The biological control of boxing-glove cactus

The biological control of boxing-glove cactus
Hildegard Klein,
ARC-PPRI, Private Bag X134, Queenswood 0121, Pretoria. E-mail:
During October 2008, an exceptionally damaging biotype of the cochineal Dactylopius tomentosus was first released against the invasive chain-fruit cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida) in the Limpopo and Northern Cape Provinces. Following its success in controlling chain-fruit cholla in especially Limpopo and Zimbabwe (which it reached through natural distribution), a trial release was made on the closely related boxing-glove cactus, Cyl. fulgida var. mamillata, near Askham, Northern Cape, during October 2011. The cochineal biotype was shown to be just as damaging to boxing-glove cactus as it is to chain-fruit cholla. Biological control has now become the preferred control method against this cactus, especially where infestations are dense. Members of EDRR have since harvested cochineal at Askham and redistributed it to several other sites. Two releases (July 2012 and March
2013) have also been made at the rural community of Heuningvlei, NC, where approximately 400 ha have been invaded by a mixture of cactus species, including boxing-glove cactus. It is still too early for results from these releases, but large additional quantities of cochineal will be needed to ensure a reduction of the invasive potential of the cactus in that area.
The biological control of boxing-glove cactus