How to get rid of cactus bugs and keep your plants healthy

How to get rid of cactus bugs and keep your plants healthy

How to get rid of cactus bugs? Cacti are extremely popular not only with plant lovers but with a wide range of pests as well. However, cactus bugs are not what you want to get in addition to your incredible plants.

If you wonder how to get rid of cactus bugs, here is a simple guide that helps you put an end to the unwanted pests!

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How to get rid of cactus bugs?

Cactus bugs are a common problem both for outdoor and indoor cacti.

What is more, some of them are prone to spread on other plants and cause even more damage than you expect to face.

Common cactus bugs are small pests of red or yellow color. In small numbers, they can’t damage your cacti too much, but they can quickly turn into a real disaster when neglected. Besides, many other types of pests are fond of cacti and can appear on your plants.

Cactus care includes several tips that you can’t neglect:

  • To dispose of cactus bugs, you have to understand 3 main points: what to fighthow to act properly, and how to prevent a new pest infestation.
  • When you get rid of cactus bugs, always use protective gloves! You should protect your hands from the cactus spines and the cactus bugs as well since they can be harmful to touch with bare hands.

You can’t be sure to remove bugs from your cactus forever, but regular maintenance especially for a new plant is crucial!

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#1. Dish soap

This simple remedy doesn’t seem obvious but is still one of the best and safest ways to get rid of cactus bugs.

All that you need is to take a spray bottle with some dish soap and apply this simple repellent on the affected cacti.

This method is full of benefits since it is cheap, available, and safe for your cacti. When you kill cactus bugs, you can be sure that your cactus plants will stay alive.

#2. Insecticidal soap

Insecticidal soap is a versatile repellent for different bugs, their larvae, and eggs. Designed specifically for this purpose, it works efficiently against cactus bugs as well.

Fill the spray bottle with the insecticidal soap solution and spray it onto the affected cactus plants. Let it sit and work for several minutes. Then, water the cactus plants thoroughly with clean water.

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#3. Isopropyl alcohol

Sometimes insecticides are helpless against the cactus bugs. So, if your cactus bugs can resist the insecticidal soap, move on to another option. Isopropyl alcohol is one more efficient remedy against the common cactus bugs, so why not try it?

Spray 70% isopropyl alcohol onto the affected cactus plants. Let it sit and work for several minutes. Then, rinse the plants thoroughly so as not to burn them with alcohol residue.

You can also use diluted rubbing alcohol as isopropyl alcohol is its main ingredient.

There is one more cactus bug remedy based on alcohol. Mix several drops of mild soap, a cup of rubbing alcohol, and a quart of clean water. Spray this solution on the affected cacti once a week for three weeks.

This method works efficiently against mealybugs and some other pests.

#4. Neem oil sprays

Neem oil spray is a great eco-friendly remedy for a wide range of pests. Extracted from the neem tree seeds, it is a safe option to use.

Due to its versatility, neem oil works best against common cactus pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and others.

Apply neem oil on the affected areas and let it work for several minutes. The neem oil film will suffocate the pests on the cactus surface, so you can remove them easily. Besides, neem oil is a beneficial treatment for the cactus plants.

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#5. Soapy water spray

The simplest homemade remedy against cactus bugs is possible to make from soapy water!

Dissolve 1 tsp of mild dish soap in 500 ml of clean water.

Pour this mixture into the spraying bottle and apply it to the affected areas.

Wait until the cactus bugs die. It takes about an hour before you can remove the cactus bugs and rinse your plants.

#6. Sticky traps

Sticky traps are a popular way to catch insects. Having a layer of sticky substance, they tempt insects to crawl onto the surface, where they get trapped.

Thus, a common sticky trap can be used as a cactus bug trap. Since the trapped bugs can’t move anymore, you can dispose of them safely.

#7. Vinegar remedy

One more eco-friendly solution can be made of vinegar. It works efficiently in many cases, and the cactus bug repelling is not an exception.

Spray some vinegar on the affected plants and leave to work for a while. You need several minutes to dispose of the cactus bugs.

Remove the insects and rinse your plants thoroughly so as not to burn them.

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What are other ways to deal with cactus bugs?

Along with homemade cactus bug remedies, there are some more alternative ways to defeat cactus pests.

#1. Introducing natural predators

For outdoor cacti owners, a good idea is to get rid of cactus bugs naturally by introducing their natural enemies. Such predator insects as lacewings and ladybugs crave eating aphids or mealybugs, so they will find your affected cacti a great spot to have a snack!

This method isn’t good for those who grow cacti at home.

#2. Hose watering

If you don’t feel like picking the bugs off your cacti, the simplest eco-friendly way is to wash the cactus bugs out!

