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PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
Pests > Pests Entities > Weeds > Biological control > Acanthocereus pentagonus, control, New Caledonia
June 2002. New Caledonia asked about the natural enemies (biological control) of the cactus, Acanthocereus pentagonus. It is present in New Caledonia, but a native to Southern USA, Central and South America.
Members provided information about two insects that have been used to control this catus.
1. A mealybug from South America, Hypogeococcus pungens Granara de Willink, has been used successfully to control weed cacti (Eriocereus spp. and Acanthocereus pentago) in Australia (Queensland). The mealybug has been recorded also from quite a few Caribbean islands and Spain in recent years. It feeds on a range of cacti and some other succulent and fleshy plants.
CABI Bioscience station in Trinidad & Tobago could collect and screen specimens for a biological control programme if required. I am copying this message to CABI for information, and could provide more detailed distribution information for H pungens, and references on the Queensland story, if required.
2. Hypogeococcus festerianus (Lizer y Trelles) is recorded has having been released in Queensland for the control of Acanthocereus pentagonus. It has also been used for control of Harrisia martinii and H bonplandii in Australia, and against Cerus jamacaru and H martinii in South Africa. Note, that the cactus genus Eriocereus is now referred to as Harrisa. Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines should be contacted.