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Screwworm Eradication Program Records


The Screwworm Eradication Program Records, housed in Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library (NAL), documents one of the greatest success stories in the history of American agriculture. Led by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the eradication of the screwworm from the United States, Mexico, and most of Central America marked a major victory over the destruction of domestic and wild animals by an insect which feeds only on the living tissue of warm-blooded animals.

The Screwworm Eradication Program Records document research and eradication efforts from the 1930s through 2000. These materials include correspondence, plans, reports, scientific papers and manuscripts, publications, raw research data and research analyses, livestock producer information materials and reports, cooperative agreements, photographs, maps and artifacts. As of August 2007, the collection consisted of 200 linear feet of material, including the Dr. Edward F. Knipling Papers, the Southeast Eradication Records, the O. H. Graham Papers and the extensive Southwestern United States and Mexico Screwworm Collection. Highlights include two oral history interviews conducted in 2000 with Dr. Knipling, who originated the sterile insect technique which made screwworm control possible, and the recent addition of reports regarding the eradication of New World screwworm from North Africa in the early 1990s, and materials relating to Cazador, the screwworm detector dog.

The collection provides evidence of the important contributions of individuals, private producers' organizations, state and national governments, the U. S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities. These and other materials at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) provide major documentation of this unique and extremely successful effort. NAL is seeking additional documentation from all sources to add to this already important collection. A series of oral history interviews on eradication was conducted to enrich existing materials.

The NAL's publication, STOP Screwworms: Selections from the Screwworm Eradication Collection is also available as a CD-ROM. This sampler includes a brief history of the screwworm eradication programs, documents from the collection, including photographs and film clips, excerpts from an oral history interview with Dr. Edward F. Knipling, and reference bibliographies on the New World screwworm. Dr. Knipling was the USDA scientist who developed the sterile male release strategy which proved effective in controlling screwworm with the use of little or no pesticide.

Access to the collection is provided by appointment. To obtain additional information, schedule an appointment, donate material or order a copy of the CD-ROM STOP Screwworms: Selections from the Screwworm Eradication Collection, please contact Special Collections.

Finding Aid File


Finding Aids

Digitized Selections

Links and Bibliography


USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, "Screwworm." Feb. 2001.

USDA, Agricultural Research Service, "Subduing the Screwworm." July 1992.

United States Embassy, San Jose, Costa Rica, "Screwworm Eradication Program."

USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Panama City, Panama, "Screwworm Research Unit."


Galvin, Thomas J. and John H. Wyss. "Screwworm Eradication Program in Central America."

In Emmanuel Camus, James A. House, and Gerrit Uilenberg, eds. Vector-Borne Pathogens: International Trade and Tropical Animal Diseases. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1996.

Meyer, Norvan. History of the Mexico-United States Screwworm Eradication Program. New York: Vantage Press, [1995?].

Scruggs, Charles G. The Peaceful Atom and the Deadly Fly. Austin, Texas: Pemberton Press, 1975.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. "Screwworm Research Unit, Panama City, Republic of Panama." Available from Accessed 16 June 1999.

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, Emergency Programs. "Screwworm Update." Foreign Animal Disease Report No. 22-3 (Winter 1994): 4.

Wyss, John H. and Thomas J. Galvin. "Central America Regional Screwworm Eradication Program (Benefit/Cost Study)." In Emmanuel Camus, James A. House, and Gerrit Uilenberg, eds. Vector-Borne Pathogens: International Trade and Tropical Animal Diseases. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1996.

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