Succulents do not normally attract bugs, unless they are over-watered. The constant wet soil attracts bugs, and in a long run it may ruin the succulent, or the entire garden. The most common bugs succulents suffer from are mealy bugs, scales, aphids, spider mites, white flies, fungus gnats, and ants.
If you do not address the problem early and properly,it can cause death to your plants. Let me show you some simple remedies to eliminate bugs in your succulents, and make sure they stay safe from them for a foreseeable future. Let’s have a look at a remedy for all of the most common bugs that may bother your succulents, both indoors and outdoors.
Cotton swab may help you get rid of mealy bugs
Mealybugs are some of the most common pests on succulents. These creatures are tiny with gray or light brown color. You know that your succulents are infested if you notice a white cottony substance. Also, mealy bugs produce sugary substances that invite molds. When that happens, the plants become vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections, and the entire problem escalates.
Such a simple thing as a cotton swab will help you treat the mealybug issue. Dip the swab in rubbing alcohol and directly apply it to the affected area of the plant especially on the white cottony substance. This is the simplest and safest method to get rid of the bugs. The second thing you can do is to spray rubbing alcohol on the white cottony substance. This is better if you want a quick result. You can use pure alcohol or you can dilute it with water. Either way is safe for the plants.
Another idea is to use soap diluted in water and spray it onto the affected areas. However, it is important to remember that mealybugs do not retreat easily. It takes a few “spraying sessions” before you completely remove them from your plants. Having said that, I suggest that you repeat the treatment several times. During the treatment process, it is also important that you isolate the affected plants from the healthy ones to prevent the bugs spreading to other plants in your garden or house.
The best way of getting rid of scales is simply removing them from the plant
The second common insect that could damage succulents is scale. This insect comes in two types: the armored and soft ones. Either of these two can potentially bring problems to your succulent plants. The common signs of scale insects are small brown bumps on the succulents. Scale insects’ favorite is the sap of the succulents which will, in turn, cause the plants vulnerable to disease.
The first and the quickest way to get rid of scales is by removing them from the plant. You can do it by hand or scrape them from the affected areas. The next method you can use is applying alcohol to the affected area. You can use a cotton swab dip in rubbing alcohol and directly apply it to the bugs. Aside from using a cotton swab, you can also spray the bugs directly with pure alcohol or a mixture of alcohol and water. Like mealy bugs, scale insects do not leave the succulent plants easily. In some instances, you need to repeat the treatment process several times to achieve the desired results.
Neem oil is a great remedy against Aphids
The third type of insect that commonly infests succulents are aphids. These insects suck the leaves and even stems of the succulent plants.They secrete sugary substances making the affected succulent plants susceptible to mold. As you can see, aphids are dangerous to succulent plants and you need to treat them.
The quick remedy to is spraying the plants with a mixture of water and soap. Make sure to target the affected areas. Other strategies may involve neem oil. Many succulent growers use neem oil to treat aphids. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 8 cups of water. Spray the affected areas with the mixture and wait for a miracle. When using neem oil mixture, make sure that you spray the plants at night. Avoid doing it during the day, because it could burn the plant.
Plants heavily affected affected by spider mites must be repotted
These tiny intruders are so tiny that many people won’t even notice them. Succulents that are attacked by spider mites usually turn into almost white and silvery color. This is because these mites suck the sap from their leaves and stems. If you see these in your plants, make sure that you isolate the affected ones. Spider mites infestation can jump to other plants easily, so isolating the affected ones is really the first step you should take.
The quickest way to get rid of spider mites is by applying rubbing alcohol onto the mites and the affected areas. You can also use a dish soap diluted in water. Spray it directly onto the spider mites and affected areas. This should scare the mites. Repeat the process if necessary. Remember though that these strategies only work well in less severe cases of infestation. If plants are already heavily affected, repotting the plants is the best idea. In some instances, starting with a new plant is actually the only option. Consider the costs and everything. Getting rid of spider mites may be tricky, cost you lot of effort and money. Sometimes getting a new plant is the right choice…
Whiteflies do not like alcohol diluted in water
If you have leafy succulents, I am almost sure you’ve seen whiteflies at least once. It seems that leafy succulents are the favorite plants of whiteflies. The problem with these flies is that they produce honeydew which will make the affected plants susceptible to mold and other issues.
Luckily, rubbing alcohol diluted in water, or soapy water instead of alcohol, sprayed on affected areas will eventually help you get rid of whiteflies. In my experience though, you have to repeat the process at least five times, but of course this happens on many factors (most importantly the severeness of infestation).
Fungus gnats are almost always the result of over-watering
Fungus gnats are common in over-watered succulents. If the soil remains wet for a long period of time, it attracts fungus. Fungus gnats will stay in your plants as a result.
Because fungus gnats are caused by constant wet soil, the best remedy is to minimize the watering of the plant. Allow the soil to dry. The fungus does not like dry soil. In severe cases, change the soil of the succulent. Make sure that you use fast-draining soil (check my recommended soil on Amazon) next time you plant your succulents. Using the right soil and pot is 90% of success when it comes to issues of plant over-watering.
Ants do not kill the plants–they can live in harmony with them
Ants are not naturally harmful to succulent plants. But if your succulents are affected by the insects I mentioned before, especially aphids or whiteflies, there is a high chance that the sugary substances that insects produce will invite ants. And while a few ants do not not any harm, and army of ants will definitely cause some damage to succulent plants. And even if it does not, you no doubt do not want to have many ants in your home or garden…
Spray the ants with insecticidal soap. You can also spray the ants with a mixture of alcohol and water. Repeat the process until the ants are totally gone. However, keep in mind that ants do not come to any plant without a reason. If you want to get rid of them for good, you need to address the root cause (such as aphids).
Bugs are not a common problem in succulent plants. But there are times when succulents do attract bugs. This happens when the soil is constantly wet for a long period of time.
As discussed, there are many potential threats to succulent plants. However, the good news is that we know quick and simple remedies for most of them.I hope this post helped you to understand these remedies, and I wish you happy growing!
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