Opuntia attack!

No, I didn't finally get around to cleaning the leaves out of the cactus bed -- it's the Opuntia that was being attacked, not doing the attacking! The attackers looked like this:

Kinda cute -- as many insect nymphs are -- but still...


They were on most of the Opuntia macrorhiza pads:

And in some places there were a LOT of them:


The damage they were doing was quite apparent too:

I first thought that these were the same insects that were attacking the Yucca last year, and had changed hosts...

...after I cut the sickly growth off. (What, you don't leave your prunings on the lawn for a week?)

The new yucca growth is already emerging by the way:

But I digress.

The opuntia bugs are clearly not the same as the yucca bugs, and I didn't notice them last year.

Anybody know what these are? (I haven't Googled yet, so maybe it's obvious?)

In any case I sprayed them with a mixture of soap, alcohol, and peroxide, and that seemed to do the trick -- got rid of 95% of them at least. Another spraying is needed.

Bad bugs!


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Mark and Gaz  – (June 22, 2017 at 6:25 AM)  

I've never heard of Opuntia pests before but I suppose they are bound to exist. I thought at first the opuntia got you with some glochids.

Lisa  – (June 22, 2017 at 7:21 AM)  

GLOCHIDS ARE MY NEMESIS! haha! I try SO HARD to avoid the opuntia bed, but invariably I'll find myself with six or ten in my hands. GAH!

Those are cute little bugs... but hungry! A quick Google search reveals that these may be Chelinidea vittiger, the cactus coreid or opuntia bug. Very specialized little critters, it seems!

Jim Gallagher –   – (June 22, 2017 at 9:23 AM)  

Is that mixture you used a homemade insecticidal soap and if so is it 1/3,1/3,1/3?

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 22, 2017 at 10:50 AM)  

I have NEVER seen bugs like that. Please let us know if you figure out what they are. They sure have disfigured your opuntia.

Alan  – (June 22, 2017 at 12:33 PM)  

Lisa: You found it: Chelinidea vittiger aequoris they are (Google "opuntia bug"). I saw an adult today, so definite on the ID. Thanks!

Jim: Approximately. I'd normally just use insecticidal soap (or any natural soap like Murphy's oil soap) but I know that alcohol is effective on some succulent pests (according to Gerhard) so I reached for this. It's actually a homemade daily shower cleaner spray that I was trying (not happy with in that capacity, but worked great here).

Alan  – (June 22, 2017 at 12:34 PM)  

BTW, I saw one of these that had bright red legs and antenna instead of black. Pretty cool! (It was the only one that looked like that.)

danger garden  – (June 22, 2017 at 9:25 PM)  

Opuntia bugs!? Yikes. Keep them away from my garden.

Hoover Boo  – (June 25, 2017 at 5:00 PM)  

Bugs on Opuntia? (besides cochineal scale). Huh. How about that?

"introduced to Australia to combat the invasive prickly pear cacti (proven ineffective)"

One I saw a bunch of nymphs on a rose, and squished most of them--then found out it was some sort of very aggressive predator to all sorts of bad bugs, and not vegetarian in the least. Now I try to check before squishing. Obviously though the damage on the pads meant they were the bad guys.

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