Aphids On Succulents: Feeding Activities, Problems & Solutions

This article discusses the different ways of dealing with aphids on succulents.

These parasitic pests are best eliminated by using reliable aphid treatment strategies as will be discussed shortly. So, are you faced with an aphid problem?

Join us as we take a look at the different ways of handling the problem.

White And Black Aphids on Succulents

Aphids are pests well known for causing a variety of problems to plants.

Succulents are among the favorite plants targeted by aphids with adverse results that impact their proper development.

When infestation issues are discovered, it becomes necessary to take urgent actions by using effective control strategies.

Feeding Activity of Aphids

Are you unclear about the activity of aphids on plants? Let’s give you an idea. These bugs feed on plant sap.

Succulent plants give them an abundance of such.

Now, the phloem found on the stems and leaves of plants is targeted. These are tubes that serve as the highway for plant nutrients (also called sap).

Aphids target these and puncture them.

Such parasitic feeding action causes all sorts of problems including preventing plants from proper development as well as the spread of diseases.

This is further worsened by the prolific breeding behavior of aphids.

Problems Caused by Aphid Activity

To appreciate the extent of the problem, it’s important to understand the effect on plants when aphids feed. There are several diseases spread by this pest.

These vary by the type of plant. Examples include sweet potato feathery mottle virus, bean common mosaic virus, as well as Johnson grass mosaic virus.

Others are the carrot virus Y, cucumber mosaic virus, potato virus, celery mosaic virus, and a host of others.

Asides from the viral plant diseases spread by aphids, their feeding actions also result in conditions such as weakening and curling.

There’s also a distortion of the normal growth process of succulents.

Aphid Presence only becomes Alarming when…

Under normal circumstances (when aphid population is tolerable), damage caused to plant isn’t significant. Plus, they’re a ready source of food for birds as such birds prey on them.

This keeps them (aphids) under control. However, there are times when infestations occur.

Under such situations, aphid activity becomes unbearable to plants which results in several conditions such as those mentioned above.

At this point, artificial intervention is necessary for getting rid of these pests. Also, it’s important to adopt preventive treatment to always keep aphids under control.

Getting Rid of Aphids On Succulents

To save your plants from destruction, you’ll need to act fast.

Acting fast in this sense simply means the use or adoption of a variety of effective measures.

You can use natural predators to solve an aphid problem in addition to homemade killer sprays and the growth of aphid repellent plants.

Other measures have to do with direct interventions. Let’s have a look at each treatment method.

i. The Use of Natural Predators

There are known aphid predators that have proven to be highly effective in containing a full-blown infestation.

Examples of these include wasps, green lacewings, lady beetles, and birds.

When released, they pose no harm to succulents, as their main targets are aphids.

  • Green Lacewings

Green lacewing larvae are used for this purpose.

If you’re wondering where to get these, they’re sold in stores as well as in local nurseries. For this type of control method to be effective, such larvae have been used the right way.

Follow the use instructions for the application.

  • Lady Beetles

Lady beetles also prey on aphids and can be deployed for purposes of control.

To have a real chance of eliminating aphids, you’ll need to exercise patience and only use it in cases of severe infestations.

Adult ladybugs don’t do much in terms of preying on aphids. The most impact is seen when larvae emerge from eggs laid.

As such, patience will have to be exercised to enable lady beetles to mate and lay eggs and for such eggs to hatch. This doesn’t take too long. Plus, there should be enough aphids to sustain this reproductive cycle.

Only introduce lady beetles according to instructions.

  • Birds

Birds do a great job of preying on aphids.

The introduction of these natural predators does a lot to keep aphid presence and activity under check. Bug-eating birds do the most in eliminating aphids on succulent plants.

Examples of such birds include chickadees, vesper sparrows, savannah sparrows, field sparrows, and wrens among others. You’ll have to grow small shrubs and trees for these birds to take cover.

ii. Growing Aphid Repellent Plants

There are several considerations to make when it comes to the growing of plants for aphid control.

To save your succulents from destruction, consider growing aphid-repellent plants like chives, catnip, allium, garlic, and onion.

Other types of plants you need are those that attract beneficial insects. These insects are beneficial because they feed on aphids.

Examples of plants that attract beneficial insects include yarrow, clover, dill, mint, and fennel.

iii. Direct Interventions

The term “intervention” is quite broad. It involves a variety of measures where you’re involved in getting rid of the problem.

These include jetting or spraying succulents with water, as well as the use of neem oil, and essential oil treatments. Let’s further discuss each of these points as follows;

  • Jetting or Spraying with Water

This method requires making a homemade spray.

Rather than using plain water, make a soapy water mixture by adding some dish or liquid soap. A few teaspoons of liquid soap added to about a gallon of water should serve the purpose.

Empty this solution into a spray bottle and spray on affected areas of succulents.

Of course, you’ll need to spray directly on aphids to kill them off.

  • Neem Oil Treatments

Neem oil treatment is one effective way to combat the problem as it helps repel aphids on your succulent plant. A ready-to-use neem oil spray will be most ideal.

Also, consider following all the use instructions to avoid killing off or repelling beneficial insects.

  • Essential Oil Treatments

The use of essential oils for aphid treatment is quite popular.

To make this, you’ll need thyme, peppermint, rosemary, and clove essential oils. About 4 to 5 droves of each oil are mixed with water in a spray bottle before spraying onto affected areas.

Dealing with aphids on succulents can be done in a variety of ways as shown below.

You can move to take immediate action by focusing on getting rid of the problem using your preferred strategy.

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