Cochineal Insect (Dactylopius coccus)

Order: Homoptera (ho-MOP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Dactylopiidae (dak-ty-lo-PY-id-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dactylopius
Species: coccus (KOK-kus) (Info)


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Kenner, Louisiana
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Hico, Texas

Members' Notes:


On Sep 11, 2006, MyHiraeth from Lisbon
Portugal (Zone 10a) wrote:

Hard to get rid of. Act immediately on first sighting - the more they are the harder it will be to really dismiss them. Dish detergent is helpful when washing them away from the plant - which from my experience is the only truly effective way to get rid of cochineas.

In my area they attack a variety of plants, namely bougainvilleas.


On Jul 26, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

A tiny insect that feeds on a few species of Prickly Pear Cacti (Opuntia sp.). It burrows into the areole and emits a fuzzy, sticky white substance. It will eventually kill the plant if left untreated. Cochineal, if squished, will produced a crimson red liquid that has been used for centuries as a red dye.
One of the treatments that I use to eradicate the bug is by spraying a biodegrateable, diluted dish-soap mixture with water on to the affected areas. Several treatments may be necessary.