temperatures rarely occur and cotton, a perennial plant that will die in areas where winters are cold enough, will stay green year-round. “Just three surviving plants can produce as many as 8,000 boll weevils,” Smith said. “We try to take out every volunteer plant every fall.” He said plant destruction is a crucial part of the boll weevil eradication effort.
“We have to be diligent to prevent re-infestation,” he said