Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/8/2002
Publication Date: 1/9/2002
Citation: HUGHS, S.E., STATEN, R.T., ARMIJO, C.B. BOLL WEEVIL SURVIVAL IN THE GINNING SYSTEM. NATIONAL COTTON COUNCIL BELTWIDE COTTON CONFERENCE. 2002. 6 p. Interpretive Summary: The boll weevil has been either eradicated or is in the eradication process through most of the U.S. cotton belt. However, some cotton bales are sill being produced in weevil infested areas. Other countries, that do not have the boll weevil, are hesitant to purchase U.S. cotton bales produced in infected areas because of fears of introducing the boll weevil into their country. Tests were conducted at the USDA, ARS, Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Lab to determine if live boll weevils can survive in the ginning system. Results indicated that 1) live weevils cannot survive being processed through a saw-gin stand and one saw-type lint cleaner, and 2) live weevils cannot survive internal to a bale compressed to UD bale density. It is very unlikely that any transport of live weevils overseas could occur in normally processed, saw ginned and cleaned UD cotton bales.
Technical Abstract: The boll weevil has been eradicated over much of the U.S. cotton production area. However, there are still cotton production areas that are infected with the boll weevil. USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have procedures in place to keep the weevil from being reintroduced to the U.S. eradicated areas as well as being transported overseas and infecting cotton growing areas in other countries. Part of the procedure includes fumigation of baled cotton prior to shipment. Methyl Bromide may not be available as a fumigant in the near future, and the fumigation process is expensive. Research was done at the USDA, ARS, Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research laboratory to determine the actual reinfestation risk from live boll weevils processed though the U.S. cotton ginning and baling system. Two tests were done, 1) a gin process survival test and, 2) a bale compression survival test. No live weevils were found to survive being processed through a saw-gin stand and one saw-type lint cleaner. In addition, most weevils were immediately killed at compressions of 22 lb/ft3 and higher, and no survivors after six days at the specified UD bale density of 28 lb/ft3. Test results showed it was extremely unlikely that a live boll weevil could survive both gin processing and bale compression.