Building a better weevil trap

An enhanced pheromone chip in boll weevil traps being tested on 200,000 acres of cotton in Georgia this season has the potential to save $1.5 million per year.

The patented “pheromone enhancement” technology, created through Cotton Incorporated funded research, extends the longevity of the trap to three weeks and the distance between traps to one trap for every 20 acres.

Gerald McKibben, a retired USDA entomologist in Starkville, Miss., developed the technology.

“The reduction in needed man hours to pull maintenance should translate into potential savings for growers from 85 cents, up to as much as $1.10 per acre,” says Jim Wilson, Southeast Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (SBWEF) containment program manager. “We’ve always had to hire seasonal workers to complete the re-baiting process, but this enhanced lure extends the longevity of the bait, which will allow our full-time staff to handle the job themselves.”

An agreement between Cotton Incorporated and the SBWEF cleared the way for its use in Georgia to confirm the positive results of earlier small-scale plot tests.

“Growers will not incur an added technology fee in addition to their boll weevil eradication assessments because the lure was created with funding from the Cotton Research and Promotion Program,” says Preston Sasser, vice president and managing director of research for Cotton Incorporated. The agreement includes a ‘non-exclusive/non-royalty’ clause. Sasser points out that the technology could be licensed to other boll weevil foundations across the Cotton Belt. The license is only applicable in the U.S.

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