There is concern that gins located in boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, eradication zones may become points of reintroduction when they process cotton grown in a neighboring infested area. We estimated boll weevil survival through two typical machine sequences used in commercial cotton gins to clean and dry the seed cotton in advance of the gin stand, as well as separately through two incline cylinder cleaners or one or two tower dryers operating at different temperatures. Large numbers of laboratory-reared adult boll weevils were marked with fluorescent powder, fed into the test system, and recovered with the assistance of blacklights. We found no evidence of survival through the seed cotton cleaning systems even when the dryers were not heated, or when passed separately through the two incline cleaners alone. Upper confidence limits (95%) were calculated for the observed zero recoveries based on sample size and the binomial distribution, and these represent the statistical worst-case (i.e., highest) survival potential. Survival through heated tower dryers declined rapidly to zero at higher temperatures, especially when two dryers were running. Although we conclude that the potential for survival of weevils in the seed cotton to the gin stand is zero or close to zero, a small percentage of live weevils was recovered in the green boll/rock trap, which may represent the greatest threat of reintroduction at the gin. Escape of live weevils with the gin trash is also possible, and studies addressing this issue will be presented elsewhere.
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Vol. 97 • No. 4