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 July 23, 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 July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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