Pests on cacti

How to identify them, and how to deal with them

Cacti, like other indoor plants, are affected by a large set of pests - nematodes, worms, spider mites, aphids, sciarids (mosquitoes), scale insects, false scutes, wood lice, slugs and others. But the most dangerous for this plant are the first three of all named. Therefore, lovers of these beautiful plants need to carefully monitor their thorny pets, their condition. For the timely detection of pests, each grower should always have a magnifying glass or magnifying glass at hand. They will help you notice the symptoms of defeat in time. A plant inhabited by any pest should be immediately isolated from healthy specimens, otherwise the entire collection will soon be populated by the pest.

Nematodes belong to the most dangerous polyphagous pests of indoor plants, including cacti, with which it is extremely difficult for flower growers to fight. These are microscopic filamentous white or colorless worms (0.5-1.5 mm in size) armed with a long spear protruding from the mouth. With its help, they pierce the membranes of plant cells and suck out their contents. Nematodes cause serious morphological changes on cacti in the form of thickening on the roots (galls or cysts). Their appearance and active reproduction is favored by the increased moisture content of the soil substrate. Experts distinguish between halo and cyst nematodes that can harm cacti.

Root gall nematode, penetrating into the roots of a plant and sucking out juices, causes the formation of nodules (galls) by the action of its enzymatic system, by which one can guess about its presence in the soil. Damaged roots cease to absorb water and nutrients from the soil substrate, as a result of which diseased plants lag behind in growth and development, and if severely infested, they die. Over time, the roots die off and are destroyed along with the galls, as a result of which the eggs of the nematode fall into the ground, which serves as a source of further spread of the pest.

Developing in the root system, cyst nematode destroys the tissues of the epidermis. The body of the female is a cyst sac (about 1 mm in diameter) filled with eggs and larvae. The cysts are brown in color, similar in shape to small lemons, as if hanging from the outside of the root. The flower grower notices the unfavorable condition of the plant only when, as a result of significant damage to the root system, it begins to wither. Cysts of these nematodes are found on the roots and in the root zone.

Nematodes move independently for short distances or are carried by water. If the grower is not careful, they can spread over very long distances with damaged plants, through infected pots, tools, soil, even with the soles of shoes. Due to their biological characteristics, nematodes can reproduce very quickly. Under unfavorable conditions, they are able to pass into a dormant stage, staying in this state for months and even years, waiting for an opportune moment to appear again.

Control measures. All precautions must be strictly followed to prevent the spread of the nematode. The simplest but effective method is to disinfect containers for flowers and tools before use by scalding them with boiling water. Plastic pots of some designs, in order to avoid their deformation during such processing, are thoroughly disinfected with a solution of bleach, and then washed well with soap and water.

For successful pest control, different methods must be combined. For example, in the fight against rootworm nematode, severely damaged roots with galls are removed during transplantation. As a last resort, all roots are cut and the plant is placed in a new rooting medium. True, this operation does not completely insure against the secondary appearance of nematodes as a result of the reproduction of surviving individuals. To avoid their revival, you can resort to a rather laborious thermal disinfection of the root system.

This method is designed for high sensitivity of nematodes to temperatures of 43 ... 45 ° C: the roots painlessly tolerate immersion in a water bath (for 30 minutes), and the pest dies. The fight against the cactus nematode is quite long due to the presence of cysts in it. Therefore, some hobbyists sometimes resort to heat treatment at a more risky temperature. To do this, cacti in pots are first watered abundantly, pots with affected cacti are placed in a basin, water is poured at a temperature of about 40 ° C until the cactus is completely immersed, and then hot water is added, bringing its temperature to 50 ... 55 ° C. At this temperature, cacti are kept in it for 10-15 minutes (the temperature is measured at the bottom of the pelvis), and then the water is gradually cooled to 25 ° C. After processing, the cacti are placed in a shaded place, and after two weeks of rest, they can be exposed to the open sun.

Chervetsov (sometimes called "furry aphids") are also considered very dangerous and quite frequent "guests" in cactus collections. They suck nutritious juices from these plants. These insects (1 to 3 mm in size) are clearly distinguishable with the naked eye, having a white waxy coating on the body, under a magnifying glass they resemble a white wood louse. Wingless females are armed with proboscis, which they pierce the body of cacti. As a result, plants slow down their development, they become lethargic, and, as a rule, shed their buds. Experts distinguish between mealy and root bugs.

Body mealybug as if covered with a white waxy coating (it seems as if it was sprinkled with flour, which is why the insect got its name). The female forms white, cotton-like secretions as a protective shelter, where she lays eggs. Worms are mobile throughout their lives, they multiply rather quickly. Their sucking activity leads to the weakening and even death of severely affected specimens.

