Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs has officially declared seven Boll Weevil Eradication Zones as “suppressed,” comprising 59 counties and more than 4 million acres in the Panhandle and western parts of the state.

The suppressed Boll Weevil Eradication Zones are Southern High Plains Caprock around Lubbock; Northern High Plains around Plainview; Western High Plains around Seminole; Permian Basin around Midland-Odessa; Northern Rolling Plains around Childress; Northwest Plains around Hereford; and El Paso/Trans-Pecos around El Paso.

“Suppressed” means that less than 0.025 boll weevils were found per trap per week during the cotton growing season.

“This is a great milestone in Texas' fight against boll weevils, a destructive pest that has plagued our state's cotton industry for more than a century,” Combs said. “The determination and hard work of cotton growers in each zone, the Texas Legislature and the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation helped us reach this goal.

“Boll weevils cause more than $200 million in crop losses and crop protection treatment costs in Texas every year, so obviously our ultimate goal is to completely eradicate this pest in Texas. Today we are much closer to that day,” Combs said.

“It is indeed a proud moment for our producers when we can claim a region is nearing a weevil-free status,” said Sen. Robert Duncan from Lubbock. “This spirit of hard work and cooperation for a common goal is commendable, and I hope it will continue as we face other challenges in rural Texas.”

The seven “suppressed” zones join two Texas zones that have been declared weevil free. The Southern Rolling Plains Zone around San Angelo was declared weevil free in 2000 and the Rolling Plains Central Zone around Abilene in 2002.

The state's current boll weevil eradication program was signed into law in 1997. There are currently 12 active boll weevil eradication zones in Texas.