Boll Weevils

Facts, Identification & Control


Measuring an average of 6 mm in length, boll weevils are black, reddish-brown or gray in color. They are present in the United States, as well as in other regions with high cotton crop concentrations, such as South America.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

The boll weevil is best known for causing severe damage to cotton production.


The complete life cycle of the boll weevil lasts approximately three weeks. During the larval stage, the boll weevil feeds on the cotton that surrounds it, thus rendering the bud and flower unusable in cotton harvests. Damage can be massive, as one female is capable of laying up to 200 eggs. The name of this insect was derived from its habit of laying eggs in the cotton plant’s boll.

Signs of a Boll Weevil Infestation

Damage of the feeding adults can be seen on the flowers and other areas of the plant.

More Information

Controlling boll weevil populations in American cotton-producing states has been a major concern for many years. Since its arrival in the latter 19th century, the boll weevil has caused billions of dollars in estimated damage to the cotton industry.

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