25. Boll Weevil

The boll weevil, a beetle that feeds on cotton, traveled up through Mexico and into the Southern United States beginning in the 1890s, reaching North Carolina by the 1920s. Wherever the Boll Weevil appeared, cotton farms were devastated, forcing many people to go bankrupt and lose their farms. Various methods of eliminating the boll weevil were employed with little success. In the 1970s, the invention of the Grandlure pheromone enabled scientists to develop a boll weevil trap that provided farmers with a quick method of detection. Once boll weevils were found in the trap, the field was sprayed with the pesticide Malathion to kill them and prevent the further spread of the boll weevil. This method was so effective that by the late 1980s the boll weevil was successfully eradicated from North Carolina.