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My Prickly Pear Cactus are loaded with black lady bugs.
It looks like they are eating the cactus scales ... which it good.
I call them "black lady bugs" because the larva and the bugs look like a lady bug.
Can anybody tell me what they are exactly?
good or bad?
Drthor, not sure if you've found an answer to your query yet, but those actually are a type of a 'lady bug' (there are lots of varieties), and they are the good guys. Among other things (like aphids), they also like to feed on scales. Apparently they like you! =)
i think it's wonderful that you have so many ladybug larvae on the plants but i think when spring comes and there are no signs of them present, i would use a light spray of oil to kill off any remaining scale. the infestation you have is, i believe, enough to kill even a hardy cactus. if the plant isn't too big, you can use a can of generic cooking spray (like pam).
believe me, i'm all for the good bugs and it will be interesting to see just how much damage they did to the scale.
I can use Pam on them?
I normally don't use anything on my plants. I think the reason of all of those scale is that the trees on top of them got too big and they shaded the plants.
I will try first to trim down the trees and see if the extra sun light will help.
I luv my lady bugs. I hope they will take care of the scales.
i've used pam or its generic counterpart for many years on scale. you don't want to spray in full summer sun or in winter but spring and fall okay. it smothers them the same as horticultural light oil.
that would be more like a heavy oil...and expensive, i would think. you can buy a cheap generic can of spray at any grocery store. oils specifically made for gardening come in the heavy and the light and you can only use the heavy oil in winter when the plant is dormant. i wouldn't think it would be good for cactus, no matter what the season..might even hurt or kill it.