Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Horrible scale on prickly pear

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Name: pam
NW Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member
Nov 8, 2013 8:48 PM CST
Hi everyone. I just noticed yesterday that my big prickly pear cactus is covered in scale. It's really bad. The plant is big and growing in the ground. I was thinking that I would spray it with some horticultural oil I have. Don't remember the exact name and I'm not home now so I can't look at the bottle.
Just thought I would ask first for suggestions. I love this cactus and also make jelly from the fruits so I would hate to lose it.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Nov 8, 2013 9:55 PM CST
I'm not sure what type of scale you have,but my prickly pears in SoCal would get covered with what I thought at first was cochineal (sp?), but was advised that it was a different scale entirely and don't remember which it was called (white, powdery looking, rather like mealy bug)...however, a strong spray of water to wash them off was all that I found necessary to control it.
edited to add that mine were very large,sturdy cactus.
I could be wrong...
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
[Last edited by wcgypsy - Nov 8, 2013 9:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Mark Mallon
seattle wa
Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Southwest Gardening
Nov 8, 2013 11:38 PM CST
I have accedently sprayed my prickly pears with roundup and they diddnt blink so i dont think any oil or soap or whatever will harm them. I will spray mine with ortho and again it doesent seem to hurt the plants but to be fair i dont eat mine. I had good luck with releasing ladybugs and spraying the ants that were moving the aphids when they were eating my plants. When i got rid of the afids on the sedums the ants just started eating holes in the prickly pears!!
Name: pam
NW Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member
Nov 10, 2013 8:54 PM CST
Today I sprayed the plant with the horticultural oil I had and just removed the pads that were just completeley covered. I guess it is a hard scale because it would not come off with water I have to scrape it off and there is way to much to do that. So hopefully the scale will smother and die now.

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