The third step in eradication is treatment or control. When a certain number of weevils, called the
“trigger level,” have been caught in the traps around a field, the field receives an insecticide
application. The insecticide used in the program is malathion. This product is quite effective and is one of
the safest insecticides of any being sold for use around humans, birds, pets and domestic animals. Malathion
is commonly used in yards and gardens and is routinely used by cities for mosquito control. In boll weevil
eradication, the rate of the product used on an acre is 12 fluid ounces. To illustrate, this is like spreading
a 12-ounce can of soda over an area the size of a football field.
In addition to chemical control, the boll weevil eradication program relies on and promotes farmers using cultural
controls such as planting during the most advantageous periods of time, using rapidly maturing varieties,
harvesting early and thoroughly and destroying crop residues and failed plantings in a timely manner.