The biological control of Boxing-glove cactus

Hildegard Klein- ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute

During October 2008, an exceptionally damaging biotype of the Chochineal 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, a trial release was made on the closely related boxing-glove cactus, (Cylindropuntia fulgida var mamillata), near Askham, Northern Cape, during October 2011.

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) has also been made at the rural community of Heuningvlei, Northern Cape, where approximately 400 ha have been invaded by a mixture of cactus species, including boxing-clove cactus.

For more information see the fact sheets below:

Boxing-glove cactus (Cylindropuntia fulgida var mamillata)

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