The need to minimize populations of overwintering boll weevils (Anthonomus grandis Boheman) in eradication programs is widely recognized, but the potential contribution of nonfruiting regrowth cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) to weevil survival has not been directly examined. We conducted experiments in 2002 and 2003 to examine the host-free survival of weevils previously supplied vegetative-stage regrowth cotton. Weevils, 1–3 d after eclosion, were caged with vegetative regrowth cotton under ambient environmental conditions (2002), or in a controlled environment (23.9 ± 2°C, 13:11 [L:D] h photoperiod, 2003). Four cohorts of each weevil sex were examined each year. Of the 60 weevils dissected in 2002, 12% possessed the hypertrophied fat bodies associated with diapause and extended host-free survival. In both years, the majority of weevils (>75%) died during the initial 3 wks of the host-free period. No differences in host-free survival were detected between weevil sexes, but differences were observed among replicates of the experiment established on different dates. Survival patterns among replicates, however, did not strictly follow a seasonal pattern. Overall, approximately 5% of the weevils survived ≥12 wks beyond the feeding period. Maximum observed host-free longevities were 21 wks in 2002 and 19 wks in 2003. Our findings suggest vegetative-stage regrowth cotton should not be disregarded in eradication zones, particularly in those experiencing unsatisfactory progress or resurgence of weevil populations.

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