Cochineal is extracted from Dactylopius coccus which is an insect tbat lives on prickly pear cactus. This dye is commonly used in food, drugs, and cosmetics. The beautiful pinks resulting from dyeing can be pushed towards orange with the addition of citric acid, or towards fuchsia with addition of soda ash.
These dried bugs are a strong source of dye and can be used at 3-8% weight of fiber. The bugs should be crushed and extracted with hot water repeatedly before being filtered out. Fiber, mordanted with alum at 15%, can then be added and the dye pot simmered for an hour.
Sold in 2 ounce bags.