Common Knowledge About Succulent Pests

common knowledge about succulent pests

Succulents seem to be growing in popularity these days. They’re modern yet classy-looking and can be placed indoors and outdoors. But like regular plants, succulents are exposed to nasty bugs that urge them to hunker down into their soil and leaves. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can avoid, but you can take steps to eliminate and prevent them from recurring. This article will touch on that later, but first, we should understand the relationship between bugs and succulents.

Why Do Succulents Allure So Many Pesky Pests?

It’s typical for bugs to be obsessed with plants potentially. They’re soft and beautiful, and they make great hiding places. But succulents seem to attract more bugs than most regular plants do. This is because succulents contain nutrients that these pests love to consume. Not to mention they like the appearance of the succulents as well. It must feel homey to them! Whether your succulents are inside or outside, these pests will appear, and they are usually pretty tricky to get rid of. However, they must be removed and treated immediately to save your plant once you notice them. But what kinds of pests should you keep an eye out for?

pests attacking succulent
Photo by Pinterest

8 Found Popular Succulent Pests & A Brief Treatment

Depending on the type of pests you find inhabiting your succulents, there are a variety of possible ways that one could go through to get rid of them. This is necessary as each simple method may not work on the bigger or smaller infestation. Due to this, I have compiled and broken down a guide of the most common pests to be found on succulents and how owners can get rid of them at home!

#1. Scale Insects

Scale insects can be attracted to a succulent for many reasons – overwatering, stress to the plant, new surroundings, higher humidity levels, where the plant is located, etc. Luckily, scales don’t tend to cause much harm to succulents, but they sure are annoying. That said, spotting a scale insect on your succulent is usually straightforward; however, they are one of the more difficult pests to eliminate.


1. Insecticide Soap Products

Insecticide soap products paralyze the pests once they reach the area where it has been applied. This is one of the best ways to eliminate scales to avoid using those harmful chemicals. You must purchase an insecticide soap, pour a tablespoon of it into a spray bottle with cool water, shake it up, and spray the succulent.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol/Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a great (and recommended) solution for removing scale insects; however, it will take a little longer than insecticide soap. When using this method, add about 1/2 cup of the isopropyl alcohol to a spray bottle with the remainder filled with cool water. Shake up the mixture and spray it onto the succulent affected area. Once the scales are dead, you can use your hands or tweezers to remove them from the area.

3. Neem Oil

When it comes down to a more extensive infestation or peskier scales refusing to leave the premises, Neem Oil will be the next best option for getting rid of them. Neem Oil is much harsher on insects; however, it has organic ingredients, so it’s safe on succulents and will only harm unwanted pests. Using Neem Oil typically takes longer than the other alternative methods mentioned – it could take up to a week or so. When using this method, you should always dilute the Neem Oil with some cool water before applying it to the succulent.

Read more: How To Use Neem Oil On Succulents.

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#2. Mealy Bugs

Of all the nasty pests to infest succulents, mealybugs are the worst. This pest variation appears as a small piece of cotton before being exposed as a bug. Mealybugs consistently urge to hide in groups underneath the succulent leaves, making it difficult to find and eliminate them. They cause much damage by sucking on the leaves and roots, eventually causing decay from the weakening plant tissue.

Treatment: How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Succulents.

#3. Aphids

Aphids appear to be tiny green bugs. They are usually known to tag along to an infestation with ants (we’ll get to those guys later on), but that doesn’t mean they won’t show up solo at times. Like mealy bugs, aphids also like to suck on succulents for nutrients. They prefer the actual flower buds to the leaves.

Treatment: How To Deal With Aphids On Succulents.

#4. Fungus

Fungus is those black spots that appear, making it look like the succulent is rotting. In some cases, this fungus is a sign that the plant is rotting, whereas, at other times, it is just a warning that the succulent plant tissue is damaged or dead. The fungus and mealybugs are the most common pest to find on succulents. This pest can be caused by over-watering, bugs feeding on the leaves, and even a lack of proper succulent care.

Treatment: How To Treat Fungus On Succulents.

#5. Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are much more dangerous to a succulent than the others mentioned, as they can potentially kill the whole plant after damaging it. These pests aren’t so easy to find; however, the damage they can cause is noticeable. Signs of fungus gnat damage include soft, falling leaves, discolored leaves, stunted growth, and root rot.

Treatment: How To Get Rid Of Gnats On Succulents.

#6. Ants

Ants aren’t as harmful as most other pests are, but they can still cause damage if they aren’t taken care of quickly. These bugs usually are everywhere, especially outdoors, giving them a more accessible entrance to the succulent. However, ants love being around most other pests I’ve mentioned. Thus, if you have an ant infestation, other pests will likely occupy the succulent.

Treating ants: simple soap-based water should do the trick. Ants are relatively easy to get rid of but tend to be recurring. If ants keep reappearing, start using the spray every week. Surrounding the succulents with sticky ant traps is also recommended to get caught before they can even reach the succulent.

