Towards Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) biological and integrated management in Cadiz Province (Spain)
Abstract: An extremely high level of a cochineal scale infestation was detected throughout the province of Cadiz (Spain) resulting in great inconvenience to the population of local residents and a serious threat to wipe out the prickly pear cactus Opuntia ficus-indica Miller. As a first step, we confirmed that the populations of the insect in the study site belong to the false carmine cochineal Dactylopius opuntiae. Then, the efficacy of four different methods (Chlorpyrifos-methyl, Potassium soap, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larvae, the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana) for the control of D. opuntiae were evaluated at field condition in three different sites in the province of Cadiz (Spain). Our results demonstrated that the Potassium soap and Chlorpyrifos-methyl were the best treatments in reducing D. opuntiae populations, with relative population density values being negative only in these two treatments, and efficacies of 91.5 and 76.7%, respectively.