Gardening

Cochineal

Cochineal


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Generalitа


It is a widespread parasite, especially in the hot and dry areas and seasons; it particularly proliferates during the summer, and above all among the plants of the greenhouse, where the air recirculation is scarce and the environment remains excessively dry. In fact among the most affected plants we remember the succulents, and above all the cactaceae.
Once upon a time a precious red food coloring was obtained from this insect; to "breed" the scale insects were used plantations of opuntia, one of the plants that are most easily affected by this parasite.

Cochineal: Remove cochineal


Surely the watchword is prevention: let's avoid leaving our plants in a dry climate and without air exchange too long; a well watered and well exposed plant is hardly hit massively by the cochineal.
Against this parasite it is possible to use mineral oil, which is vaporized on the foliage of the affected plants, covering them with a patina that prevents the insects from breathing, killing them; however, this oil is badly tolerated by flowers and buds already swollen, so it is used in the garden for treatments at the end of winter, more rarely it is used with high temperatures.
Nature also helps us, since some ladybugs are cochineal greedy, so the liberation of many ladybugs in the garden can help us to control the cochineal population.
If our small houseplant is affected by the cochineal, we can also simply arm ourselves with patience and a cotton bud soaked in alcohol, and manually remove all the specimens on the plant: we particularly insist on the underside of the leaves, where it is easier to scale insects nest.



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