Cactus con­trol ramped up

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Bunny ears cacti (fore­ground) and a devil’s rope pear cactus (back­ground). Both are de­clared pest species. INSET: Cac­to­blastis moths on an In­dian fig cactus.

The State Gov­ern­ment has de­clared Novem­ber “Cactus Month” as part of a cam­paign to raise aware­ness and fight the spread of in­va­sive pest cactus species’.

The Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment is urg­ing land­hold­ers across the Mid West to re­port cases of cactus in­fes­ta­tion and do their bit to help con­trol out­breaks.

Par­tic­u­larly dam­ag­ing are opun­tioid or “prickly pear” cacti, a sub-fam­ily that com­petes with na­tive plants and threat­ens live­stock. Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment in­va­sive species man­ager Kay Bai­ley said there were 23 known species of op­un­tiod cactus in WA, eight of which were found in the north­ern agri­cul­tural re­gion.

“Th­ese are de­clared pests un­der the Biose­cu­rity and Agri­cul­ture Man­age­ment Act 2007, re­quir­ing land­hold­ers to con­trol th­ese pests on their prop­er­ties,” she said.

“Con­trol and erad­i­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties for cacti can range from bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol, us­ing cac­to­blastis moths and cochineal in­sects, to me­chan­i­cal re­moval and chem­i­cal spray­ing or in­ject­ing tech­niques. “Opun­tioid cacti can form dense thick­ets with long spines, which be­come im­pen­e­tra­ble and can be harm­ful to live­stock and na­tive fauna.”

The re­cently formed North­ern Biose­cu­rity Group has re­ceived $30,000 of fund­ing from the Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment to help man­age the de­clared species.

The group com­prises land­hold­ers from the shires of North­hamp­ton and Chap­man Val­ley, as well as Mulle­wadis­trict.

Co-or­di­na­tor Marieke Jansen urged land­hold­ers to work to­gether with the group.

“We would like land­hold­ers to get in con­tact with us if they are aware of any in­fes­ta­tions in bush­lands, along creeks or in other agri­cul­tural ar­eas, as we may be able to as­sist to con­trol and erad­i­cate the species,” she said.

In­fes­ta­tions can be re­ported to Ms Jansen by call­ing 0427 898 160, or by call­ing the Pest and Dis­ease In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice on 9368 3080.

Pictures: North­ern Biose­cu­rity Group

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