Do Succulents Attract Bugs?

Do Succulents Attract Bugs

Succulents are “hardy plants” because they do not need too much attention. They are generally low-maintenance beauties. However, once they are overwatered it creates the potential for a whole host of problems.

Do succulents attract bugs?

Yes, succulents attract bugs if they are overwatered. The bugs are attracted to the moist soil and they will eventually make their way through to the succulents.  These pests could damage the plants since they feed on the sap of the leaves and may potentially kill them.

Bugs that are attracted to succulents

These are the bugs that are attracted to succulents:

1. Mealybugs 

Mealybugs are tiny and light brown or gray-colored.  If you notice white, cottony substances on your plants it means they are infested with these bugs. They also produce a sugary substance that attracts molds, further endangering your succulents since they become vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections. 

How to treat:

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and apply directly to the affected areas, especially on the white cottony substance. You can also spray rubbing alcohol directly onto the affected areas. Be sure to do this a few times since these bugs can be very stubborn. Repeat the treatment several times and isolate the affected plants from the unharmed ones so the bugs won’t spread to the other succulents. 

2. Scales 

These bugs consist of armored and soft ones. If you see small brown bumps on your succulents it means these bugs are thriving in the plants. Scales like to feed on the sap of succulents which could lead to diseases.

How to treat:

Eradicate scales from your succulents by removing them by hand or scraping them off the affected areas. You can also place cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol and apply them directly to the affected areas.

3. Aphids

These pests commonly attack succulents by sucking the sap from the leaves and stems. They produce a sugary substance, making the plants more susceptible to mold. 

How to treat:

Spray aphids with a water and soap mixture and target the affected areas well. Some succulent growers also use neem oil by mixing one tablespoon of the oil with eight cups of water and spraying the mixture in the affected areas. Spray the neem oil mixture only during nighttime to avoid burning the plants. Repeat the process as necessary. 

4. Spider mites

These mites are very tiny and hardly noticeable. Affected succulents may turn almost white or silvery-colored since the mites suck the sap. 

How to treat:

Apply rubbing alcohol directly to the mites and affected areas or spray them with a mixture of water and alcohol. You can also use dish soap diluted in water and spray directly on the mites and affected areas. Make sure to repeat the process as necessary. You may have to repot the affected plants and see to it that you isolate the affected ones from the healthy succulents. 

5. Whiteflies

These pests like to feast on leafy succulents. They produce honeydew, which makes the affected plants highly susceptible to molds.

How to treat:

Dilute rubbing alcohol with water and spray on the flies. You can also use soapy water to get rid of the pests. Repeat the treatment as necessary until you can see favorable results. 

6. Fungus gnats 

These small flies infest soil, plants and sources of organic decomposition. They also like to feed on overwatered succulents. 

How to treat:

Minimize watering your succulents and change the soil or use fast-draining soil. To get rid of these pests, mix one part peroxide with four parts water and pour through the soil at the root zone until it appears at the base of the pot. The mixture kills fungus gnat larvae on contact.

7. Ants

Ants can be very harmful to your succulents and they also become attracted to the plants because of the sugary substance that the other pests and bugs produce. 

How to treat:

Spray insecticidal soap on the ants or you could use an alcohol and water mixture. Repeat the process until there is no visible presence of ants anymore. 

To prevent bugs and pests from invading your succulents, see to it that you do not overwater them. Let the soil dry out before watering and always place succulents in a bright and well-ventilated area. Use a good potting mix, deadhead yellow leaves and remove the wilted flowers regularly. 

Conclusion 

Succulents are commonly grown for their aesthetic features and quaint flowers despite being low-maintenance plants.  However, you still need to provide care and attention since they are also susceptible to bugs and diseases. They can attract bugs if they are overwatered because moist areas are major attractants for bugs and pests. See to it that your plants are not overwatered, use good potting mix and place them in well-ventilated areas. 

Image: istockphoto.com / Ekaterina Prokosheva

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