As part of my recent trip to Arizona, I had the opportunity to meet with Arizona cotton producers, Arizona Department of Agriculture Director Don Butler, and APHIS personnel at the Pink Bollworm Rearing Facility in Phoenix.
I was absolutely impressed with the importance and quality of the work being done, and with the partnership between APHIS, Arizona Department of Agriculture, Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council, and cotton growers.
The pink bollworm is a serious cotton pest, and APHIS is working cooperatively with producers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, as well as cotton growing areas in Mexico, to eradicate the pest.
This facility is the source of all sterile moths used in the eradication program, producing about 22 million sterile moths per day. The eradication techniques not only include the sterile moth release but also surveys, use of Bt cotton, and pheromone application for mating disruption.
This eradication effort is on-going and has helped reduce pink bollworm populations by as much as 96%. It is important to note that growers pay 80% of program costs.