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Black LADY BUGS ?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

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?

Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor
Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

Interesting bugs. Try putting your question and pictures on the bug files and see if you can get an answer. Luciee {;^)

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

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! =)

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Look up "Two Spot Ladybug".

That is a MASSIVE scale invasion on your cactus! No wonder the ladybugs are coming to such a feast!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks
Yes lots of scales and lots of lady bugs

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

Think of it this way; you're kind enough to be feeding "The Good Guys", so good for you! :) Gotta keep up the population of the good guys. :)

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

YES I agree

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

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.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

really?
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.
Thanks

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

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.

Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

trackinsand, thanks for that bit of info. Luciee {;^)

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Now ... this maybe a stupid question:
I don't use Pam in my cooking ... so could I use olive oil on the scales too?

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

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.

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