Treatment: How To Deal With Ants In Succulents (On The Plant Or Nest Under The Soil).

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

#7. Spider Mites

Unlike scale insects, spider mites tend to be more challenging to find when they’re on a succulent due to them being so small and loving to hide in the plant’s crevasses. Spider mites can damage succulents by essentially biting the plants and releasing a toxic, discolored spot in its place – these spots are usually seen as yellow or white. The only somewhat straightforward way to find these pests on a succulent is to keep an eye out for their left-behind webs, which they like to string around the succulents, stems, and leaves.

Getting Rid of Spider Mites

1. Prune the Succulent

This method is the most basic yet standard method to use. As mentioned, spider mites like to make their mark on the succulents they inhabit by biting into the stems and leaves and then leaving a literal mark of toxins. When such an occurrence happens, a few chemical-related solutions can be used to fix it; however, depending on how badly the area has been damaged, they may not even work. If that’s the case, pruning your succulents and simply cutting off the damaged areas is the best possible solution.

2. Insecticide Soaps

Once again, insecticide soaps rescue spider mites and those scale insects, and it’s by far one of the most efficient ways of removing these pests. The only difference is that adding a little dish soap into the spray bottle with cool water and insecticide soap for spider mites is often recommended. Then, spray the solution onto the leaves, stems, spider mites, and other potentially damaged areas.

3. Neem Oil

Using Neem Oil on those stubborn spider mites is guaranteed to work – and work further beyond! When applied to the affected area, Neem Oil helps kill unwanted pests while working within the plant’s barriers to stop new spider mites from spreading around. Not to mention it’s simple to use by adding the Neem Oil to a bottle of cold water, shaking it, and spraying it on the damaged spots.

Read more: Succulent Spider Mites Signs & How To Treat Spider Mites On Succulent.

#8. Whiteflies

mealybugs on a succulent
Mealybugs attacking succulent
Photo by Pinterest

Whiteflies are about 50/50 when it comes to finding them on your succulent. They like to hide at night, while they are more mobile during the day. It’s common for them to be found underneath (or somewhere near) the plants out of hiding leaves; however, lightly shaking the leaf will eventually make them come. As for damage done, whiteflies tend to gnaw on the leaves, causing them to fall off or become discolored – this can pause the plant’s overall growth process.

Getting Rid of Whiteflies

1. Remove by hand or rinse them off the succulent

This method may seem obvious, but it’s worth trying for a temporary fix. Remember that this solution will not stop the whiteflies from occupying your succulents again later on; however, it is an excellent place-holder fix if you don’t have any other solutions.

2. Using Homemade Solutions

It doesn’t get any safer and more organic than making insecticides from home – primarily when they work! With that being said, here are two easy, homemade ways to get rid of whiteflies:

One option is to use water mixed with vinegar. In a spray bottle, fill the bottle halfway with cold water and the other half with vinegar. Shake it up and spray it on the affected area. This can be done as often as needed.

The other option is to use warm water and liquid dish soap. Again, fill most of the bottle with warm water in a spray bottle. Mix 6-8 drops of your liquid dish soap and shake it thoroughly. Spray it on the damaged areas and, after a few days, respray it if you don’t notice a difference.

3. Use Natural Ingredients Such As Spices

Some owners may not know that almost any ingredient found in the kitchen, given its potent odor, can get rid of whiteflies. For instance, you can place fresh onions, parsley, cilantro, etc., in the surrounding area to eliminate them and potentially prevent more from inhabiting the plant.

Tips To Prevent Your Succulents From Becoming Bug-Infested

ladybug on a leaf
Photo by Pixabay
  1. Defending Your Succulents With Ladybugs: Natural treatments are always better. I think everyone can agree on that, right? But some don’t know that succulent treatments or prevention do not necessarily mean using substances. You can fight pests with nature! One of the best ways is to place ladybugs within your succulent. They are relatively easy to purchase and an affordable babysitter for your succulents! Ladybugs are known to feed off other pests trying to occupy their area. Even if you don’t have a pest infestation, starting a prevention system is never too early (or late). With placing ladybugs, give are the days to keep a close eye on your lovely succulents daily.
  2. Avoid excessively watering your succulents: Excessive watering can cause problems like root rots, lengthened leaves, … on your succulents. This will weaken your succulents and be an ideal environment for pests to thrive.
  3. Trim off any dead, damaged, or decaying parts.
  4. Consider using fertilizer for a stronger succulent.
  5. Never reuse soil.

Final Words

I hope this read has provided some helpful tips To keep your succulents happy and healthy. Now, you have many ideas on getting rid of pests properly, like a pro! This article didn’t mention many more potential pests, as are other ways to treat them. Remember to identify which ones are harmful and take charge of your succulent’s health by getting rid of them asap. Good luck!

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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Posted in Guides & Care Tips