Lemon cochineal: management and biological control

Lemon cochineal: useful information to effectively eliminate the lemon cochineal and prevent its appearance. Remedies and advice on which anti-cochineal product to use for DIY gardening without pests!

Lemon cochineal, it is certainly not the combination that I would wish for your garden! There cochineal is a fearsome pest that feeds onplant sap. Among the plants most affected, there is no shortage of citrus fruits such aslemon.

In reality, speaking of "cochineal" is wrong, there are several species ofmealybugswhich can infest thelemon. The feature that unites allmealybugsis the presence of a protective coating.

Adult females of cochinealhave an external protection formed bysecretions of various kinds(wax, lacquer or silk), as in cottony cochinealor thecomma cochineal.

Therecochinealis a phytophagous parasite which, to satisfy its needs,sucks from plantswhich infests a great deal oflymph(vegetable juices) and disposes of the excess sugars present in it through the production ofhoneydew. This is why the infestations of lemon cochinealthey may be accompanied by the appearance of other chasesglyciphages(like some dipters, hymenoptera) and sporophyte fungi like the classical one fumaggine.

Lemon cochineal: symptoms

In case of infestation, the adult cochineal specimens are visible adhering to the leaf plate, due to the production of the honeydew, the cochineals can attract other parasites. Depending on the extent of the infestation, the plant could undergo rapid deterioration.

Therelemon cochineal, it can attackleaves and fruitspreventing the regularparts coloringwhere the parasitic insect attacked itself. The cottony cochineal and the comma cochineal are the species that most frequently infest the plants of lemon.

In general, the cochineal turns 4 generations a year and overwinters at any stage of development. Reproduction culminates with oviposition which occurs several times during the year. The period in which the lemon cochinealdoes the most damage is between mid-April to June when temperatures rise.

How to get rid of lemon cochineal

How to get rid of cochineal? With the right treatment and lots of prevention. The "strong point" of cochinealare its protective secretions! As I explained earlier, thefemale cochinealproduces substances that cover the body and that shield any insecticides. Here, now you know that the classic pesticide treatments with thelemon cochinealdo not work!

If your lemon plant has already been attacked by cochineal in the past, preventative treatments may be recommended at the time of hatching. It is at this stage that the weed is most vulnerable to insecticides, including natural contact insecticides such as pyrethrum or other systemic pesticides. When to do preventive anti-cochineal treatments? The hatching period falls:

  • Between late February and early March
  • From mid-April to mid-May
  • From the end of June to August
  • Between late October and early December

By carrying out preventive treatments there should be no problems, in case of modest infestation, it is possible to remove the few parasites by removing the attached leaves.

Lemon cochineal: fight with an anti-cochineal

In case of major infestation, it is good to take appropriate countermeasures. A good system foreliminate cochineal consists in the use ofmineral white oil which causes the death of scale insects by suffocation.

White oil or mineral oil is a product allowed in organic farming but this does not mean that you need to exaggerate with doses and administrations: for treatment, always follow what is written on the product purchase package.

Where to buy white oil? Mineral oil is easy to find on the market, you can buy it by taking advantage of the online purchase or by going to garden centers, agricultural consortia, nurseries, agrotechnical items shops ... There is not just one ... On the market you can find mineral oil proposed by different case, these are generally equivalent products, so choose the cheapest one.

It is marketed by Bayer, Zapi, Kollant, Cifo, Ufo ... among the various products on the market, I would like to point out the white mineral oil Cifo: a 500 ml pack, on Amazon, can be bought at a price of 13.90 euros with shipping costs included in the price. For all product information, I invite you to visit the official Amazon page: Cifo Oleosan Plus.