What is the cottony cushion scale? How can we prevent and fight it ? What are the most effective products against this pest?
What is cottony cochineal?
The cottony mealybug in plants is a light-colored oval-shaped insect, covered with a cottony silk that is protecting the eggs. It is one of the most common pests in the garden and usually attacks a wide variety of plants, whether tropical, climbers, shrubs and ornamental trees, fruit trees, conifers, citrus, palm trees, geraniums, ficus, aromatic herbs, and so on.
There is sexual dimorphism, which means that the male is different from the female, since he is winged and she is an apterus, that is, she has no wings. The male usually flies in search of the female, mates and she lays the eggs on the plant she is on. As far as is known, you can lay a cottony dough with up to 2000 eggs, as long as the conditions are as favorable as possible, that is, they are around 30º C.
How to detect cottony mealybug in plants?
Cochineal mainly attacks weakened plants , which have symptoms of stress. What they do is stick their sucking beak and suck the sap and juices of the plant to feed.
He does it in the fruits, the leaves, the trunks and the branches. Thus, what he achieves is that the leaves of the plant begin to yellow, the fruits fall prematurely and a molasses arises, which favors the appearance of the fungus of the bold, also called fumagina, which is shown as a powder black in color similar to soot on stems, leaves and various parts of the plant.
Another negative aspect of this pest is that it is somewhat difficult to detect and this is because it is installed in the less visible areas of the plants.
The cottony mealybug is not only harmful for its feeding system, but also because, as I said before, it generates the black fungus and it attracts ants.
To detect the cottony mealybug, examine your plants weekly, especially on the inner faces of the leaves to verify the existence of white cottony spots (white mealybug) or molasses.
How to prevent, eliminate and combat it?
There are several predators that you can acquire and incorporate into the plantation to fight cottony cochineal such as Criptolaemus montrouzieri and Anagyrus pseudococci.
You can also prevent the presence of this pest in indoor plants, avoiding excess environmental dryness by changing the location of the plant to a much cooler and lighter place, or, through the installation of humidifiers in the home.
If you detect the cottony cochineal early, you can remove it with a piece of cotton soaked in methyl alcohol or with a soft-bristle brush.
When the infestation level is high, it is advisable to use a specific insecticide or neem oil, repeating the applications every two days until they disappear completely.
Also, you must remove all the leaves that are attacked and put the pruned parts inside a very tightly closed plastic bag that you will have to expose to the sun so that the heat is responsible for killing them. Already if the plant is too infected, it is likely that it will not recover.
Decasa.tv teaches us to eliminate mealybugs with a home remedy . Look at the video:
It should be noted that there are those who use natural remedies to combat and eliminate cottony mealybugs such as vinegar, garlic and hot sauce in a proportion of 1-1-1, or half a liter of water, half a liter of alcohol and five cloves of garlic; It is liquefied, strained and passed to a spray container and the plants are sprayed weekly until the pest disappears.