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Eliminate the cottony mealybug: treatment and home remedies

Eliminate the cottony mealybug: treatment and home remedies

You may have seen small insects in your garden that are whitish in color and covered in a waxy or cotton-like coating. This is the so-called cottony mealybug, a very common pest that can cause damage to all kinds of gardens and plantations.

If you want to know how to eliminate the cottony mealybug and prevent it in your plants, keep reading us in this EcologíaVerde article, which we have prepared as a practical guide to combat this pest.

What is the cottony mealybug

scientific name Planococcus citrithe call cottony cochineal or cotonet It is an insect that can be found in a large number of plant species, especially citrus fruit trees and in ornamental plants such as oleanders, geraniums or ficus, among many others. If you have citrus, it is very likely that you will ever see this pest, apart from many others, and for this reason you may be interested in learning about citrus pests and diseases and their control.

This insect should not be confused with the ribbed cochineal, which also frequents citrus fruits and is native to Australia, although it is currently widespread in many areas. The main difference between the two species is that the adults of the grooved mealybug are almost always hermaphrodites and, therefore, can self-fertilize, spread more easily and, therefore, be more difficult to eliminate.

The females of the cottony mealybug are oval in shape and are covered with a kind of white or yellowish wax that they themselves secrete. They stick their beak into plants to feed on the sap sucking it up and eliminating excess sugar in the form of these excretions, which sometimes cause the bold fungus to appear and which in turn attract ants. The males, on the other hand, are much smaller and live for a very short time, because after fertilizing the female they die. They are flyers, but only travel by air first thing in the morning.

The detection of cottony mealybug it can be a bit tricky in the early stages of infestation, as it tends to settle in the less visible areas of the plants it attacks.

It is a pest that can cause great economic damage to plantations, since its secretions greatly devalue the affected fruits or plants. Furthermore, in the long term can cause the death of the plant due to the weakening caused by the depredation of its sap.

Eliminate the cottony mealybug: treatment and home remedies - What is the cottony mealybug

How to get rid of the cottony mealybug

If your plants show yellowing leaves or fruit and flower drop, they may be affected by the cottony mealybug. Look on the undersides of the leaves, i.e. below them, and in the most hidden areas of the plant, and if the pest is still present in small numbers, you can treat it manually with a bit of cotton or a cotton swab soaked in methyl alcoholalso called burning alcohol or wood alcohol.

If the plague is more advanced, it will be necessary to use a specific insecticide from a specialized store, or make your own natural insecticide against cottony mealybug.

Home remedies to eliminate the cottony mealybug

There are several mixtures and products that can be used to treat this plague, here we are going to list the most common:

  • Liquid soap and methylated spirits: You can prepare a mixture of liquid soap diluted in water and methylated spirits, in equal parts, to sprinkle the affected areas of our plants more comfortably.
  • Alcohol in irrigation: You can also mix alcohol with the irrigation water for your plants, but you must be very careful when doing so, since it can damage some plants. If in doubt, apply this remedy only to affected succulents.
  • Neem or Nim oil: add half a spoon of this essential oil to a bottle of water, along with a few drops of dish soap. You can spray it directly with a sprayer on your sick plants that suffer from this pest.

With any of these solutions, it is recommended to apply it weekly or every fifteen days, until the pest has completely disappeared.

As a last detail, the cottony mealybug has a natural predator very easy to get that can help you eliminate them without a single chemical product: The ladybugs. You can buy these beautiful insects in a specialized store, and introduce them into your garden. You will see that in a relatively short time you will have achieved fight the plague in an ecological way. Here you can learn more about how to combat pests in organic farming.

Eliminate the cottony mealybug: treatment and home remedies - How to eliminate the cottony mealybug

How to Prevent Cottony Mealybugs on Plants

Apart from introduce some of the predatory species of the cottony mealybug, there is not much you can do to prevent the appearance of this pest in your garden. However, it is a kind of insect that requires high levels of dryness and temperature, so regularly moistening the plant and the substrate (especially in pots and indoor plants) will help make its appearance less likely.

If you want to read more articles similar to Eliminate the cottony mealybug: treatment and home remedieswe recommend that you enter our Garden Care category.

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