Here at cactus facts we believe in the health of your plants. One thing that might get in the way is pesky little critters or bugs. Today we will be reviewing the dangers of scale insects which Wikipedia states that they’re over 8000 species. Now the most common species that you’re likely to find on your cacti are the Diaspididae family and some people refer to these as “armored scale”. The name comes from its protective covering of scale like substance that these pesky critters hide under. You’ll notice the scale attachment is rather strong and when removed from the cactus they leave a mark behind from the insect that was sucking its juices. These bugs will hardly do any damage on their own but they multiply very quickly and in just a few days they could cover the surface of your cactus. When looking at your cactus plants you will see a fuzzy appearance that resembles frost. The most common place you’ll find these paths are in the areas that receive the least amount of sunlight. If the plant has really dense spination than you’re more likely to see it over a larger part of the cactus.
If nothing is done about the scale it will spread to your other cacti. Strangely enough they prefer only certain species. Some speculate that some of the species have skin that is too strong for the bugs to penetrate or the taste isn’t good. I suspect that the first guess is the more accurate one because scale will be found only on new tender growth and not elsewhere.
How To Treat Your Infected Cacti
The first step to treating an infected plant is to physically remove the scale off of the cactus. A set of tweezers will help but the most efficient method that I have found is using a spray nozzle on your hose. Use the setting that won’t damage your cacti but will remove the scale from its outer layer. It is a satisfying feeling to remove these nasty critters from your beautiful cacti. These critters spread into the cracks and crevices so make sure to wash thoroughly.
To keep your cactus plant from being reinfected by the vermin, you should treat your cacti with a good insecticide(systemic). This insecticide will be absorbed through the roots of the plant and move through its tissue so that the plant itself will kill the bugs with its poison. For insecticide like this to work your plan must be taking in plenty of nutrients and water at the same time. The best time to use a treatment like this is in the beginning of the growing season where you can keep an eye on your plant and remove the scale while waiting for the insecticide to work. We hope this has given some insight on fighting off pests, cactus facts.