At an early stage (at the first appearance of the pest), it is rather difficult to detect a mealybug, since it prefers to settle on cacti with a cushion-shaped growth (mammillaria, Echinocereus, rebuts, etc.), usually in secluded, inaccessible places for observation. Of course, with a trained eye, you can fix a female when she settles on the tops of cacti (near growth points), on buds and fruits, in areoles (under the protection of thorns and hairs). Experienced cactus growers claim that these pests can also be found on the tops and at the base of the stem of other cactus species. If you do not take urgent measures, then the worms multiply quickly in a dense felt-like cocoon in those places where moisture does not get, and where it is not easy to find them; they form large colonies there.

At the first detection and with a weak infestation of the pest, it can still be removed with a hard brush or a strong stream of water. At the first stage of the fight, you can try to use an aqueous solution of tobacco extract (vegetable insecticide), which is carried out 3-4 sprays (with an interval of a week). After processing, the plants are additionally washed with warm water. If such a remedy does not help, they still resort to the use of chemicals to completely destroy the worms.

Their experts still advise using them for greater safety net in order to destroy the offspring of the worm formed in secluded places. For better adhesion of the insecticide, practitioners are advised to inject dishwashing detergent (4-5 ml / 10 l) into its solution. It is very important to thoroughly wet the damaged areas. Some amateurs consider it necessary to pre-spray insects with a solution of low concentration alcohol (1 part alcohol to 4 parts water) or denatured alcohol (to destroy their wax shell). But this option is not suitable for cacti with a waxy epidermis (although it is partially acceptable only in small damaged areas, mainly on green cacti, devoid of wax plaque). This solution is more suitable for spraying infected plants with dense leathery leaves (monstera, oleander, palms, etc.).

Root worm - no less dangerous pest of cacti, living on the roots and underground parts of the stem. It is often found on the root collar of plants that have not received enough moisture. Its activity becomes noticeable only when the damaged plant acquires a painful appearance, ceases to form new shoots, and often it soon dies. Often such a plant is easily infected with a fungal infection, which aggravates the condition of the cactus and accelerates its death. The root bug in appearance resembles a mealybug (due to a whitish, cottony discharge), but, unlike a mealybug, it prefers a dry soil substrate. The very low moisture content of the soil, which, however, is also characteristic of the successful (especially winter) keeping of cacti, contributes to the very rapid reproduction of the root worm. It can be easily identified by the white clusters of young larvae when rinsing the roots.

Control measures. It is much more difficult to deal with root worms, since it leads a soil existence, and in order to destroy it, the plant must be removed from the soil. According to experienced cactus growers, the most effective method for combating rootworms is the thermal method, in which the cactus roots are kept in hot (45 ° C) water for 30 minutes. As a chemical agent, it is possible to recommend impregnation of the soil substrate with a 0.15% solution of actellik (you can simply place the pot with the plant in a large container with the solution for 25-30 minutes), after which the excess liquid is drained. If necessary, the treatment is repeated several times (with an interval of 2 weeks). After any treatment, it is recommended to keep the plants for 2-3 days in partial shade. By the way, in spring and autumn, experienced cactus growers carry out preventive treatment of plants of their entire collection.

Just for detecting difficult to distinguish due to microscopic size (only 0.25 mm) and little mobile common spider mite and a magnifying glass will come in handy. It belongs to the group of herbivorous mites and feeds on the contents of the cells of cacti and many other plants, especially often inhabiting the upper parts and the youngest shoots. The sucked out plant cells are filled with air, while the processes of photosynthesis are disrupted, assimilation activity decreases. A characteristic symptom of damage to a plant by a spider mite is the appearance of brownish spots of plant tissue, which spread in small zones throughout the plant (with the help of a magnifying glass, it is noticeable that these tissues are dead). When there are many such "air" cells, at the first stage the leaf acquires a kind of silvery ("marbling").

The damaged tissue is no longer restored, and only the growth of healthy tissue can make the damaged areas invisible.For example, in spherical cacti, damage begins mainly from the crown. According to the observations of cactus breeders, more often than other cacti are damaged by the mite mammillaria, rebutia, lobivia, chamecereus, aporocactus. The skin of the plant already damaged by the tick will not recover, only after a considerable time has passed, the damaged fate is somewhat masked due to new growth and becomes less noticeable. In spider mites, unlike insects, the cephalothorax and abdomen are fused, there are no antennae and wings. Their adults have four pairs of legs, while the larvae have three.

