A: The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation is a non-profit organization initiated and funded by Texas cotton producers, with oversight from the Texas Department of Agriculture, created to collectively eliminate the costly, cotton boll weevil from Texas cotton. The mission of the Foundation is to eliminate the boll weevil from Texas cotton fields in the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive manner possible.
Q: How was the Foundation created?
A: The Texas Legislature established the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation in 1993 to carry out a statewide boll weevil eradication program. The state is broken up into 16 boll weevil eradication zones. Cotton producers in each of the Texas zones had to vote in a referendum on whether or not to start a program in their zone and to approve a yearly assessment to pay for the program. Once a zone voted to move forward with a program, the Texas Foundation proceeded to carry out program activities associated with the boll weevil eradication program.
The Southern Rolling Plains zone, around San Angelo and Ballinger, was the first to start the program on 220,000 cotton acres in the fall of 1994. Subsequently, it also became the first zone in Texas to be declared functionally eradicated (no weevil reproduction) in Sept. 2000.
In 2009, the statewide program covered more than 5.45 million cotton acres in 16 Texas and four New Mexico zones. To date, 11 of the 16 Texas zones have already been declared either suppressed or functionally eradicated.
Q: Why does a cotton-producing area need boll weevil eradication?
A: Texas cotton producers spend about $70 million dollars each year to control the boll weevil. Despite their efforts, the boll weevil causes an estimated $200 million in crop losses each year. Eradication has been proven to increase yield, lower production costs and eliminate the use of pesticides for the boll weevil.
Q: What is a boll weevil?
A: The adult boll weevil is a small, grayish or reddish-brown beetle, about one-quarter inch in length. It has a snout about half the length of the body and double-toothed spurs on the inside of the front legs near the end of the first segment. Boll weevils feed on and lay eggs in the fruit of cotton.
Each female can lay up to 200 eggs (laying each egg in a separate cotton square or boll). The entire life cycle of egg to adult can be completed in three weeks or less resulting in multiple (five or more) generations per year.
Eggs are white, elliptical in shape and 0.8 mm in length. Eggs are seldom seen because they are deposited inside squares or bolls and covered with a glue-like substance.
Larvae are white, wrinkled, "C" shaped, legless grubs with tan /brown heads. They range from 1/5- to 2/5-inches in length. – less–ZoomInfo