ALMERIA is suffering from a prickly problem as cacti are being demolished by bugs.
Gardens across Almeria are seeing their cacti rotting before their eyes as the cochinilla beetle chomps away at the juicy paddle leaves.
Sheila and Douglas Snowball in Los Gallardos have been attempting to battle the cacti blight. They paid €1,000 for someone to destroy and remove their affected cacti, only to suffer a repeat occurrence later on. They have now taken to chopping and removing the cacti themselves. Sheila told Euro Weekly News: “This is not all on my land but to leave any infected cacti makes the whole thing a waste of time and money. We have lost many plants both in the vegetable garden, and inside the house, also quite a few of my fruit trees have been affected.
“The other problem is, behind the house, on a hillside there are other cacti also infected. These are nowhere near the house, but the wind can and of course will, re- infect. WHERE do we stop?? Los Gallardos? Turre? Vera?”
Sheila concluded: “As this is a national problem, shouldn’t there be some assistance? A digger could move all this in a couple of hours!”
Various remedies are suggested, most including water, but as Mary McHarg from Chercos said: “Our house is surrounded by them but as water is so scarce we would be shot at dawn if we used our hose.”
However the rotting cacti also provide the perfect environment for biting midges from the ceratopogidae family to nest in. These midges can fit through most mosquito netting holes, so few homes are immune to their entry. Once inside they will feast on you and your pets before settling and creating mounds of their tiny corpses on any flat surface they can find.