Boll Weevil Eradication

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Science  07 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4435, pp. 1044-1050
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4435.1044


Some representatives of the cotton industry and of the entomological profession advocate efforts to eradicate the boll weevil. This coalition originated in 1958 from a complex of socioeconomic changes in cotton production and scientific developments in entomology. The results of a pilot eradication experiment (1971 to 1973) were controversial, and the debate was inhibited by social pressures upon the entomological profession. Substantial conceptual difficulties also attend evaluations of eradication experiments. A new trial eradication program is under way. If its evaluation is not to be warped by problems similar to the earlier ones, both the social and scientific aspects of eradication must be recognized and steps must be taken to ensure a full and open debate.