Therefore, they are usually perceived as brown, red or glassy inactive dots. On deciduous plants, it is usually located on the underside of the leaf blade. Only with the help of a magnifying glass can one see in more detail the structure of their bodies. Damage by a spider mite is guessed by yellow specks and a delicate light (barely noticeable) spider web, with which it braids the damaged parts of plants. This pest, as a rule, settles in large colonies, and low soil moisture and high dryness of the surrounding air contribute to its reproduction. In such conditions, multiplying continuously, it is able to give up to 20 generations a year. It belongs to sucking pests, with the help of a piercing-sucking apparatus, the mite pierces the epidermis, sucks out the plant cell sap.

As a rule, the tick is carried in the summer by the wind from orchards and vegetable gardens where cucumbers, zucchini, beans, hops, fruit and flower crops grow, as well as from bouquets of cut flowers from greenhouses and greenhouses. It is believed that if trees do not shed their foliage for a long time in autumn, then it should be expected that next spring the spread and colonization of plants by the tick will be especially strong, and warm and dry May favors its summer reproduction. According to these signs, one can focus on active settlement and penetration of the pest on indoor plants, including cacti.

Control measures. Frequent finely dispersed spraying with water during dry hot periods inhibits mite colonization of plants. Special preparations are used against the tick - acaricides, while during the treatment all cracks and secluded places are sprayed, for example, with an aqueous solution of actellik ke (20 ml / 10 l) or fufanon ke (10 ml / 10 l). In order to prevent the appearance of mite forms in the offspring that are resistant to a certain drug, experts strongly recommend alternating them. These drugs act mainly on adults and larvae, but not on eggs, therefore it is recommended to carry out 2-3 treatments with an interval of several days in order to wait until the next generation of larvae hatches from the eggs. Also, the common spider mite should not be confused with the useful red mite, which is somewhat larger (1-2 mm) and more mobile. These predatory mites hunt for the spider mite, protecting plants from it. Therefore, it must be remembered that when spraying flower crops with acaricides, beneficial mites also die.

Alexander Lazarev, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Senior Researcher, All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Protection

Pests on cacti - garden and vegetable garden

To view the description of the insect, click on the photo or on the link.

Your garden and vegetable garden are under a constant, growing threat of ruin. And you don't pay any attention to it? Your enemies - pests must be destroyed. Pests in our gardens and vegetable gardens are a very serious problem that spoils our life during the harvest season, takes away the joy for our seasonal work.

Therefore, it is very important for a person who grows vegetables and fruits on their own land to know how to deal with parasites. The main habitat of all enemies of gardens and vegetable gardens is, of course, the soil. And therefore, it is in the soil that the overwhelming majority of pests winter. Although there are insects that spend the winter on the trunks of trees and shrubs, in various buildings. It is in the buildings that the larvae of all sawflies, beetles, pupae, ticks and weevils prefer to winter.

In the soil of the garden and garden at a depth of twenty or thirty centimeters, the Colorado potato beetle winters. Below it, at an even greater depth, an ordinary bear prepares itself for wintering. Flea beetles gather at a very shallow depth in the soil or under uncleared, fallen leaves. There comes a period in your garden between the harvested crop and the onset of a real winter, when the first snow falls and the first frosts bind the ground. This is the most favorable time to fight the enemies of your garden.It was at this time that most pests settle down for the winter, preparing their own moves and climbing into the soil to different depths.

And now is the time to apply some of the simplest and most effective methods of fighting and exterminating insects. The most effective method of combating parasites in the pre-winter time is digging the soil around the trunks of fruit trees, between the beds and on them. Such soil cultivation with a shovel allows you to extract most of the pests to the surface, where they simply freeze out or are destroyed by birds.

It is worth noting that if a large number of fruit trees grow on your land plot, then pests overwinter on their trunks and crowns. In the entire lower part of the tree, in cracks in the bark, in various crevices of wooden fences, caterpillars of the apple moth are arranged for the winter. On the trunks and thick branches between the wood and bark of trees, the larvae of the bark beetle overwinter in prepared tunnels.

The golden-tailed caterpillars braid the fallen leaves with dense, silky cobwebs and make nests for themselves, folding a few leaves. At the base of the buds of fruit trees, aphid eggs and copperheads are located in the stage. These pests prefer young trees and shoots. Many insects hide in various structures: caterpillars of the apple moth, cabbage pupae, flea beetles.

Whitewashing of their habitats and caring for insectivorous birds helps in the fight against pests. An additional number of feeders should be arranged. Such an activity will pay off during the harvest season.

