The cottony scale is a disgusting pest that attacks our cactus, succulents and plants indoors. This plague is good at playing hide-and-seek and attacking when least expected. Today I teach you how to end the cotton bug forever.
What is the cottony cochineal
It is a very common pest, especially in indoor plants. They are small white insects that form nests where they feed. They can even live in the roots .
There favorite place to hide is right where the leaves meet the stem. This makes them difficult to see and difficult to kill.
If not treated quickly, the scale insects will infect the entire plant and spread to other nearby succulents. As this plague feeds on plants, it hinders its growth.
A female can put more than six hundred eggs in your succulents. When those eggs break, they stick to the plant and basically suck it to death. The damage can encourage the growth of mold in your plants.
If a cotton bug infestation is not treated, the plant will eventually die.
How to know if I have a cottony cochineal on cactus or succulents
If you see a white insect similar to a tick, you have a cottony cochineal. Inspect your plants regularly to detect pests and any problems they have.
Although they are visible to the human eye they are good at playing hide and seek. They tend to form wedges in places that are difficult to see. For example, in the lower part of the leaves and the pots.
How to treat cottony cochineal in cacti and succulents
The first thing you should do is move the infected plant away from the healthy ones . Do not just move it a little, move it to another room.
The next step is to kill the cochineal using organic methods and products for pest control. I do not recommend using synthetic pesticides, because mealybugs are resistant to most chemical pesticides .
I share some home remedies for the cottony scale.
Alcohol (70% isopropyl) is the # 1 remedy for cochineals. Do not use cotton swabs (Q-tips) or cotton balls. It is easier and more effective to use a spray bottle.
Simply spray the alcohol directly on the cochineals. Check the hard-to-see places near the stem and under the leaves. You will notice that the white will disappear and only a small black insect will remain.
You know what? Pour alcohol over the substrate the next time you water. This will kill the insects or eggs that are hiding in the ground.
Alcohol can burn some plants, but cactus and succulents are very resistant. So do not worry, alcohol evaporates quickly, so there’s only water left.
Note that the cochineal life cycle is approximately 30 days. Therefore, continue with this regimen once a week for at least a month to make sure you kill every last one of them.
Create your own neem oil solution by mixing half a tablespoon of neem oil with a few drops of scrubbing soap and a bottle of water. Spray the solution on areas susceptible to mealybugs.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder that can kill mealybugs by piercing their bodies. Spray a good amount on the succulents and on the ground.
Do you know which is the natural predator of the cochineal? They are the ladybugs. You can use them if you are growing your succulents outdoors. You can buy ladybugs online and introduce them to the garden.
Although all the remedies that I share in this article are good, the most effective is alcohol.
How to prevent the cottony cochineal from returning
The worst part is that the cottony scale insects is that they can live for a long time in spaces and cracks without having a host plant. Then, when you think you’ve finished with them, they come out of hiding to bother.
If your plants suffer from recurring infestations, you must replace the earth . In addition to washing well with water and soap pots and trays.
After washing the pots you must disinfect them . You can use a cloth and alcohol for this job.
I hope these tips will help you.