Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boll Weevil Feeding Habits Now Better Understood

Date:
December 2, 2008
Source:
Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Boll weevils don't hibernate during winter in the subtropics but actually remain active, feeding on orange, grapefruit and other plants, according to a scientist studying this infamous cotton pest.

Boll weevil.
Credit: USDA

Boll weevils don't hibernate during winter in the subtropics but actually remain active, feeding on orange, grapefruit and other plants, according to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist studying this infamous cotton pest.

For many years, from South Texas to Argentina, the feeding habits and nutritional requirements of the boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman) have been poorly understood, making it harder to eradicate the pest.

Despite great strides in controlling the boll weevil, it remains one of the most destructive cotton pests in the Western Hemisphere. The weevils, which feed on and lay eggs in cotton buds, can destroy a crop if left unchecked.

For nearly a decade, ARS entomologist Allan Showler at the agency's Integrated Farming and Natural Resources Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas, has been examining boll weevil ecology in subtropical environments. The research refines knowledge on the boll weevil that may help enhance the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in the subtropics, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and supported by ARS research.

The program has enabled cotton farmers to reduce their use of pesticides by between 40 and 100 percent, and increase their cotton yields by at least 10 percent since the program’s inception.

In the winter months, it was previously believed that the weevils entered a form of hibernation or dormancy called diapause. But Showler has found that boll weevils generally remain active in during winter in the subtropics, surviving by feeding on the edible portion of orange, grapefruit and prickly pear cactus, and possibly other plants. Orange and grapefruit can sustain adult boll weevils for as long as eight months--more than enough to see them through the mandatory cotton-free winter period.

The research could help scientists develop new, biological and ecological approaches to controlling the boll weevils. Most of the new proposed tactics recommended by Showler and collaborators do not rely on insecticide use, and the one that does ensures that insecticides would be applied when they would be most effective.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Agricultural Research Service. "Boll Weevil Feeding Habits Now Better Understood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081129152632.htm>.
Agricultural Research Service. (2008, December 2). Boll Weevil Feeding Habits Now Better Understood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081129152632.htm
Agricultural Research Service. "Boll Weevil Feeding Habits Now Better Understood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081129152632.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins