Mealybugs are limpet-like insects that feed by sucking the sap from a wide range of plants, including houseplants, greenhouse plants and many fruits, in some cases affecting ornamental plants grown outdoors.
Insects can weaken plants , and some emit a sticky substance on the foliage, allowing black fungus to grow .
- 1 Know what mealybugs can do to your plants
- 2 Different controls to kill the cochineal
Learn what mealybugs can do to your plants
There is a wide variety of insect species that attack cultivated plants. These sap-sucking insect pests can stunt the growth of a wide range of plants . Many species emit a sticky, sugary substance, called honeydew, on the stems and leaves on which they feed.
Some species also produce more white, waxy ovules on stems and on the undersides of leaves. A wide range of ornamental plants , fruit trees and shrubs created out of plants can be seen attacked. Many species of insects affect houseplants or those grown in greenhouses or other protected places.
Among the symptoms that can indicate that there is an attack by these organisms, we can find scales or shells in the form of protuberances on the stems of the plants and on the underside of the leaves, these are the outer coverings of the mealybugs. Heavy infections can result in poor growth, which accumulates on the upper leaf surfaces. Under humid conditions this could be colonized by a non-parasitic black fungus known as sooty mold , where some insects lay their eggs under a covering of white fibers during the summer.
Different controls to kill the cochineal
Biological controls can be carried out in the summer in greenhouses with parasitic wasps , these attack two species of insects that affect plants, coccus hesperidum and Saisettua coffeae.
A chemical spray is most effective against newly hatched nymphs. With the organisms that affect the open air there is a new fertilization per year and most of the time the eggs appear at the end of June . Mealybugs in greenhouses or on houseplants reproduce throughout the year so that all stages of the life cycle can be present at the same time.
Mealybugs can remain attached to the plant long after they are dead but new growth should be free of insects once they are under control. Deciduous fruit trees and roses can be treated with a tree scrub through vegetable oils and on a dry, mild day in December in order to control overwintering nymphs .
Leafy ornamental plants can be sprayed with the insecticide called acetamiprid , where some of the sprays made from this spray can be used on some fruits, including apple, pear and peach.
Sprays based on natural substances and considered organic are full of fatty acids and vegetable oils . These have very little persistence so many applications may be needed during the mealybug incubation period, but they can be used on all fruit trees and shrubs .
All species of insects have a layer that covers their bodies when the eggs mature, but with mealybugs the eggs are deposited outside of this and just below a mass of white fibers. You should know that the adults are sedentary , but the newly hatched nymphs actively crawl over the plant surface and spread the infestation .
Mealybugs in the greenhouse can reproduce continuously throughout the year, but the species that infest outdoor plants mostly have one reproduction per year.