Effects of soil condition and burial on boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, mortality in fallen cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., fruit were assessed in this study. During hot weather immediately after summer harvest operations in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, burial of infested fruit in conventionally tilled field plots permitted significantly greater survival of weevils than in no-tillage plots. Burial of infested squares protected developing weevils from heat and desiccation that cause high mortality on the soil surface during and after harvest in midsummer and late summer. A laboratory assay showed that burial of infested squares resulted in significantly greater weevil mortality in wet than in dry sandy or clay soils. Significantly fewer weevils rose to the soil surface after burial of infested bolls during winter compared with bolls set on the soil surface, a likely result of wetting by winter rainfall. A combination of leaving infested fruit exposed to heat before the onset of cooler winter temperatures and burial by tillage when temperatures begin to cool might be an important tactic for reducing populations of boll weevils that overwinter in cotton fields.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2