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Question: how to eliminate cochineal?
Good morning I have a problem with my old and big rosemary, grown in pots, I noticed that it was attacked by the cochineal, I cut the infested branch but I would like to disinfect it since I use what kind of insecticide I can give? Waiting for a welcome reply, I greet you
Cochineal on rosemary: Answer: cochineal
traditionally, an insecticide called white oil is used against cochineal; it is a very refined mineral oil, practically it is the oil that you put in the engine of the machine (in broad lines), but very refined, so that it remains on the plant as little as possible, and that it is not phytotoxic, or that it is not harmful to the foliage. This type of insecticide is also used in organic farming, but only in spring, until March. In addition to this, white oil often has an effect only by contact, and not on insect eggs, and therefore it is often mixed with insecticides, all in early spring.
On the market there are also mineral oils that can be used for summer treatments, it is clearly indicated on the label; since you intend to use this product on a plant that you will use for cooking, carefully read the so-called deficiency time: the period within which the product remains active on the plant, and therefore during which the rosemary cannot be used. Depending on the product used, the waiting time generally ranges from one week to 15-20 days.
Instead of mineral oils, that is derived from petroleum, there are also other types of oils on the market, useful against cochineal, such as neem oil or resinous plant oil; these insecticides are decidedly much less toxic than mineral oil; but even in this case it would be good to use the product in a period that is not very hot, or until early spring.
Instead of using large quantities of chemicals on the rosemary, while containing the cochineal, you can prune it well, thus removing most of the insects, and then start to vaporize, in the evening a little water on the foliage, as the scale insects do not love humidity and strong sunshine. A sunny position, and some additional watering, in addition to the vaporizers, should decrease the number of insects. If you succeed, with a cotton pad soaked in alcohol, to remove most of the remaining insects, the infestation of scale insects could become more containable; clear that it depends on the size of your rosemary.