Letter | Published:

Control of Prickly Pear by the Cochineal Insect

Nature volume 128, page 226 (08 August 1931) | Download Citation



AS a result of a long series of tests carried out in Australia under the Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board, it was ascertained that the cochineal insect, Dactylopius tomentosus, could only live on certain species of Opuntia, among which was O. dillenii. As this species was reported to be a pest in India and Ceylon, I was authorised to offer strains of this cochineal bred in the laboratory free from parasites to the Government entomologists of those countries. The offer was accepted by Ceylon, and the insects were successfully established there in 1924 or 1925. In India, the offer was considered at a conference of the entomologists of the various provinces, and it was decided not to accept it, on the ground that prickly pear was largely used for hedges, and that, where it threatened to become a pest, it could easily be eradicated, as abundant cheap labour was available.

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  1. (Officer in charge of Prickly Pear Investigations in Australia, 1923–25). University Museum, Oxford, July 21.



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