WHITE WEB ON CACTUS

ALDABRAMAN

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Anyone know what causes this white web substance on cactus? I generally take the hose and wash it all off, sometimes there is a purple die colored substance inside!

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mike taylor

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I have no idea . My cactus does the same thing . I wash it off then wammo it's back .
 

ALDABRAMAN

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I have always thought they were created by spiders, however i have seen a few of these colorful worms on the cactus lately!

IMG_6006.jpg IMG_6003.JPG
 

mike taylor

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I haven't seen any bugs on my cactus . But I bet Yvonne or Tom will know .
 

ALDABRAMAN

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What ever it is does not seem to eat or damage the cactus at all!

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zenoandthetortoise

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It's a scale insect called colloquially Cochineal.
Or more specifically, Dactylopius coccus, Costa, 1835. It was historically commercial source of dye, hence the purple. Currently, Starbucks is getting complaints from vegans that frappacinos are colored with ground up insects.
The larvae pictures are unrelated.
 

Tom

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What do you mean "spit"? The insects make a little fuzzy case around themselves for protection. The insects hidden under the white fuzzy stuff are parasitizing your cactus. I'm fighting them here too. Do your best to wipe them off every few days or more often. I smash them at every opportunity and rinse the purple stuff away.

I have not found a way to kill them that works for cactus that I intend to feed out. I encircled the bases of uninfected cactus stands with cedar shavings and that seems to be holding them off, but I can't seem to kill them fast enough by hand on the infected stands.
 

zenoandthetortoise

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* Does the spit kill the cactus or the insect itself?

The insects are true bugs so have a beak like mouth to piece the plant tissue and feed on the juices. Generally they kill plants by depletion if the feeding is severe, alternatively they can also spread virus.

Scale insect can be controlled by insecticidal soap. This is an example:

ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1407700801.594197.jpg

I have made my own with Dawn dishwashing soap, but it's really easy to mix it too strong and scorch your plants
 

Kirin

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I fight all bugs with a spray bottle with dawn dish soap and water. the soap will break down the skeletor system and kill the bugs. put about 2 teaspoon in the water and shake it up. it work great.
 

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