The pink bollworm is a major pest affecting
the one hundred billion dollar U-S cotton industry and has practically been eliminated
from this country. However, there can be infestation flare-ups and U-S-D-A’s Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service wants to take to the air to control pink bollworm flare-ups.
We are investigating using remotely piloted aircraft capable of eliminating small-scale
outbreaks as soon as they are detected. The remotely piloted aircraft would release sterile
moths into new infestation areas. The sterile moths mate with the wild pink bollworm population
and reduce the infestation by preventing offspring. Tests by APHIS this summer showed that remotely
piloted aircraft were just as good at releasing the sterile moths as piloted Cessna aircraft.
The only difference is that remotely piloted aircraft is more nimble, costs less, as well
as effective in suppressing infestations. By the way, pink bollworms affect cotton crops
by infesting and feeding on the cotton boll damaging the cotton lint and reducing yield.
In Washington, for the U-S Department of Agriculture, I’m Bob Ellison.