How to Fight Cochineal: Insecticides and tips to eliminate it

Together with the well-known aphids, cochineal is one of the most common and harmful pests for our plants. Fighting cochineal and removing it from plants is not easy but today we will explain how to do it!

The lack of environmental humidity is one of the main causes of the appearance of this parasite, which is dedicated to absorbing nutrients from plants.

If you have had the misfortune of running into this plague or if you want to be prevented, we show you how to eliminate the cochineal from plants .

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Detect the cochineal in our plants

The cochineal is easy to eliminate if it is detected in time.

For this, it is important to check our plants periodically, paying special attention to the reverse side of the leaves , as this is where this pest is installed. Home remedies against cochineal

One of the ways to eliminate cochineal from our plants is to dip a cotton ball in alcohol and clean the affected areas of the plant with it.

It is important not to leave any mealybugs alive , as it could infect the plant again.

If the infected plant is too large, or if you have several infected plants, the best way to eliminate cochineal is to make a solution of burning alcohol, dishwashing soap and hot water.

Spray the plants with the solution once a week for a whole month to get rid of the plague.

Another homemade solution is to put half a dozen cigarettes in a bowl of water for an hour and a half and then water the affected plants with that water.

If the cochineal persists after trying these homemade solutions, you should get a specific phytosanitary solution for the elimination of the cochineal.

Types of mealybugs

Cochineals are of various types, but the best known varieties of cochineals are the following:

Cottony mealybug or Cotonet (Planococcus citri).

This type of mealybugs can attack a large number of plants, whether indoor or outdoor.
These are soft-bodied insects with a gray-white or pinkish color that can measure up to 4 mm in length and are usually found mostly in the armpits of the leaves and other hard-to-reach places, such as between several tangled stems.

They secrete a silky and shiny substance of white color (similar to cotton) under which they hide the eggs, which makes the attacked plants become sticky and prone to developing black or bold mold.

Do you know how to fight cottony mealybug ?

Cottony root mealybug

This type of mealybugs mainly attack potted plants, specifically, cacti, succulents, geraniums, ferns, African and fuchsia violets.

They measure up to 2 mm in length and are usually covered, together with the roots, under a white serous dust.

Soft mealybug

It is a flat and oval-shaped scale, yellowish brown and 3 to 4 mm in length, usually found on the underside of the leaves and very especially next to the main branches, where sometimes, it is concentrated in large quantities .

The plants that most frequent are the laurel, the lemon tree, the ivy, the fern and the Ficus, although it can also be found in a large number of indoor plants. The leaves of the attacked plant tend to cover themselves with the sticky substance secreted by the cochineal, which favors the appearance of bold.

Ribbed mealybug (Icerya purchasi).

This pest attacks a large number of indoor ornamental plants. In its adult stage, the scales are covered with a hemispherical and convex shell of dark brown color and up to 4 mm in diameter, with the H-shaped edge.

The nymphs, on the other hand, are flat, oval and yellowish brown. They are usually present on the underside of the leaves, as well as on the stems and also secrete molasses.

You can read more about  how to fight the ridged cochineal in this article.

Humidity cochineal (Armadillidium opacum).

These are insects of gray or pinkish brown color, with the body covered with a segmented shell, which by day are hidden in dark places, such as under pots, logs or stones, or the mounds formed on the surface of the substrate. They can cause damage to seedlings but not to rooted plants.

The aspect that it takes because of the type of behavior has generated various popular names  bug ball  or bug bug,  piglet of earth  or  marranitos .

Brown cochineal (Coccus hesperidium).

The stems of large number of ornamental and fruit berry bushes have brown scales, especially in those specimens that grow on a wall or in a sheltered place.

They also secrete molasses which makes them prone to getting black mold.

Conditions that favor the development of mealybugs

As we have already mentioned, excessive environmental dryness is one of the first reasons why mealybugs can reproduce.

Indoor plants are the most attacked and in general they are the ones that suffer most from these insects. Largely due to specific humidity conditions.

The presence of high heating is a very important factor. This helps to increase the environmental dryness, therefore, it should be ensured that the environment does not dry out and thus not favor the appearance of the cochineal pest.

One of the ways to increase the humidity in our home stays is to place containers full of water next to the heating radiators, thus generating water vapor to humidify our room.

Another less economical way to more effective is to install humidifiers in our home.

If we had a very terrible plague the best way to deal with it is with an initial detection soon, before the plague spreads over the entire plant.

Once the cochineal pest appears, it must act quickly and quickly eliminating all existing cochineals.

Only if there is only one mealybug in the plant, it will be able to reproduce again in the plant

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