Aloe vera plants (Aloe barbadensis) are evergreen succulents known in part for the medicinal properties of their sap. These plants, which can grow to a width of 6 feet or more, are frost-sensitive and thrive in containers, according to the University of Arizona. For these reasons, aloe vera plants often are cultivated indoors. Although hardy, they can suffer from a number of common insect pests, including scale, mealybugs, flies and fungus gnats.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Pruning shears or sharp scissors
- Cotton swab
- Insect sticky tape
- Insecticide or neem oil
Prune off any wilting or yellow leaves of the plant, using pruning shears or sharp scissors. Remove any leaves that are severely infested with bugs.
Spray the plant with a strong stream of water to dislodge the remaining pests. Mealybugs, flies and some scale can be washed off with water, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Fungus gnats usually hide in the soil. If the plant is in a container, remove it from other nearby plants first, as some bugs can jump to another plant for safety.
Remove the remainder of the bugs by hand. This works best on small houseplants. Rub them off the stems and leaves with a cotton swab. Scale often cling to Aloe underneath the leaves. So do mealybugs. Both are white and somewhat fuzzy in appearance.
Hang yellow sticky bug tape near the aloe vera to trap adult fungus gnats and flies.
Spray the aloe vera plant with an insecticide that is registered for use on indoor plants. Follow the label instructions for application rates. Repeat every three or four days for two weeks to kill adults that hatch after each spray. Oil sprays also will work on mealybugs and scale insects, as the oil smothers the bugs.
Tips and warnings
- Overly wet soil also contributes to the proliferation of fungus gnats and midges. Let the soil around your aloe plant dry out before you water it. These succulent plants do not require much water anyway, and the dry soil will kill the larvae.
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