Cochineal – is the most important of the insect dyes. The females of Dactylopius coccus colonize the prickly pear (nopal) cactus native to Mexico, Central and South America and the Canary Islands. Peru is currently the primary export country, shipping out over 4000 metric tons annually. This dye is found mostly in food, drugs and cosmetics. Cochineal has excellent light and washfastness and produces a powerful range of fuchsias, reds and purples. The colour changes with the mordants used and pH of the dyebath. 

Although expensive, it is very concentrated. The bugs have a high dye content (carminic acid) and go a long way. You will need only 3-8% WOF for a medium depth of shade. 


For dye recipes please see our Natural Dye Datasheet