Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta) is a highly invasive weed and is now classified as a Weed of National Significance. Our group and local community have been trying to control this noxious weed using both herbicides and manual techniques for the past 15 years. It is still spreading and invading our natural environment and negatively impacting primary industries.
This project will introduce a new, additional tool to help us control the invasion and provide a more integrated, long-term and sustainable strategy. We are introducing a biological control agent, the Cochineal insect (Dactylopius opuntiae), to use in conjunction with herbicide and manual techniques, to create a multi-pronged management strategy.
We plan to introduce this new tool and integrated strategy and to monitor the effects of the biological control agent at 6 different properties in our local region.