Check Out These Seriously Cool Boll Weevil Facts

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Some interesting facts about boll weevil
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.5 Min

Are you interested in knowing about a pest that constantly ruins crops, especially cotton productions? We present to you, the nefarious boll weevil.

These insects infect the cotton boll of cotton bolls which effectively means the seed of the cotton plant. When the cotton bolls are affected, it leads to the destruction of the crop as well as diminishing the cotton-producing capability of the fields.

A diminished cotton-producing area means there is a disruption in the production of the cotton industry.

Like a domino effect, the cotton industry, as well as the textile industry, can suffer huge losses if these insects are not kept under check. Thus the eradication program is an absolute necessity for these pests.

As a measure for Boll Weevil infestation control, stern measures for the Boll Weevil eradication program are now taking place. Owing to this Boll Weevil eradication, states of the US are now slowly becoming free from this pest. Read on to learn more!

If you find our content interesting then check out yellow jacket wasp and mud dauber wasp.

Boll Weevil Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Boll Weevil?

The Boll Weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is a type of beetle that belongs to the family Curculionidae.

What class of animal does a boll weevil belong to?

The boll weevil belongs to the class Insecta.

How many boll weevils are there in the world?

There is very limited data and statistics that state the number of boll weevils that are present on our planet today. These beetles are moreover Not Listed Evaluated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List.

These animals are very common in the United States and are considered pests. Hence the populations of these species of insects are neither on the decline nor considered special species. Therefore, we can conclude that the populations of these beetles are not threatened.

Where does a boll weevil live?

These special types of beetles are found extensively in Mexico, Cuba, Central America, and the United States of America. As they are found in cotton plants, they are majorly found in the states that have huge cotton production plants. It is also believed that this species was brought into the United States in the late 1800s from Mexico.

What is a boll weevil's habitat?

The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is extensively found in cotton production areas, and thus these places are their ideal habitat. These insects are known to spend winter months in neighboring areas and can be found in waste and litter. But during spring, they are found in the fields of cotton.

Who do boll weevils live with?

It has been extensively observed that the adults of the boll weevils as a pest are solitary animals and thus are not found in packs or groups. These insects can only be found in a company during the mating or breeding season or only when there is an immediate scarcity of food.

How long does a boll weevil live?

In comparison with other beetles, the lifespan of a Boll Weevil can be considered average. These pests complete their entire life cycle within a span of three weeks. During this span of time, the Boll Weevil undergoes the complete metamorphosis from eggs to pupil stage followed by the adult phase.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction of the boll weevil is very common compared to other insects or beetles of the same family. The breeding or the mating period of these insects usually happens when the temperature of the surroundings is mild and not too hot or too cold.

Thus the ideal breeding season is in spring. During this time, the adult and sexually mature beetles can be seen traveling to the cotton plantations, where they feed on the growing cotton for roughly a week.

After copulation, the females usually lay the eggs in the bolls of the cotton crop or the flowers of other crops located in the vicinity.

Like other insects, once the eggs are laid, the parents are seen to move away and no such parental care takes place. The eggs hatch and the larvae are formed.

What is their conservation status?

The boll weevil is considered a nefarious pest that infects the crop like cotton plants.

These troublesome insects are found extensively in North America as well as in Central America. The population of this species is constant and not threatened as these insects have a very small lifespan of just about three weeks.

Since these species are not under any threat by humanity or by other predators and have a constant build on their population, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List has not yet listed this animal and thus bears the label as Not Listed.

Boll Weevil Fun Facts

What do boll weevils look like?

Boll weevil is a type of beetle which is minuscule. These animals are found in various colors like yellow, reddish-brown, gray, or other similar shades.

It is also found out from extensive research that the color of this animal changes with the gender of the species and their age. The eggs are very small and they are laid in the cotton plant seed and are thus invisible to the naked eye. However, the larvae are creamy-white in color.

The adults undergo a complete transformation of metamorphosis and change their colors accordingly. The adults can be easily identified from other similar insects by their characteristic double-toothed spur, which is present before the legs of this insect.

Boll weevil facts are highly informative.

How cute are they?

An insect can often be thought of as cute, adorable, or beautiful in terms of its physical description with the most common example being the butterfly. However, the same cannot be said for the Boll Weevil which is a pest.

These insects are extremely ugly looking and in terms of their behavior, they are considered pests and are solely responsible for wreaking havocs of damages to cotton production.

How do they communicate?

Since Boll Weevils are a type of beetle, they depict normal communication as that of a beetle. These animals use visual, semiochemical, and chemical methods to communicate with one another.  

