Mexican coming to kill cacti

FROM Mexico to Mundubbera.

A strain of a Mexican insect scientists hope will bid adios to a cactus problem could wing their way to the North Burnett.

The Mexican cochineal insect sucks the juice – and the life – out of the Class-1 weed hudson pear, which is found in NSW with small infestations across Australia.

Biosecurity Queensland principal entomologist Bill Palmer said that, as hudson pear originated from Mexico, an insect from the weed’s native country was required to control it.

“A strain of this particular insect was highly effective in destroying a close relative of hudson pear in South Africa and we’re hoping to achieve similar results here,” he said.

He said the insect would attack NSW infestations after it was tested but could then be used to control cactus across the country.

“We may also then use the same cochineal insect on the closely related cactus C. tunicata found around Mundubbera in the North Burnett region,” he said.



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