How to Get Rid of Bugs on Succulents?

Succulents are a popular choice for indoor plants due to their low maintenance and unique aesthetic appeal. However, one common issue that many succulent owners face is dealing with bugs that can infest and damage these plants.

If you're struggling to keep your succulents bug-free, there are several effective methods you can try. In this article, we will discuss how to identify common succulent pests and provide practical tips on how to get rid of bugs on succulents. Please keep reading to learn how to protect your beloved succulents from harmful insects and maintain their health and beauty.

Let’s started

Understanding the Threat of Mealybugs on Succulents

Mealybugs, a type of small insect, extract sap and are members of the Pseudococcidae family. They are white or light gray and have a cotton-like appearance due to the waxy coating that covers their bodies.

Mealybugs feed on the sap of plants, which weakens them and can lead to stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and even death if the infestation is severe. Mealybugs prefer warm, humid environments, making indoor succulents particularly vulnerable. They often hide in the nooks and crannies of plants, making them difficult to spot until the infestation is well underway.

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Identifying Common Bugs on Succulents

It's necessary to pinpoint the individuals at fault before moving on to remedies. Here are some common pests that target succulents:

Identifying Common Bugs on Succulents
  • Mealybugs: These tiny, white, cotton-like insects cluster in the crevices of your plants.
  • Aphids: Small, green, or black bugs that suck sap from the leaves.
  • Spider Mites: Minuscule pests that create fine webs on the plant surface.
  • Scale Insects: Hard-shelled bugs that attach themselves to the stems and leaves.
  • Fungus Gnats: Black flies of a small size that swarms around the soil.

Identifying Early Signs of a Mealybug Infestation

  • White Cottony Masses: Mealybugs leave behind white, cotton-like substances on the leaves and stems of succulents. These are the most visible signs of their presence.
  • Sticky Residue: Mealybugs excrete a sticky substance known as honeydew, which can attract ants and lead to the growth of sooty mold.
  • Yellowing or Wilting Leaves: As mealybugs feed on the plant's sap, they deprive it of essential nutrients, causing the leaves to yellow and wilt.
  • Stunted Growth: Infested plants may exhibit stunted growth due to the loss of nutrients.
  • Presence of Ants: Ants are often attracted to the honeydew produced by mealybugs. If you notice ants on your succulents, it could be a sign of a mealybug infestation.

Using Organic Solutions to Combat Mealybugs

Organic solutions can be a great way to tackle mealybugs while keeping your environment and plants safe. Here are some effective organic methods:

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a powerful, organic insecticide that works wonders on a variety of pests. Mix one teaspoon of neem oil with a quart of water and a few drops of dish soap. Spray this solution on the affected areas, ensuring you cover both the tops and undersides of the leaves.

Neem oil can kill bugs

Rubbing Alcohol

For a quick and efficient solution, rubbing alcohol is your friend. Dip a cotton swab in 70% isopropyl alcohol and gently dab it on the pests. This method works particularly well for mealybugs and aphids.

Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soaps are made from potassium salts of fatty acids and are effective against mealybugs. Spray the soap solution directly on the pests, ensuring thorough coverage.

Non-Chemical Methods for Removing Mealybugs from Succulents

For those who prefer to avoid chemicals, there are several effective non-chemical methods to remove mealybugs from succulents:

Manual Removal

Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab each mealybug. The alcohol will dissolve their protective coating, killing them on contact. Be thorough and check under leaves and in crevices.

Water Spray

A strong stream of water can dislodge mealybugs from the plant. This method is best used outdoors to avoid making a mess.

Pruning and Isolation

If the infestation is localized, consider pruning the succulents' affected areas. Dispose of the infested plant material carefully to prevent spreading the bugs, and Isolate the infested plant from others to prevent the mealybugs from spreading.

Chemical Options for Severe Mealybug Infestations

In cases of severe infestations, chemical treatments may be necessary. Consider these chemical solutions.

Systemic Insecticides

Mealybugs are eradicated by systemic insecticides that enter the plant's system and poison them as they feed on the sap. Imidacloprid is a common systemic insecticide used for this purpose. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when using systemic insecticides.

Contact Insecticides

Contact insecticides kill mealybugs on contact. They are typically applied as a spray and require thorough coverage of the plant. Pyrethrin-based insecticides are effective against mealybugs.

Horticultural Oils

Horticultural oils, such as mineral oil or petroleum-based oils, can smother mealybugs and their eggs. Apply the oil to the infested areas, ensuring complete coverage.

You can use a self-watering planter; a self-watering planter is the best for your plant. Self-watering planters are available on Planterhoma. These planters ensure your plants receive a consistent moisture supply, reducing the risk of over or under-watering. Ideal for busy gardeners, they promote healthier growth and vibrant blooms effortlessly.

Preventing Future Mealybug Problems in Your Succulents

Prevention is key to keeping your succulents healthy and mealybug-free. Here are some tips to prevent future infestations:

  • Regular Inspections: Be sure to routinely check for signs of pests on your plants. Early detection can prevent a minor issue from becoming a major problem, and Isolate new succulent plants for a few weeks before introducing them to your collection. This helps ensure they are pest-free.
  • Clean Pots and Tools: Always use clean pots and sterilized tools when handling your plants. This minimizes the risk of pests spreading.
  • Proper Watering: Overwatering can create a humid environment that is favorable for mealybugs. Water your succulents appropriately and ensure good drainage.
  • Cleanliness: Keep the area around your succulents clean and free of debris. Mealybugs can hide in plant debris, so removing it can help prevent infestations.
  • Healthy Plants: Healthy plants are more resistant to pests. Provide your succulents with the right amount of light, water, and nutrients to keep them strong and resilient.


Mealybugs can be a persistent problem for succulent enthusiasts, but with the right approach, they can be effectively managed. By understanding the threat posed by mealybugs, identifying early signs of infestation, and using a combination of non-chemical, organic, and chemical methods, you can keep your succulents healthy and pest-free.

Remember, prevention is key, so take steps to create an environment that is unfavorable for mealybugs. With a little diligence and care, your succulents can thrive and continue to bring beauty to your space.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get Rid of Bugs on Succulents

1. What Are Common Bugs That Infest Succulents?

Common bugs include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. These pests can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly.

2. How Can I Identify if My Succulent Has Bugs?

Look for signs like discolored leaves, sticky residue, webbing, or visible insects. Consistently monitor your plants for early detection of infestations.

3. What is the First Step in Treating a Bug Infestation on Succulents?

Isolate the affected plant to prevent the bugs from spreading to others. This containment is crucial for effective treatment.

4. Can I Use Household Items to Treat Bugs on Succulents?

Yes, a diluted solution of dish soap and water can be sprayed on the plant. This mixture helps to suffocate and remove many common pests.

5. Are There Any Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Bugs on Succulents?

Neem oil is a popular natural remedy. It acts as an insecticide and can be applied directly to the affected areas.

6. How Often Should I Treat My Succulent Bugs?

The frequency of treatment is linked to the level of infestation severity. Typically, a weekly treatment is recommended until the bugs are eradicated.

7. Can Overwatering Cause Bug Infestations on Succulents?

Yes, overwatering can create a hospitable environment for pests. Ensure proper drainage and avoid excessive watering to keep your succulents healthy.

8. Is It Safe to Use Chemical Insecticides on Succulents?

Chemical insecticides can be effective but should be used as a last resort. Always follow the product instructions carefully to avoid damaging your plants.

9. How Can I Prevent Future Bug Infestations on My Succulents?

Regularly inspect your plants, maintain proper watering habits, and keep the growing environment clean. These steps help prevent future infestations.