How big is a boll weevil?

Boll weevil is an extremely small-sized beetle whose length lies in the range of 0.16-0.28 in (0.50-0.76 cm). In comparison to a normal-sized beetle which lies is of a size of 4.3 in (11 cm) approximately, the Boll Weevil can be considered as a small-sized beetle or insect.

How fast can boll weevils move?

There is no specified data that accounts for the exact speed at which boll weevils move but they are known to be weak fliers with speed less than 3 mph (4.8 kph). However, Weevils, in general, can fly up to a distance of 169.01 mi (272 km) approximately surpassing the speed of any car, truck, or train.

They also flies at considerable speeds when they land on cotton seeds for feeding.

How much does a boll weevil weigh?

Since these animals are very small and have a relatively short lifespan of just about three weeks, there is very limited data about the weight of the adults. However, scientists have been able to calculate the weight of the boll weevil in its different larvae forms.

The weight of the second instars lies in the range of 0.0000008-0.0002 oz (0.23-5.55 mg), while that of the third instar is roughly about 0.0005 oz (14.64 mg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Similar to other insects, there is no specified name that has been assorted to the boll weevils. Thus, the males and females of this species are referred to as male boll weevil and female boll weevil.

What would you call a baby boll weevil?

The boll weevil undergoes a three-phased metamorphosis in its entire lifetime i.e eggs, larvae, and adults. Thus a baby boll weevil can be termed as a larva.

What do they eat?

The Boll Weevil beetle is herbivorous in nature and thus they only feed on plants. This special species of beetles feed on the boll of the cotton plant aka the seeds of the cotton plant as well as the buds. Apart from devouring and destroying cotton plants, these insects also feed on a variety of similar plants.

Are they harmful?

Boll weevils are considered pests. They are quite harmful to crops particularly cotton plants.

However, these species of insects are not at harmful in any form (be it in the larval stage or in the adult stage) to humans. But when it comes to cotton crops, these infamous insects can destroy acres and acres of crops.

If any cotton plant gets infected by these insects, the plant starts losing its color and gradually changes from white to yellow.

Ultimately the crop falls off. Certain infected plants are also known to still produce crops, however, the quality of the cotton produced in bolls is very, limited and the fiber quality is extremely poor.

Often this insect has been termed as the bane of cotton farmers of the United States when this species of insect was brought into the country from Mexico accidentally.

Would they make a good pet?

No, absolutely not. These insects are considered pests and they can damage any production of a cotton plant in which they infest. Over the period of years, this nefarious insect has cost the cotton producers of the United States of America approximately $13 billion.

Did You Know...

The Boll Weevils cannot survive cold temperatures and they start dying when the temperature outside starts falling lower than 23 F -5 C.

This insect is depicted in an animated form in the children's popular cartoon show 'Ben10' where the alien species is named 'Ball Weevil'.

This animal was once a mascot of a baseball team that didn't survive for long in the mini baseball league. The team was known as Temple Boll Weevils.

'Boll Weevil' is an iconic blues song that has been covered by many numerous blues and jazz artists of the world. This is also known as the Boll Weevil Song.

Boll Weevil monument is the very first monument in the world that was built in honor of a pest.

The boll weevils have caused severe destruction in North Carolina since the end of the 19th century. The U.S. Department of Agriculture only noticed the situation for the first time in North Carolina in 1894. Then finally the U. S. Department of Agriculture helped in the destruction of boll weevils in 1922.

Why are they called boll weevils?

The primary reason as to why boll weevil are known by their specific name is due to them being pests of that particular plant. These Weevils are known to be a dangerous pest that infects cotton fields and feeds on the bolls or seeds of the flower, thus getting the name Boll Weevil.

How to get rid of boll weevils?

Getting rid of these nefarious pests is not a difficult job at all. Though they can destroy crops, these insects have a very small lifespan of just three weeks.

However, if you ever find a Boll Weevil infestation in your home, the very first thing that you need to do is to give your entire house a very good vacuum.

You can also lay simple beetle traps for these animals to get trapped in them.

If you find that these insects have infested your crops both cotton and other crops, simple insecticides like Malathion 57 can be used to get rid of them.

Malathion not only kills the boll weevils, but it also is responsible for killing a wide range of other insects and pests that are harmful to the growth and development of your crops.

Do boll weevils still exist?

Boll weevils are not a problem anymore since they have been permanently shooed away from major parts of the United States and mid-south cotton-producing regions of Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee; other regions of North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida as well. However, the exact number is still unknown.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including giant African millipede, or atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Boll Weevil coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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