The Cotton-boll Weevil
So far as known, the cotton-boll weevil, an insect which is a native of
the tropics, crossed the Rio Grande River into Texas in 1891 and 1892.
It settled in the cotton fields around Brownsville. Since then it has
widened its destructive area until now it has invaded the whole
territory shown by the map on page 177.
This weevil is a small gray or reddish-brown snout-beetle hardly over a
quarter of an inch in length. In proportion to its length it has a long
beak. It belongs to a family of beetles which breed in pods, in seeds,
and in stalks of plants. It is a greedy eater, but feeds only on the
The grown weevils try to outlive the cold of winter by hiding snugly
away under grass clumps, cotton-stalks, rubbish, or under the bark of
trees. Sometimes they go down into holes in the ground. A comfortable
shelter is often found in the forests near the cotton fields, especially
in the moss on the trees. The weevils can stand a good deal of cold, but
fortunately many are killed by winter weather. Moreover birds destroy
many; hence by spring the last year's crop is very greatly diminished.
In the spring, generally about the time cotton begins to form "squares,"
the weevils shake off their long winter sleep and enter the cotton
fields with appetites as sharp as razors. Then shortly the females begin
to lay eggs. At first these eggs are laid only in the squares, and
generally only one to the square. The young grub hatches from these eggs
in two or three days. The newly hatched grub eats the inside of the
square, and the square soon falls to the ground. Entire fields may at
times be seen without a single square on the plants. Of course no fruit
can be formed without squares.
POINT INDICATED BY THE ARROW]
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