, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 331–340 | Cite as

Management of the false carmine cochineal Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell): perspective from Pernambuco state, Brazil

  • Jorge Braz Torres
  • José Adriano Giorgi


The false carmine cochineal outbreak in the semiarid region of Brazil has caused considerable damage to the cactus production for the last 16 years. Native of Mexico, the false carmine cochineal, Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell), has invaded other countries including recent citations in Morocco and Israel. In some countries, intentional introduction of the false carmine cochineal has been done for biological control of noxious cactus weeds; while, in Brazil, its introduction was apparently for carmine dye production. However, there was a rapid distribution through the semiarid region causing a huge problem for cactus pear production as fodder. The pest problem in Brazil has motivated studies on control alternatives. Farmers have the option to manage this pest with host-plant-resistance or alternative and synthetic insecticides. In addition, knowledge on indigenous predatory insect species with the potential to help suppressing the pest population have been generated, especially the lady beetles Zagreus bimaculosus (Mulsant), Prodiloides bipunctata Weise. Farmers should also be aware of the risks involved in transporting contaminated vegetative material and animals into pest free areas. All these practices can be fully achieved once growers start changing their current practice of cactus growing. It is particularly important for growers to conduct regular inspections in the fields to detect early infestation of the pest. Dealing with small and spatially localized infestations have been proved easier than work on highly infested areas. Cactus can still be a profitable activity if these recommendations are taken seriously.


Opuntia Exotic pests Semiarid IPM 



The authors acknowledge the “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Proc. 301739/2016-1” and the “Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE), APQ-0168-5.01/15” for their financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest, no human subjects were involved in these experiments, and all applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Agronomia – EntomologiaUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal do ParáAltamiraBrazil

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