Succulent Scale Insects & How To Deal With Them

Scale Insects And How To Deal With Them

Taking good care of your succulents is not an easy task. It requires patience, effort, and time. Although naturally, succulents are easy-to-grow plants, there are still pests and diseases that every plant might encounter. This article will discuss a specific pest that might endanger your succulent. Continue reading this article, and learn more about succulent scale insects and how to deal with them.

What Are Succulent Scale Insects?

Physically, scale insects look like oyster mushrooms. These parasites eat the sap of your succulents by attaching themselves to the stems of your plants. Generally, succulent scale insects cut off nutrients from your succulents and can eventually cause damage and kill off your plants.

Succulent scale insects secrete a fluid called hemolymph. This contains water and high levels of sugar. It is the reason why succulent scale insects are a little sticky. All types of succulent scales commonly have the same cycles and effects on a plant.

What Do Succulent Scale Insects Look Like?

These pests usually look like black spots or bumps and can cover the entire leaf. However, in some instances, scales might appear underneath the soil and feed on your plant’s roots. Among the common symptoms to know if there are succulent scale insects underneath your soil is when you start to see browning or patches around the base of your succulent.

Eliminate Scales on Succulents

What Causes Succulent Scale Insects?

Common factors that might cause succulent scale insects are poor air condition, high humidity levels, stress, overcrowding, or overwatering. As we know, taking good care of our succulents revolves around these factors.

Usually, succulent scale insects appear underneath the soil if it is overwatered. Aside from root rot, overwatering caused inappropriate and wet potting mix conditions that are a prone breeding space for scales.

Since succulent scale insects can also appear even after moving your succulents, it is imperative always to check your plant’s soil, base and stems. Starting treatment immediately is also advisable to avoid the spread of succulent scale insects.

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How Can Damage Your Plant Get From Succulent Scale Insects?

The first sign of damage is the yellowing of your succulent’s foliage. This is because the scales drain nutrients from stems and leaves. Sadly, this initial sign might kill your succulent when unattended and in severe cases.

Another damage to your plant is that it will have difficulty photosynthesizing. It is because succulent scale insects leave a sticky residue on the coats of the foliage. Therefore, it takes away some nutrients from your plant. Gradually, your plant’s moisture will decrease, wilt, and might be died.

We can conclude that regardless of whether your succulent is just newly infected by scales, having been infected already put your plant in danger. It would help if you treated it to avoid any further damage. Most succulents do not survive this situation but have patience and guidance so that your plant can still heal from this.

How To Heal A Plant Infected By Succulent Scale Insects?

There are varieties of ways to get rid of this pest and heal your succulents. We listed both artificial and natural ways to do it on your own:

  • Use natural predators – Don’t be surprised, but putting ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewing larvae on your succulent is recommended to avoid scales. Naturally, these predators are safer for your succulents compared to scales. Isn’t it interesting to know that other pests might save your plant for the better? Lacewing larvae eat scales. Parasitic wasps lay their white eggs on scales so that the larvae can eat their bodies.
  • Use insecticidal soap – Insecticidal soaps usually contain potassium salts and water. This helps the soap dissolve fats and oils in the scales easily. This method causes paralysis on the succulent scale insects within minutes. You must also read the soap’s packaging instructions before using it.
  • Use neem oil – Prepare a spray bottle and neem oil for this method. This oil is an organic pesticide that kills scales. Unlike the first two methods, this one might take more time. However, an advantage of this method is that you can be more targeted in killing scales on your plant. This is crucial to avoid further damage to your plant.
  • Remove scale by hand – You may do this using a brush. Gently scrub the small brush to remove the scales from your succulents. However, as mentioned, some scales produce sticky or waxy coatings, making brushing them off your plant difficult.
  • Use alcohol – Same with the neem oil method, you also need a spray bottle. You can use 90% isopropyl alcohol or 70% rubbing alcohol. Combine the alcohol with water and spray on the infected area. The scales might take a while to die, so you might need to leave spraying until some of them physically fall off.

Read More: Common Problems With String Of Pearls Plant

Final Words

By the end of this article, we hope you are now more ready to get rid of and avoid succulent scale insects on your plants. Read more about succulent pests:

Succulent City chief editor


Richard | Editor-in-chief at Succulent City

Hey everyone! I’m Richard. Welcome to my blog, which is all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, I began my journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, my fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and I 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