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.




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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

cotton plant.



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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