Fighting mealybugs on cacti - how to get rid of the pests

Fighting mealybugs on cacti - how to get rid of the pests

Recognize symptoms and take immediate action - this is how it works

The infestation with mealybugs can be recognized by tiny, white cotton balls on the green epidermis. The pests hide underneath in order to remove the sap from the cacti. If you run your finger over it, a greasy coating is created, which is where the middle name mealybugs can be traced back to.

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Before initiating control measures, please quarantine the affected cactus immediately. Mealybugs multiply explosively, threatening to spread to neighboring plants.

Getting rid of mealybugs with home remedies - how to do it

The wealth of experience in the successful control of mealybugs with natural means makes it unnecessary in many cases to resort to chemical insecticides. We'll introduce you to the two best methods below:

Soft soap solution

  • Make a mix from 1 l of boiled water, 15 ml of soft soap, (59.99 € at Amazon *) 12 ml of alcohol
  • Spray every 2-3 days or apply with a brush


  • Soak cotton swabs with alcohol and dab the mealybugs
  • Wipe cacti without thorns with an alcohol-soaked cloth
  • Fill lemon balm spirit into a used perfume bottle and spray on

In a similar direction as the soft soap solution, ecological control agents based on neem oil aim. These are available from specialist retailers and can be used in living spaces without hesitation, as they do not contain any chemical components.

Do not end quarantine too early

The use of natural pesticides always requires a long line of patience. As a rule, all pests are only really free from mealybugs after repeated treatment. Therefore, please only clear a cactus if it has been proven to be lice-free for at least 2 weeks. Before doing this, carefully examine the plant with a magnifying glass, because the pests are masters of camouflage.


If you keep your cacti in the greenhouse and overwinter them, there is another option available to you for combating mealybugs. The Australian ladybird (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) likes to eat the lice. The beneficial insects are released and eat the pests in next to no time.