Boll Weevils

Facts, Identification, & Control


What Do They Look Like?
  • Color: Boll weevils are black, reddish-brown, or gray in color.
  • Size: These weevils measure an average of 6 mm in length.

How Did I Get Boll Weevils?

The boll weevil is best known for causing severe damage to cotton production. Since they can't find food inside, these insects do not typically invade homes. However, they can attach to clothes or equipment and end up in the house. Their visits are usually temporary because the pests can't survive indoors.

How Serious Are Boll Weevils?

These insects cause severe damage to cotton crops and historically were the most damaging insect of any of the agriculturally important pests. While homeowners may fear for the safety of their clothing and upholstery, boll weevils, unlike clothes moths, only eat cotton straight from the plant. The accidental invaders pose no threat to homes or human health.

Signs of Infestation

Controlling boll weevil populations in American cotton-producing states has been a major concern for many years. Damage from the feeding adults appears on the flowers and other areas of the plant.

How Do I Get Rid of Boll Weevils?

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage boll weevils and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep boll weevils in their place…out of your home, or business.

Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?

The boll weevil diet consists solely of cotton plants and closely related vegetation. During the larval stage, the boll weevil feeds on the cotton that surrounds it, thus rendering the bud and flower unusable in cotton harvests.

Geographic Range

They are present in the United States, as well as in other regions with high cotton crop concentrations, such as South America.


The name of this insect was derived from its habit of laying eggs in the cotton plant’s boll. The complete life cycle of the boll weevil lasts approximately three weeks. Despite a short lifespan, their damage can be massive as one female is capable of laying up to 200 eggs.

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