Cochineal colonizing the prickly pear cactus tunas in my neighborhood. A couple of years ago, I went to a cochineal farm in Oaxaca where they farm the cochineal insects for their red dye. In greenhouses they plant the cactus in shallow dirt beds on large tables. They then inoculate the prickly pear cactus with the insects. The cactus pads full of cochineal are quite beautiful. A thin layer of cochineal dust covers the entire pad, and the pads themselves reminded me of the milky way on a clear night.
A designer insect? Bee? What a beautiful graphic yellow/black pattern. And no fear of those pesky glochids or spines!