Classical and fortuitous biological control of the prickly pear cochineal, Dactylopius opuntiae, in Israel

Publication date: Available online 28 November 2019Source: Biological ControlAuthor(s): Zvi Mendel, Alexei Protasov, Juan M. Vanegas-Rico, J. Refugio Lomeli-Flores, Pompeo Suma, Esteban Rodríguez-LeyvaAbstractThe cochineal, Dactylopius opuntiae (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) was first reported in Israel in 2013 in a restricted area in the upper Galilee from where, by 2018, it had spread throughout Galilee and the northern Coastal Plain. It infests and kills the Indian-fig prickly pear, Opuntia ficus-indica (Cactaceae), a prominent plant in the landscape of Israel and other Mediterranean countries. Inundative releases of industrially mass-reared Cryptolaemous montrouzieri (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), intended to control early cochineal outbreaks have been unsuccessful. Two insect predators of D. opuntiae — Hyperaspis trifurcata (Coccinellidae) and Leucopina bellula (Diptera: Chamaemyiidae) — were collected in Mexico and sent to Israel, where both were tested against the target prey and several non-target prey species. Approximately 2,500 H. trifurcata individuals were released in the summer of 2017, and 1,300 L. bellula individuals in the following summer, mostly at different sites. In midsummer of 2017, a buildup of large populations of naturalized C. montrouzieri was observed in the northern Coastal Plain of Israel where, in 2018, it played a significant role in restraining the cochineal populations. Other local predatory species did not attack the cochineal. ...
Source: Biological Control - Category: Biology Source Type: research

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