Plant diseases

How to eliminate the mealybug from the olive tree?

The olive wood scale is one of those pests that, although they are not fatal (unless the plant is very young and/ or already has other problems), they are debilitating. But fortunately, it is very easy to identify, because it is difficult to forget an oval-shaped protrusion of such a dark color that it appears on branches, and sometimes leaves.

But of course, it will be useless to know how to recognize it if we do not know how to eliminate it. Although that is why you do not have to worry, because next I am going to tell you the existing remedies that exist to end this plague.

What is it?

Image – Wikimedia/ Toby Hudson

The insect we are going to talk about is a cocid whose scientific name is Saissetia oleae, which is believed to be native to South Africa but has been on the Mediterranean coast and in California for a long time (centuries). It can also be found in colder areas, but inside greenhouses.

There are female specimens that, once adults, have a convex shape, are blackish in color and measure between 2 and 6mm in length. It is rare that there are males, since the species reproduces by parthenogenesis; that is, by the development of female sex cells that have not been fertilized.

Its biological cycle is as follows:

  • Eggs: you can lay from 150 to 2500, usually on the underside of the leaves.
  • Larvae: once they leave the egg, they feed on the sap, keeping themselves protected from direct sun.
  • Nymphs: as they mature, they migrate towards the tender branches.
  • Adults: they stay in the branches, where they will give way to a new generation through parthenogenesis.

What favors its development?

The olive wood scale can have one to two generations per year, depending on the climate, the species and the conditions in which the host plants are found.

But also, it must be taken into account that it loves mild winters and summers, excess nitrogen fertilizers and the fact of having many specimens planted together and/ or without pruning, which makes it difficult for air to circulate and light to enter. the cup.

What are the damages it produces?


  • Defoliation (premature leaf drop)
  • Lower fruit production
  • Appearance of other diseases, such as the olive fly and sooty mold
  • In very young and/ or weakened specimens, death

How to combat it?

Home remedies and practices and/ or ecological

  • Use organic fertilizers, such as compost, mulch, eggshells, etc.
  • Keep the canopy of the trees somewhat open, so that the sunlight can enter inside, preventing the olive wood scale from proliferating.
  • Treat with ecological insecticides, such as diatomaceous earth (the dose is 35g per 5l of water).
    Another option, if you have a tree of a certain size, is to water it from above and sprinkle this earth (it is actually a white powder. You have more information here ) on top. You may notice that it takes 1-2 days to work, but from experience I can tell you that it is one of the best natural products I have tried to fight pests. You get it here.

Chemical remedies

If you prefer, you can use an anti-mealybug insecticide that is sold in any nursery or garden store.

I hope it has been useful to you.

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