There is concern that cotton gins may serve as loci for reintroduction of boll weevils, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, to eradicated or suppressed zones when processing weevil-infested cotton from neighboring zones. Previous work has shown that virtually all weevils entering the gin in the seed cotton will be removed before they reach the gin stand. Those not killed by the seed cotton cleaning machinery will be shunted alive into the trash fraction, which passes through a centrifugal trash fan before exiting the gin. The objective of this study was to determine survival potential of boll weevils passed through a trash fan. Marked adult weevils were distributed in gin trash and fed through a 82.6-cm (32.5-in.) diameter centrifugal fan operated across a range of fan-tip speeds. A small number of boll weevils were recovered alive immediately after passage through the fan, but all were severely injured and did not survive 24 h. In another experiment, green bolls infested with both adult- and larval-stage weevils were fed through the fan. Several teneral adults survived 24 h, and there was no evidence that fan-tip speed affected either initial survival of weevils, or the number of unbroken boll locks that could harbor an infesting weevil. Thus, designating a minimum fan-tip speed for ensuring complete kill is not possible for the boll weevil. Experiments suggest that a device installed in a gin that partially crushes or cracks bolls open before entering a trash fan will increase mortality, possibly enough that further precautions would be unnecessary.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5