Apply some insecticide on the affected plants. Then, grab a garden hose and give your plants a good wash! This method is one of the most efficient if you want to dispose of cactus bugs forever.

However, be careful so as not to overwater your cacti.

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#3. Tweezers picking

When talking about cactus bug disposal, no one wants to deal with prickly spines and nasty bugs taken by hand.

So, why not use tweezers to pick all the pests off the cacti?

This method has its drawbacks as it is time-consuming. Besides, you can miss some bugs or their eggs which can lead to a new infestation.

#4. Pruning

In case of a severe infestation, a good idea is to prune a part of the cactus and save the rest of it.

If you can see cactus leaves that are completely covered with pests, just prune them safely. Place the infested pads into the soapy water and soak them for a few hours to kill the cactus bugs.

Now, throw the pads away with no fear that some bugs can come back to your cacti.

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How to prevent cactus bugs?

A sure fact is that it is much better to prevent bug infestations than to deal with them again.

Several tips can help you to prevent cactus bugs from appearing on your healthy plants.

#1. Check your cacti regularly

If you don’t want to miss a new infestation, give your cacti regular check-ups. Adult cactus bugs are prone to reproduce rapidly. Once in 2 or 3 months, they leave eggs in the cactus soil.

After these eggs hatch, the larvae appear and start growing. They mostly consume compost, but can also eat fresh cactus roots.

Since they can hide in the soil, there is a high chance of missing them and revealing the pests only when they grow up to the nymphs or adult bugs.

Inspect the upper part of your cactus as well as the plant’s roots to see if there are any signs of pest presence. if you are going to get a new potted cactus, examine it at the shop before taking it home.

#2. Avoid overwatering and overfeeding your cacti

Too much water or fertilizer can be one more reason for the bugs coming out. Don’t water your plants too much and control the amount of fertilizer added to the soil.

Provide enough drainage for the potted plants such as Christmas cactus and others, so as not to end up with excess water and root rot.

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#3. Keep your cacti clean

Keeping your plants clean is crucial to avoid cactus bug infestation.

Wash your cacti regularly and watch out for any debris on their roots so as not to create any breeding ground for the bugs.

Which pests like eating cacti?

Along with common cactus bugs, many other insects can affect your cacti.

Cactus ants

Succulents easily attract various cactus ants. Living in colonies, they can cause great damage to your plants.

Fortunately, ants are easy to notice. Start treatment as soon as you find them out to prevent serious issues!

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Cactus moths

Cacti are prone to suffer from various cactus moths and their caterpillars. The moth itself is not harmful to the plant, but it lays eggs that can hatch one day. Caterpillars start causing damage to your cacti.

To get rid of these pests, inspect your plants thoroughly to get rid of moths, their caterpillars, and the eggs that haven’t hatched yet.

Fungus gnats

Fungus gnats are lazy tiny flies that you can get with the infested potting soil.

When breeding in the soil, these pests are difficult to get rid of.

To prevent them from eating your cacti, watch out for their presence in the new soil. A good idea is to bake or quarantine it before placing it into the pot.

Also Helpful: Best Pots For Cactus

Longhorn beetles

These voracious insects also known as black bugs belong to the common pests of cacti.

This cactus bug variety is easy to pick off and control as they are big and noticeable.

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Cacti mealybug is a common pest for many succulents. They prefer eating the fluid-containing parts of the plant, such as pads or leaves.

Red spider mites

Red spider mites are mostly white, but can also be red or black. These tiny invasive arachnids can quickly eat your plant.

Treat your cacti regularly with horticultural oil or soapy solution to control these pests.

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Vine weevils

These pests are keen on specific succulents such as Aeoniums and Echeverias where they eat the hollows in the cacti stems.

Prune the damaged stems and stop further infestation!

Wooly aphids

Wooly aphids belong to common cacti pests. Not only do they eat cactus tissues, but also secret a sticky honeydew that causes plant rot.

If you notice your cactus having such symptoms as stunted growth and sooty mold over the plant, these are sure signs of aphid infestation.

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What kills cactus bugs?

There are several eco-friendly options:

Mild soap
Neem oil
Isopropyl alcohol

What to do if your cactus has bugs?

There are different ways to save your cactus from the bugs:

Pick the bugs off
Prune affected areas
Repot the plant
Treat the plant with the repellent

What are the little bugs in my cactus?

The tiny pests that are found on your cacti include aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.

Are cactus bugs bad for cactus?

Cactus bugs can wreak havoc when breeding rapidly. They can eat any parts of cacti including stems, leaves, pads, and fresh roots.

Final thoughts

Even knowing how to get rid of cactus bugs, never forget about proper maintenance of your plants. It is always better to prevent pest infestation than get rid of it!

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