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The Persistent Problem of the Boll Weevil: Pest Control in Principle and in Practice

Ian R. Manners
Geographical Review
Vol. 69, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 25-42
DOI: 10.2307/214235
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/214235
Page Count: 18
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The Persistent Problem of the Boll Weevil: Pest Control in Principle and in Practice
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Abstract

The ecological and historical background of efforts to control the boll weevil is examined. The rationale underlying preventive strategy of pest control and reliance on insecticides that represent practical expression of such an approach are rooted in historical experiences of producers in the period immediately following the appearance and spread of the boll weevil. The long-standing desire to eliminate emerging weevils early in the season exemplifies the misperception of economic injury thresholds. Yet overly optimistic assessment of the long-term effectiveness of broad-spectrum insecticides encouraged a broadening of the preventive approach to include even potential pest populations. Despite pest resistances and resurgences, producers remain convinced that it is feasible to eliminate the boll weevil in an ecologically acceptable manner. However, although depicted as an integrated program, the proposed eradication project continues to rely heavily on insecticides and conforms to the principles and practices that have traditionally dominated cotton pest control efforts.

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