What can be planted after tomatoes

After tomatoes, any plants of the following botanical species are grown.

Cruciferous: rapeseed, mustard, radish, all types of cabbage, turnips, radish, turnips, horseradish.

Umbrella: celery, cilantro, carrots, coriander, lovage, parsnips, parsley, dill, fennel.

Legumes: peas, soybeans, beans, chickpeas. In winter, to fertilize the soil, you can sow vetch, clover, alfalfa. Legumes loosen well and enrich the soil with nitrogen.

Onions: onions of any kind, garlic. Onions and garlic are recommended to be planted both after tomatoes and as predecessors.

Amaranth: beets, spinach.

Pumpkin: pumpkin, squash, zucchini, cucumbers.

Pumpkin (melon) and cabbage are demanding on the fertility of the surface layer of the soil. They are planted after fertilization.


This is an insect with a body length of no more than 2 mm. A characteristic feature is white wings and a yellowish body. They can be found:

  • On the back of the leaves, where they are located in colonies.
  • Following the characteristic sweetish traces, on which a sooty fungus appears after a while.

Whitefly larvae have sucking mouthparts, so they suck the juices out of the plant. As a result, the plant loses its vitality, gradually loses its attractiveness. If you do not take any measures, then the plant will soon die.

Interesting fact! Appearing in greenhouses, the whitefly prefers plants such as hibiscus, pelargonium or begonia. After the appearance of only one individual, after a short period of time, a whole colony of these insatiable pests appears in the greenhouse. In this regard, the fight should be started immediately.

These are also harmful insects that suck the juices from plants, thanks to the presence of a piercing-sucking mouth apparatus. Insects are distinguished by an ovoid body shape, no more than 2 mm long. Aphids have rather long legs, but at the same time they move rather slowly. The color of insects depends on the species, as well as on the living conditions, therefore it can be varied.

Distinguish, as winged species of insects, and wingless. Naturally, insects with wings can easily enter a person's home, even through an open window.

Pests on seedlings: how to save plants from an earth beetle

With the arrival of spring, groundwork begins in the gardens, seedlings are preliminarily prepared, and something is planted directly in the ground, each crop in its own time. Along with the vegetation, insects wake up in spring, and among them are garden pests.

If the outside of the culture can somehow be protected from pests: spray, sprinkle with ashes, collect by hand and many other ways to save the garden, then how to save the roots of the plant?

Regarding moles, some cats know how to catch them. There are also mole traps that are set right into the holes. Or another way: dig around the perimeter of your site, where the fence is, a deep and narrow ditch, filling it with gravel mixed with broken glass.

But besides the mole, there is such a dirty trick as an earthen beetle, popularly called a bear. Often found in areas near fresh water (where there are springs, small lakes, rivers, swamps). This small infection, although quite large for a beetle, can swim, fly (for a short distance, like jumping), crawl above and below the ground. Unfortunately, birds do not hunt them, the only thing is that lizards eat their larvae, but not the beetles themselves. How then to be?

One person came up with an interesting way - to plant seedlings in cut "jars". These same "cans" are made of even two-liter plastic bottles - the bottom and the top with the neck are carefully cut off, after which an even high ring-bank remains (about 20 cm high).

Such a "bank" is installed in prepared soft ground, that is, dug up and leveled. By itself, such a "bank" is soft. Therefore, the same person invented a device for installing a "can" - a manual one, which, as experience has shown, is not very convenient, but can be used for one or two beds, and a "pedal" one, which is much more convenient for a larger volume.

"Bank" should go into the ground by 10-15 cm, from above there should be a part about 5-8 cm high. Such resulting cups are also convenient for watering, and in a dry period, if covered with a little grass, they will help to retain moisture. The "jar" protects the main root from damage by the beetle, and even if the beetle gnaws at the tips of the secondary roots, the plant survives and produces a harvest.

The "bank" has other concomitant advantages:

- protection against late frosts, has the property of a mini-greenhouse

- protects against other insects such as ants, strigun beetle

- Convenient when handling diseases.

Unfortunately, such a "can" cannot save root crops, since they need a place underground, and the "can" limits the space.

You can plant strawberry bushes in the "jar", this helps in caring for the crop. This "jar" can be used for more than one season. For the winter, all the "banks" are removed, and in the spring everything is set up and planted again.

Since the "bank" has the property of a mini-greenhouse, the crop can be planted immediately with seeds, which greatly facilitates the work of the gardener.

From the point of view of ecology, this method of protection against pests uses a material that, in general, is already considered garbage and is widely discarded, and so has a useful application.

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