Carmine, also known as cochineal or crimson lake, is made from carminic acid, which is traditionally produced by cochineal insects [Dactylopius coccus, which are scale insects, and often incorrectly referred to as beetles], and more recently is also produced by genetically engineered microbes. The dye originates from Peru and Mexico, where it has been in use for approximately 1500 years. The insects are boiled in ammonia, and alum is added after filtering. In addition to its use as a paint and dye, carmine is used as a food dye, but can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Pictured: carmine pigment, cochineal insect, Zapotec nests [to trap cochineal insects] on nopal cacti, a worker in a cooperative textile factory in Teotitlan del Valle grinding cochineal insects