Learn about 'the green plague' and it's saviour - the Cactoblastis
- 2 hr 30 min2 hours 30 minutes
- Clover Hill Ranch
$35/person. Tour approximately 2hrs 30mins. Tours run on request, with a minimum numbers required. Subject to availability, call to confirm. BYO vehicle, or group bookings using bus available on request On this tour, you will: - Visit the Cactoblastis Monument at The Shanti, and if you are lucky, see live cactoblastis - Explore the last remaining bug shed at the Shanti, where the Cactoblastis were bred and raised - Find out more about the region at the Chinchilla Museum - See the only hall in the world named after a bug! Boonarga Cactoblastis Hall was built by the local farmers and dedicated to the insect which ate its way through the jungles of prickly pear. At the time it was seen as the true saviour of rural Australia and thus it is an appropriate homage that a hall should have been dedicated to its memory. The Shanti, also known as 'the Bug Farm', was one of two sites in Queensland that bred and raised the Cactoblastis grubs for in prickly pear infested farmlands. Introduced in 1788 for use as a fabric dye to produce the red colour for soldiers jackets, Prickly Pear quickly became an invasive pest. By the 1920s, 24,250,000 hectares of Australia was covered in Prickly Pear. This was larger than the total area of the United Kingdom. So great was the crisis that in 1923 the Queensland Government established a Royal Commission to investigate the problem and find a solution. As a result, in 1924, Alan Dodd went to America to explore the possibility of biological control. He went to Uruguay and Argentina and in Buenos Aires he came across the Cactoblastis cactorum moth. He decided to ship the moth's eggs to Australia. Initially 3000 eggs arrived from Argentina and from a population of 527 females a total of 100,605 eggs were hatched. Half these eggs were sent to the Chinchilla Prickly Pear Experimental Station and half were kept in Brisbane. The moth bred with enthusiasm. At the height of the operation Chinchilla was sending out as many as 14 million Cactoblastis eggs a day. By 1931 the much-loved Cactoblastis had brought the prickly pear under control and the land around Chinchilla was being opened up to selection. There were 1318 applications for land in the first year. By 1936 the Chinchilla Prickly Pear Experimental Station was closed down. The story of Cactoblastis and its successful battle against prickly pear is the most successful example of biological content, ever. No wonder the locals decided to dedicate a hall to this small insect.
To cancel or reschedule, please contact us at least 24hrs prior to the time of the booking.
1 Braithwaite Street, Chinchilla QLD, Australia
0437 149 610