Do Cochineals Infest Your Lemon?
To remove the cochineals from the lemon, let’s see below what are the natural remedies and treatments available to eradicate these infestations from our plants.
What Are Cochineals?
Cochineals are a very large family of phytophagous insects (parasites) harmful to our garden and indoor plants.
The general characteristic that distinguishes the insects belonging to this family is the marked difference between the two sexes of the same species (sexual dimorphism).
These insects, very small in size, feed on the sap of plants and infest mainly plants that live in places with little humidity and little ventilation.
The infestation of cochineal if not treated promptly can also lead to the death of our plants.
How To Understand If Cochineal Has Infested Our Lemon Plant
Although cochineal is a very small insect and therefore difficult to see with the naked eye, without a magnifying glass, when it infests a lemon plant it leaves marks that are easily ascribable to cochineals.
What are the most obvious symptoms:
- yellow spots on the leaves that can wither and dry up completely;
- the presence of ants attracted by the waste substance produced by cochineals (honeydew is a sugary secretion emitted by most insects that feed on the sap of plants).
However, these insects do not only attack the leaves of the plant but also branches and fruits and especially the secretion they produce can lead to further diseases including soot.
Cochineals are insects that adapt very well to climate change, but proliferate especially during periods of heat and drought.
To prevent an infestation of cochineals, sometimes it is sufficient to water the plant frequently, especially during the hottest periods, as we have said that these insects prefer dry and warm places.
How To Remove Cochineal From Lemon: Natural Remedies
There are several natural remedies for removing cochineal from our plant, although these insects are very leathery and some species very resistant, such as the cotton cochineal.
When the infestation is not at an advanced stage, an energetic spray of water on our plant may be enough to eliminate the insects from the leaves.
If we have been able to eliminate the insects with simple water, we must proceed later to cut the most damaged leaves.
Another method that can be used is the use of alcohol diluted in water to then spray it on the plant a couple of times every 2-3 days.
Garlic can protect the plants in your garden from attack by numerous pests.
We can prepare a liquid that we will spray on the leaves attached by the cochineal using chopped garlic and water.
Linseed oil is another biological remedy to eliminate cochineal, obtained by cold pressing of flaxseed, diluting it in water and spraying it on the leaves attacked by cochineal.
One of the most used and effective natural remedies for removing cochineal from lemons is certainly Marseille Soap. Marseille soap, obviously diluted in water, is a natural and effective method against cochineal infestations as it no longer allows the parasite to breathe.
How To Remove Cochineal From The Lemon: Chemical Remedies
Among the preventive chemical remedies there is the verdigris, but when the infestation is at an advanced stage or when you have to deal with the cochineal cotton that is among the most resistant of this family, you can use white mineral oil.
The white mineral oil is a type of insecticide that causes the death of the cochineal by suffocation and therefore must be sprayed vigorously on the entire plant.
There are many pharmaceutical companies on the market that produce this oil, but it is better to rely on a professional in the field and get advice on the right product.
With regard to the methods and the specific dosage read carefully the instructions on the label on the product purchased.