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Metcalfa, how to eliminate it: remedies to remove metcalfa from the olive tree, vine or citrus fruit. From natural insecticides to do-it-yourself remedies to eliminate pruinose metcalfa.
Those unfamiliar with metcalfa describe it as a small winged gray, gray in color. It is actually a rincote homopter, belongs to the Flatidea family and feeds onplant sap: that's why it is so common in our garden, on olive or lemon trees.
Its body reaches a length ranging from 5.5 to 8 mm and, at the widest point, reaches 3 mm. In the first phase of development themetcalfethey are whitish but the color can vary in adults to becomebrown-gray.
Metcalfa and honey
Theremetcalfa, with its digestive system, is unable to process the sugary portion contained in the vegetable sap, for this reason it retains only the protein component while expelling the sugary part in the form ofhoneydew. Honeydew is one of the many typical symptoms of an ongoing infestation, it is produced by many phytomitic insects (which feed on plant sap) and, in particular, thehoneydewof themetcalfaattracts bees who then turn it intohoney.
If for many horticulturists themetcalfait can be considered an unwelcome guest, for beekeepers it is a highly appreciated insect: this particular honey, obtained from the metcalfa honeydew, is the only one that does not take the name of the plant species of derivation!
Therehoneydewproduced bymetcalfait can be a precious resource for bees and beekeepers but it is not at all for those who want to grow citrus fruits, olives or vines. Not only that, this insect attacks various crops and even garden plants are not immune to it.
In particular, thehoneydewproduced bymetcalfaattracts many fungal species, other hymenoptera insects, fumaggine and other parasites, activating a series of chain infestations.
Theremetcalfa pruinosait is not a local insect: it is of American origin and arrived in Italy, in the Veneto region, in 1980. Starting from the north of Italy it has invaded the whole of Italy.
Metcalfa, affected plants
As stated, it is a not very selective insect: it can attack over 200 species of plants, both arboreal and herbaceous. Betweenplantsmost affected by themetcalfathe most consistent damages are those on the vine, on citrus fruits (in particular orange and lemon), on pome fruit (apple, pear, rowan ...) and stone fruit (peach, apricot, cherry ...).
Theremetcalfadoes not even disdainornamental plants, so, in the garden, we can find it among the hedges or among other flowering herbaceous plants.
Among the ornamental plants that it can attack in the garden we remember the willow, the elm, the privet, the elder, the hawthorn and the maple. Among the small herbaceous fruit it also attacks blackberries and raspberries.
Theremetcalfais responsible for bothdamageindirect (with the production of honeydew, it favors the development of fumaggine and other fungal diseases) and direct damage: it feeds on the lymph of the plants, damaging the phloem vessels of the same. When the infestation is high, themetcalfait is responsible for a lack of nourishment of the plant: by removing the sap, the plant becomes atrophic, slows down its growth and no longer produces buds.
Metcalfa, how to eliminate it
How do you get rid of metcalfe?If you are thinking about using ainsecticide for metcalfa, better give up. This insect is characterized by high mobility. The use of a insecticide for metcalfa it can only be useful if you want to protect two or three plants on the balcony, in the vegetable garden, in the garden or in the open field, it becomes really impossible to manage an attack with insecticides. Insecticides not only harm the environment but are ineffective because these insects are covered with a waxy film and move easily from one plant to another.
Biological control would seem to be a good solution foreliminate the pruinose metcalfa. As stated, it is an insect that comes from the United States, which is why there are no natural predators in Europe. Biological control can be done with a driindide hymenopteraNeodryinus typhlocybae.
TheNeodryinus typhlocybaeis of American origin, it was introduced in Italy artificially, precisely in order to contain the infestations ofmetcalfa.
Those who live in the open countryside can count on a natural ally: the great tit. This small passerine bird feeds onmetcalfewhen they are in the first initial stage of development and their bodies are still whitish.
Among othersremediesforeliminate metcalfaand mitigate the damage, there are those aimed at containing thefumaggineand to prevent the development of other infestations. For this purpose, preventive treatments with Bordeaux mixture (especially useful for vines, olives and other plants) may be useful. For more information, please refer to the “Do-it-yourself Bordeaux mixture” page. It is a copper sulphate-based remedy.
If you neednatural remediesto contain slight infestations of metcalfa, you can limit yourself to eliminating the honeydew, sprinkling on the affected plant a solution given by 5 liters of water and 10 ml of Marseille soap or dishwashing detergent.
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