Making a Difference

Taming the Tiger

Northern Slopes Landcare Association Incorporated
December 2023

To investigate alternative methods of Tiger Pear control including Biological and nonchemical Control methods and to try to limit the spread of Tiger Pear in the Gwydir Shire Area

The issue

Tiger Pear was becoming increasingly recognised as a threatening process to native wildlife, as well as to domestic animals and livestock. Recently a koala and tawny frogmouth owl had both been brought to the local veterinary clinic to treat injuries caused by Tiger Pear, and other incidents had also been reported.

The solution

Northern Slopes Landcare Association was fortunate to attain funding through North West Local Land Services to address the control of Tiger Pear, and with the consulting services of North West Weeds, a three pronged approach was decided upon:

1. To set up a trial plot to compare 4 different control agents - Cochineal, Flame Weeding, Steam Weeding and Herbicide spraying

2. To establish a "nursery" where landholders could have easy access to Cochineal insects - the biological control for Tiger Pear

3. Tiger pear in areas where Koalas had been sighted was sprayed with herbicide to directly improve their habitat and reduce the immediate threat

The impact

The steam weeding proved to be very effective in controlling the Tiger Pear over the 4 month trial period, with chemical control coming a close 2nd. Unfortunately the flame weeder was not successful. Whilst the cochineal did not have the dramatic result of the steam weeder and herbicide controls, this may have been partly affected by the extreme heat conditions experienced during the trial period following after heavy rainfall which would have removed the insects' protective coating - thus making them more susceptible to the heat. Overall, it was decided that the cochineal is still the most effective as it can simply be spread from plant to plant and the cochineal will keep working most of the year without further attention.

The Cochineal nursery was established at The Living Classroom, Bingara, and will continue as both a readily available source of Cochineal insects to local landholders, and also an educational tool to educate students about biological control agents.

Key Facts
  • Long Term, Cochineal is the preferred Tiger pear control method
  • Steam weeding was very effective against Tiger pear
Project Partners
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