The job is not done yet, and cotton farmers, scouts, Extension specialists and Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation personnel must remain vigilant to mop up the last remaining boll weevil population is the United States.
But seems closer than ever.
Larry Smith, Director, Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, says a few weevils are still being caught in the Rio Grande Valley. “We had an earlier weevil migration into the Uvalde area,” Smith said, “but we have not caught any in there since February.”
He says the Valley will require vigilance for the foreseeable future. “We are catching weevils every week, especially in areas close to Mexico. But we have much less boll weevil pressure this year,” he adds. “We have the least pressure than at any time since the eradication program began.”
Smith says problems in the most vulnerable areas, those close to the Mexican border, “keep us from wrapping up the eradication effort.” The violence on the other side of the border, he says, limits the efficacy of the Mexican eradication effort. He says farmers are in danger from cartel violence.
The situation is all but settled in Oklahoma, where Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization reports trap requirements this year will be only one trap per section. The program is also down to only four full-time employees. OBWEO reports no weevils caught in the state since 2008.
Smith says Texas is much closer to that goal. “The numbers are significantly lower this year,” he says. “I am optimistic, guardedly so, but optimistic.”