Pseudococcus longispinus, known as long-tailed cochineal, is not an unknown species in the Valencian Community. In fact, the Institut Valencià d'Investigacions Agràries (IVIA) has warned in a recent study that this cotonet is the main species of Pseudococcidae that affects the cultivation of kaki; which is why the Ministry of Agriculture has included it in the aid it has recently launched to counteract the effects of the South African cotonet in the autonomous field, in this case, to help kaki producers.
Thus, there's concern about its detection in a citrus orchard located in the municipality of Nules. So far it had not been detected in the province of Castellon, or it had been confused with another cotonet.
The fear is that, even though the Pseudococcus longispinus does not deform the fruit as the insect arriving from South Africa does, it may cause black spots on the fruits at the time of harvest, which would render the fruit unsellable. Hence, the four local associations (Vila-real, Nules, la Ribera, and Camp de Túria) have reiterated the need to obtain exceptional authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture to use methyl chlorpyrifos to treat trees, now that they are in full bloom. Especially after the Ministry, in its own aid order, has recognized that the biological fight has not yet been effective to prevent the dispersion and affectation of the South African cotonet.
Independent citrus farmers fear a rapid expansion of the cotonet that was detected, as it does not need sexual reproduction for its breeding, and a single parent can produce new individuals.
A time bomb
Thus, after checking its development in kaki, the entities expect significant damage to the citrus crops. "This can be a time bomb for the pockets of citrus farmers," the association from Nules stated.