The mealy bug, or scale insect, is one of the most common (and annoying) parasites found on houseplants. For the mealybug, landing a plant is a real all-you-can-eat buffet! They’ll on the sap of leaves until the plant is dead. It’s important to treat a plant immediately once we spot a mealybug. Isolate the affected plant to prevent the mealybugs from spreading to other plants.
How to recognize scale insect?
The mealybug is cottony and oval in appearance and is usually hidden on the back of the leaves. As for cacti, they are generally found between the spines. The harmfulness of scale insects comes from their impressive reproductive capacity, a single female can lay a thousand eggs!
The scale insect can sometimes be difficult to recognize on the cactus, as many of them naturally form wool. If you are unsure, spray the cactus with water and vinegar. If the wool disappears, it means it is from mealybugs. If the wool stays, it means it's part of the cactus!
There are several ways to get rid of mealybugs. Here are two simple and easy ways:
The first and simplest, is to spray each mealybug with a mixture of water and vinegar. Vinegar can also be replaced with black soap.
The second is to soak a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and to tap it on the scale. This quick and simple method will burn the scale, without hurting the plant.
Whichever treatment you choose, it is recommended that you repeat the movement on all areas with scale insects for 5 days.
In spite of the treatment, it is possible that this parasite will resurface. When it is noticed, the plant must be treated immediately. However, if your plant is severely affected by scale insects, it is preferable to get rid of it or cut off the hard affected branches.