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(clients located in the Phoenix Metro area) wanting to schedule consultations and service appointments.
The Cactus Doctor is often out in the field making house calls, taking care of sick cactus, straightening saguaros, performing saguaro surgeries and removing the white sticky stuff (cochineal eradication) on prickly pear cactus that he regrettably is unable to answer your email questions at this time. Please refer to the information located throughout this website for answers to your questions.
Cochineal Eradication Mealybug Scale
When you see that your prickly pear and cholla cactus have white sticky mounds covering them, it means you have a cochineal (mealybug) problem. This is not a disease, it is actually an insect infestation. The white sticky mounds are the housing for cochineal bugs (also known as mealy bugs) . When these white sticky spots first start to appear it is best to spray them off the cactus pads with a power nozzle attached at the end of your hose. If the infestation begins to get out of control, I suggest treating the areas by scrubbing them with insecticidal soap or unscented dish soap. In small areas you can scrub with a tooth brush but for larger areas it is best to use a long handled brush. Or you can just spray all of the surfaces of the prickly pear pads thoroughly using a power nozzle attached to your hose and then thoroughly spray with a solution of spectraside and insecticidal soap. Do not rinse after applying the spectraside and insecticidal soap.
During the winter months the most effective method of cochineal eradication (getting rid of the white sticky spots on your cactus) is to spray them with Neem Oil spray which can be purchased online. Follow the Neem Oil manufacture's directions. I prefer this method of eradication because no scrubbing is required in order to kill the cochineal insects.
If you prefer an organic treatment, power wash your prickly pear pads using a power nozzle attached to your hose and then use an organic natural soap and neem oil solution to spray, then scrape with a brush and spray again with the solution and do not rinse. This will remove the cochineal scale and mealybugs organically.
If you would like to view our educational video on cochineal scale removal click
Below you will see examples of cochineal eradication on prickly pear cacti.
Click on the small image to see the larger photo.
Keeping Your Cactus Alive & Healthy Is Our Passion!