boll weevil

1. a snout beetle, Anthonomus grandis, that attacks the bolls of cotton.
2. Informal. (esp. in the U.S. Congress) a Southern Democrat with conservative views who often votes with the Republicans as part of a Southern or conservative power bloc.
[1890-95, Amer.]

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Small beetle (Anthonomus grandis) found almost everywhere cotton is cultivated.

It is the most serious cotton pest in North America. Adults vary in size according to how much food they received as larvae, but they average about 0.25 in. (6 mm) long, including the long, curved snout. In the spring adults deposit eggs in cotton buds or fruit. After hatching, the larvae live within the cotton boll, destroying the seeds and surrounding fibres. Because the larvae and pupae remain inside the cotton bolls, they cannot be killed with insecticides. The boll weevil destroys an estimated three to five million bales of cotton annually.

Boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis)

Harry Rogers

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 (Anthonomus grandis), the most serious cotton pest in North America, a beetle of the insect family Curculionidae (order Coleoptera). The size of the adult boll weevil varies according to the amount of food it receives during its larval stage, but it averages about 6 mm (1/4 inch), including the long, curved snout, which is about one-half the body length. The light yellow of the newly emerged adult boll weevil changes to gray or black in several weeks.

      In the spring, adult boll weevils emerge from a partly dormant state and deposit between about 100 and 300 eggs in cotton buds or fruit. The females do not deposit their eggs in cotton bolls already visited by another female at least until most of the bolls are infested. An average of two or three weeks is required for an egg to develop into an adult; thus, there may be from two to ten generations each year.

      The larvae live entirely within the cotton boll, destroying not only the seeds but also the surrounding fibres. Because the larvae and pupae remain inside the cotton bolls for their entire period of development, the application of insecticides at this time is useless.

      The boll weevil occurs in North America in almost every area where cotton is cultivated. It entered the United States from Mexico in the 1890s, causing much damage. It is estimated that between 3,000,000 and 5,000,000 bales of cotton are destroyed annually by this pest. It has been said that the boll weevil infestation caused many farmers to realize that they should diversify their crops rather than be totally dependent on cotton. Control programs include early destruction of cotton stalks, cleanup of hibernating areas, seed treatments, early planting, and the development of early maturing and rapid fruiting varieties of cotton.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • boll weevil — ☆ boll weevil n. 1. a small, grayish weevil (Anthonomus grandis) with a long snout, whose larvae, when hatched in the immature bolls of cotton plants, destroy the bolls 2. Slang a conservative Democratic politician from a state of the southern… …   English World dictionary

  • boll weevil — n an insect that eats and destroys cotton plants …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • boll weevil — boll ,weevil noun count an insect that lives in North America and damages cotton plants …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Boll Weevil — This is a greenish grey insect about 1/4 in. in length. Its original home was Mexico, but about 36 years ago it migrated to Texas and gradually moved northwards, year by year, until now it attacks the whole of the American cotton fields. It is… …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • Boll weevil — For other uses, see Boll weevil (disambiguation). Boll Weevil Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia …   Wikipedia

  • boll weevil — noun greyish weevil that lays its eggs in cotton bolls destroying the cotton • Syn: ↑Anthonomus grandis • Hypernyms: ↑weevil • Member Holonyms: ↑Anthonomus, ↑genus Anthonomus * * * noun, pl ⋯ vils [count] …   Useful english dictionary

  • boll weevil — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms boll weevil : singular boll weevil plural boll weevils an insect that lives in North America and damages cotton plants …   English dictionary

  • boll weevil — boll′ wee′vil n. ent a snout beetle, Anthonomus grandis, that attacks the bolls of cotton • Etymology: 1890–95, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • boll weevil — noun a small weevil which feeds on the fibres of the cotton boll. [Anthonomus grandis.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • boll weevil — noun Date: 1895 a usually grayish or brown weevil (Anthonomus grandis grandis) that feeds on the squares and bolls of the cotton plant …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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