United States Department of Agriculture
BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY
THE OCCURRENCE OF THE BOLL WEEVIL IN 1918
By W. D. PIERCE
The year 1918 is exceptional in the hitory of the boll weevil in that it is the second year since the establishment of the weevil
in the United States that we have been able to record a net loss in territory. The only other year was 1896, the fifth year of weevil
invasion. This follows a year of very slight increase but does not mean that the movement of the boll weevil has been permanently
stopped. The great loss in territory is but a fraction of the territory which was lost at the beginning of 1918 due to the extreme
cold weather of the winter of 1917-18. A very large belt around the entire periphery of the territory was almost without weevils
in the early part of the season and the movement of the weevils into new territory was slow and irregular. Much of the territory
in the northern and western portions was not regained, partly because of the early fall frosts and partly because of the drought in
the northern portion of the belt and the drought and sparsity of cotton in Oklahoma and western Texas. There is reason to believe
that even qite a strip of territory recorded as infested will not be held by the weevil during the winter on account of the
lateness of the arrival of the weevils. A warm winter season is the only condition which would favor a successful survival of the
weevil in a 25-mile belt along the northern and western portions.
As will be noted in the table below, the losses in territory were experienced in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Alabama,
while the gains in territory were made in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and New Mexico. This is the first record of the boll
weevil on cotton in New Mexico, where it is found in a small area in the Pecos Valley. The weevil has reached the southernmost
limits of cotton production in Florida, having closely followed the extension of cotton cultivation, and is steadily progreang in
South Carolina. The latest reports from Georgia indicate that the boll weevil is surviving in great numbers due to the warm
Almost the entire sea-island cotton belt is now infested.
In Texas the line passes from western Val Verde County to Mertzon in Irion County, San Angelo in Tom Green County, Coleman
in Coleman County, thence northward through Baird and Pueblo in Callahan County, Jermyn in Jack County, and Henrietta in
In Oklahoma the line enters the State at Ryan in Tefferson County and passes through Wy e W d i Garvin County,
Shawnee in Pottawatomie County, Holdenville in Hughes County, Kiowa in Pittsburg County, and Heavener in Le Flore County.
In Arkansas the line passes through Clarksville in Johnson County, Shirley in Van Buren County, Heber Springs in Cleburne
County, Batesville in Independence County, Newport in Jackson County1 and Gavin in Crittenden County, oposite Memphis.
In Tennessee the line passes throu h Memphis in Shelby County Willston in Fayette County, Bolivar n Hardeman County,
Selmer in McNa* County, Lawrenceburg in Lawrence County, and south of Pulaski in Giles County.
In Alabama the line passes through Scottsboro in Jackson County.
In Georgia the line passes through Berryton in Chattooga County, Rome in Floyd County, Rogers in Bartow County, Oakhurst
in Cobb County, the northern portion of Rockdale County, Newborn in Newton County, north of Madison in Morgan County,
south of Thurston in Greene County, north of Barnett (Warren County) in Taliaferro County, north of Boneville in McDiflie County,
and south of Tahoma in Richmond County.
In South Carolina the line runs through Ellenton in Aiken County, Branchville in Orangeburg County, Saint George in Dor-
chester County, and Charleston in Charleston County.
In Florida the line runs through Ozona in Pinelias County, Tampa, Seffner, and Plant City in Hillsborough County, Fort
ndia Rier iin Osceola Coount
Meade in Polk County, Kissimmee i Oscela County and Indian River City in Brevard County.
In New Mexico the weevil occurs in Carlsbadin Eddy County.
The weevil also occurs in the mountains of Arizona in Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Pima Counties, on a wild cotton food plant
(Thurberia thespesioick) but does not attack cotton in Arizona. It has not been found in California.
Altogether the weevil invaded only 16,100 square miles of new territory during 1918 and lost 46,600 sqgWe miles of formerly
infested territory, making a net loss of 30,500 square miles. About 150,000 square miles of cotton territory Ai remains uninfeated.
The following table shows the gains and losses in territory during 1918, by States:
Total area in square miles Infested by th~e boll weevil in 1918.
Year Area Area
State. first Infested 1 infested"
Infested. in 1917. 1918.191&
'Sq. mile. Sq. miles. Sq. miles. Soq. miles.
Texas ---------------1892 182,600 ------------ 18,100 174,600
Louisiana ------------- 1903 40,800 ------------....------ 40,$
Oklahoma ------------ 190 39,000 ------------ 22,200 18,80
Arkansas ------------- 1900 39, 000 --------------------- 39,000
Mississippi ------------ 1907 46,340 --------------------46,340
Alabat ------------- 1910 50,00 ------------ 0 49,900
Florida--------------- 1911 26,000 9,000------------- 35,000
Tennessee ------------- 1914 9, 100 ..--------- 5, 600 ,500
Georgia .-------------- 1915 44,500 1, 800 ------------ 46,300
South Carolina --------- 1917 300 5,200---------------500
Now Mexico ----------- 1918 100------------- 100
Total ------------------ 488,200 16,100 46,600 457,740
We are indebted to Mr. Otis Wade of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Prof. G. M. Bentley of the Tennessee
Agricultural Experiment Station, Mr. A. C. Lewis and assistants of the Georgia State Board of Entomology, andMr. Wilmon Newell
and his a t Mr. J. Chaffin, of the State Plant Board of Florida, for assistance in determining the advance of the weevil. The
bulk oftheworkwas done by the followingHagent: E. S. Tucker, H. W. Lee, and J. A. Berly.
bulkof he or~ky ts: S Tuked