Pests and Diseases


How are you doing at the moment ?? My plants all have a furry coat – and it is not pleasant !  If you squish these furry bits, they are red in the middle and very sticky.  I think it is a result of the very dry air and recent hot conditions. Perhaps now we have some rain it will help the plants to recover. Some people recommend using ethyl alcohol and a cotton bud on precious potted plants but this is a bit difficult on the full size specimens in the ground.  You can pick them off by hand or try using a high pressure hose but in the end, it is up to you – there are chemical controls as well.

Cochineal is the original source of the red food colouring and is farmed on Lanzarote in the Canary Isles using plantations of Opuntia maxima.

Do you have any favourite ways of dealing with this pesky problem ?  Please share your experinces and let us know there is hope.

Cochineal insect infestation

Cochineal insect infestation