Survey says . . . No boll weevils

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

by Elaine Lidholm

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently completed the 2018 cotton boll weevil trapping and detected no weevils in Virginia.

VDACS oversees a monitoring program to ensure that the weevil does not become established in the Commonwealth. This year, the agency installed 1,125 traps on 96,000 acres of cotton in Virginia and did not detect a single weevil. All cotton growers pay a per acre fee to fund the survey program.

The destructive pest was first detected in the state in 1922.

By the 1960s, the weevil had decimated American cotton. Mississippi began the first eradication program in 1971 with mixed success.

In 1977, Virginia and North Carolina began an eradication program that was highly successful, moving gradually from those states across the Cotton Belt.

Cotton experienced a renaissance in the ensuing years and by the early 1990s, Virginia farmers planted enough acres in cotton to support several cotton gins in the state.

Currently, Virginia has gins in Emporia, Franklin, Suffolk and Windsor.

Virginia is the northern-most cotton growing state in the U.S. In 2016, cotton was the 14th largest agricultural commodity in Virginia with farm cash receipts of $36 million.

ELAINE LIDHOLM is director of communications for the VDACS. Contact her at 804-786-7686.