Oklahoma's boll weevil trapping season is well under way, according to Joe Harris, executive director of the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Program.

“As of July 15, the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization, headquartered in Hobart, Okla., had mapped and placed traps on almost 152,000 cotton acres across the state.

“This is a 13 percent decrease in mapped acres from 2007 and is representative of decreases in acres across the belt as cotton continues to compete with corn and soybeans. Acres reflected on our eradication management program will vary during the season as some fields are abandoned and transferred to inactive status while others are identified and added to the system,” he said.

“Trapping protocol for 2008 requires placing one trap per 40 acres of cotton with traps checked every three weeks. Two complete cycles have been run and no boll weevils have been caught anywhere in the state.

“A critical feature of the trapping effort is a comprehensive quality assurance program coordinated by assistant director John Henderson,” Harris said. “The program, used across the Cotton Belt, assures that trappers are bringing in suspect insects for positive identification and that traps are properly placed and in good repair, being checked on time and contain current pheromone lure and insecticide strips. Because finding boll weevils, even a ‘hitch-hiker’ that may ride into the area on a vehicle, is essential to the continued success of the eradication program. Henderson encourages anyone who thinks he has found a boll weevil to take it to the nearest OBWEO office in Hobart, Altus or Frederick for positive identification.”

District supervisors this season include Brenda Osborne, Altus, who is responsible for Jackson, Harmon and Greer counties; Cindy Dugan, Hobart, who has central and northern Oklahoma; and John Lamb, Frederick, who has Tillman, Cotton and Comanche Counties.

During the off season, the state office in Hobart was relocated from the old Eugene Field school building, 810 S. Main to the former police station next door at 800 S. Main. “Although this building is smaller than the old school house, it is adequate to our current needs as well as being in a much better state of repair,” Harris said. “And we have experienced a tremendous decrease in monthly operating costs.”

The assessment for 2008 has been set by the OBWEO board of directors at $4 per acre of cotton harvested and sold. Additional information on the assessment or any other aspect of the boll weevil eradication program can be obtained from the OBWEO website www.obweo.org, or by calling the Hobart office at 1-800-246-8401.

TALKIN' COTTON is produced by NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership, which supports and encourages cotton production in North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, see okiecotton.org and ntokcotton.org. For questions and comments on Talkin' Cotton, contact eventerpirse1@hughes.net.