Tag Archives: biological control
A prickly situation
Prickly pear cactus has its detractors. Long hated for its long spines with a bite, and its clusters of barbed spines (glochids) that are heck to remove, it has been cursed, hacked, burned and sprayed. But prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) is also used by a variety of wildlife and cattle, and is prized as a part of the Mexican-American diet. There is even a small industry devoted to rearing insects, called cochineal scale, that feed exclusively on prickly pear (these scales produce a vivid red dye, called cochineal… Read More →
What is a beneficial parasite?
The words “beneficial” and “parasite” are not normally heard together. But when talking about gardens, and parasitic wasps that attack pests, the word pairing makes good sense. Many insects in both natural settings and the urban landscape have long been recognized by humans as “beneficial”, as in benefiting man. Predators of pest insects, in particular, have attracted admiring fans, especially farmers. As early as ninth century China, farmers were modifying their orchards to aid the transfer of predator ants for control of citrus pests. By the 18th century… Read More →