Cactus is a succulent plant found in deserts. However, due to their exotic appearance and minimal maintenance requirements, the cactus has become a popular house plant. While cactus is generally green in color, you may sometimes spot white fuzz-like spots or webs on your cactus. The primary cause of this white formation is most likely Mealybugs.
Why Is My Cactus Fuzzy?
The cactus is fuzzy due to the presence of Mealybugs. Mealybugs are tiny white bugs that infest the cactus and damage it by sucking on the sap of the plant. While they pose no risk to homes, they can cause severe damaging effects to the cactus such as-
- The stunted or slow growth of the cactus.
- Severe weakening in the plant.
- Deformations in the leaves and stems.
- Yellowing of the leaves and spines.
The best way to ensure that it is a mealybug infestation is to carefully scrape out a small amount of the white material and squish it between your fingers. If the result is a bright, red mush, you can be sure that it is a mealybug infestation. While mealybugs are slow workers, these tiny bugs can cause extensive damage if left unchecked.
So, some of the solutions to curb the menace of mealybugs are-
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Homemade Insecticide
If you spot a mealybug infestation, immediately isolate the affected plant. Mealybugs tend to be harmful to all kinds of plants. Hence, quarantine helps ensure that the bugs don’t spread to other plants and to contain the spread.
Mealybugs have a relatively short lifecycle of 10 weeks but tend to multiply very quickly. To contain the spread, keep the affected plant isolated until the pests have been removed completely.
2. Rubbing Alcohol
The simplest way to get rid of mealybugs is to dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and individually apply it on the bugs. Though very effective, it is also very time-consuming. Hence, you can also choose to spray rubbing alcohol directly on the plant. However, the solution must be diluted to ensure that no harm is caused to the plant.
3. Homemade Insecticide
Commercial chemical insecticides are not very effective to rid the cactus of the plant. Thus, the alternative is to make a homemade remedy. It can be done by adding mild daily soap and water to make an effective solution.
You can also add oils such as neem to the solution to deter the bugs from returning. Spray the diluted solution on the plant to ensure the immediate removal of pests. Once the pests are completely gone, wash the cactus with fresh, cold water and return it to a clean, bug-free environment.
If the infestation is outdoors, you can unleash some mealybug destroyer ladybugs to curb the menace of the pests. Release these bugs at dusk between spring and fall after spraying the cactus pads with water.
Since ladybugs need water after their confinement, they would remain on the cactus to prey on the mealybugs. However, if the infestation is very grave, the procedure must be repeated a few times to completely remove the bugs.
Thus, these are the solutions to help you remove mealybugs from your cactus and to save your cactus from turning fuzzy.