We characterized the level of risk of boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, reintroduction to an eradication zone posed by dispersal from cotton modules during and after transport to the gin. Mark–release-recapture experiments in August and September in Texas indicated that most weevils disperse rapidly from the module surface, temperature permitting, unless confined under a module tarp, where most died. Nevertheless, 1–5% of released weevils were recovered alive after 24 h on the side and top surfaces of modules, representing potential dispersants. Mortality of boll weevils caged on the top surface of a module was 95–100% after 1–4 d when maximum air temperatures were ≥33°C and 72–100% when minimum temperatures were −7°C or lower, but a few survived even after experiencing a minimum daily temperature of −12°C. Under warm (daily maximum temperatures ≥25°C) and cold (daily minimum temperatures ≤0°C) weather conditions, survival was higher under the tarp than on the open surface of the module (20 versus 7% and 42 versus 26%, respectively), but mortality was 100% in both locations when temperatures reached 34°C. Our results indicate that although the threat to an eradication zone posed by boll weevil dispersal from an infested module is very low under most environmental conditions, it is probably greatest when 1) a module is constructed and transported from an infested zone during weather too cool for flight, followed by warm weather favorable for flight at the gin yard; or 2) such a module is transported immediately after construction in moderate-to-warm weather.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1