What Pests Are Eating My Aloe Vera?

If you're an aloe vera enthusiast, you know that these succulents make great house plants because they're easy to care for. But what happens if your plant gets attacked by pests? Luckily, we've compiled research that will help you know the pests attacking your aloe vera.

Aloe vera is a type of succulent plant that is often used in home remedies and skin care products. The gel found inside the leaves of the plant is thought to have healing properties, and as such, aloe vera plants are commonly found in household gardens. However, aloe vera plants are also susceptible to infestation, including:

  1. Aphids
  2. Mealybugs
  3. Mites
  4. Gnats
  5. Scale

Keep reading to get more ideas on the pests eating your aloe vera. Besides that, find out how to identify and get rid of the most common ones below!

macro image of a Dark-winged Fungus Gnat on green leaf - What Pests Are Eating My Aloe Vera

What Pests Attack Aloe Vera Plant? 

Maconellicoccus hirsutus, (also known as the pink, grape or hibiscus mealybug) pest on a Aloe's vera leaf

Aloe vera is also a popular plant to grow indoors, as it requires very little care. But then, aloe vera plants can sometimes be plagued. Here are some pests that can attack your aloe vera:

1. Aphids

ants on an aloe vera plants flowers with aphids

One of the most common pests that affect aloe vera plants is aphids. Aphids are tiny, winged insects that feed on the sap of the plant. This feeding can damage the plant and cause it to become stunted or even die.

Aphids can also transmit diseases from one plant to another. In order to control aphids, it is important to regularly inspect your aloe vera plant for signs of infestation.

If you see any aphids on the plant, you can remove them by hand or with a strong spray of water. You can also introduce predators such as ladybugs into your garden to help control the aphid population.

By taking these steps, you can help keep your aloe vera plant healthy and free of pests.

2. Mealybugs

Aloevera leaf with cottony mealybug

If you've noticed your aloe vera plant looking a little worse for wear, it might be because of mealybugs. These pests are small, white, and fuzzy, and they feed on the sap of plants.

While they don't typically cause serious damage to aloe veras, they can weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to disease.

Mealybugs can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil, but it's important to be diligent in your treatment, as they can quickly repopulate.

In addition, mealybugs can spread to other plants, so it's important to isolate any affected plants until the infestation is under control. 

3. Mites

Rot in an aloe plant is caused by a mite that eats up the sap, damaging it from the inside.

One type of pest that particularly likes to munch on aloe vera leaves is spider mites. These tiny creatures are difficult to see with the naked eye, but they can cause a lot of damage to your plant.

Spider mites spin webs on the undersides of leaves and feast on the sap. This can cause the leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop off.

If you think your plant might have spider mites, inspect the underside of the leaves for webbing. You may also see small brownish dots - these are the spider mite eggs.

To get rid of spider mites, you'll need to use an insecticide specifically designed for them. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, as too much insecticide can damage your plant. 

4. Gnats

macro image of a Dark-winged Fungus Gnat on green leaf

If you've noticed tiny black bugs hovering around your aloe vera plant, chances are they're gnats. Although they're a nuisance, gnats are relatively harmless and don't usually do much damage to plants. However, if left unchecked, they can become a major problem.

Gnats are attracted to moisture, so they'll often lay their eggs in the soil of potted plants. The larva then feeds on the plant's roots, causing the plant to wilt and eventually die.

To get rid of gnats, start by allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. You can also try covering the soil with sand or gravel, which will discourage the gnats from laying their eggs.

If all else fails, you may need to use a chemical insecticide. But, this should be a last resort, as it can be harmful to both people and plants.

5. Scale

Black scale, Saissetia oleae (Hemiptera: Coccidae) is the dangerous pest of citrus and olive trees in the Mediterranean Basin

If you've noticed your aloe vera plant looking a bit sickly recently, it might be due to an infestation of scale insects. These small pests attach themselves to the leaves of the plant and feed on the sap, causing the leaves to be yellow and brown. In extreme cases, an infestation can kill the plant.

Scale is difficult to get rid of once they've taken hold, but there are some steps you can take to try to control them.

First, make sure to regularly inspect your plant for signs of scale. If you see any, carefully remove them by hand and dispose of them. You can also try treating the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label carefully, as these products can be harmful to humans and pets if used incorrectly.

With patience and diligence, you can hopefully get rid of the scale infestation and save your aloe vera plant.

How to Know Pests Are Eating Your Aloe Vera? 

Check if these signs are on your aloe vera plant and it could be a clue that pests are already eating your aloe vera.

  1. One way to tell if pests are eating your aloe vera is to look for small holes in the leaves. These holes are typically caused by sucking insects, such as aphids or whiteflies.
  2. Another telltale sign of pests is brown or discolored leaves. This damage is often caused by chewing insects, such as thrips or caterpillars.
  3. You may also see webs or cocoons around the plant, as well as an increase in the number of ants or other insects crawling on the leaves.

If you notice any of these signs, you should take immediate action to treat your plant. Otherwise, the damage could become severe, and your aloe vera might not be able to recover.

How to Prevent Pests from Eating Your Aloe Vera? 

Close-up of a brown stink bug on a green aloe leaf. Selective focus

These pests can damage the leaves of the plant, preventing the gel from being effective. There are a few things that you can do to prevent pests from eating your aloe vera.

Keep Plants Well-Watered but Not Over-watered

Pests are attracted to dry plants, so by keeping your aloe vera hydrated, you can make it less desirable to them. But then, it is important to not overwater your plant, as this can also lead to problems.

The best way to water your aloe vera is to soak the roots in water for a few hours every week. This will ensure that the plant gets enough moisture without being vulnerable to root rot.

Ensure Proper Sunlight

One way to help prevent pests from attacking your aloe vera plant is to ensure that it receives enough sunlight. Sunlight helps to deter many common pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.

In addition, Aloe Vera plants that are grown in sunny areas are typically healthier overall and less likely to be attacked by pests. So if you want to keep your aloe vera plant healthy and free from pests, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight.

Inspect the Plant Regularly

Another simple but best way to prevent pests from eating your aloe vera is to inspect the plant regularly. Look for signs of chewing or burrowing, and pay close attention to the undersides of the leaves, where most pests like to hide.

If you see any pests, remove them immediately and dispose of them properly.

Remove Any Damaged Leaves or Stems from the Plant

Start by removing any damaged leaves or stems from the plant. These areas are more likely to be infested with pests and can serve as a gateway for them to spread. 

Besides that, this will help to reduce the amount of food that pests have access to, and it will also help to encourage new growth. 

Consider Organic Pesticides and Insecticides

This will help to ensure that the aloe vera you use for topical application is not loaded with harmful chemicals. You can find these products at most home improvement stores.

Another option is to use diatomaceous earth for pest control. This substance is made from the fossilized remains of algae and marine life. When applied to the soil, diatomaceous earth forms a barrier that repels pests.

It is important to note that diatomaceous earth can also be harmful to pets, so be sure to use it with caution.

Use a Pot with A Screened Bottom

Finally, consider placing the plant in a pot with a screened bottom, which will help to keep pests from getting to the roots of the plant. This will allow the soil to drain while keeping pests out. 

By following these simple tips, you can keep your aloe vera healthy and free from pests.

Final Words

If you're noticing holes in your aloe vera leaves, there's a good chance that pests are to blame. While it's possible to take care of the problem yourself, you can solve it on your own but if it is beyond your zone, call in a professional. Pest control experts can help identify the pest and recommend a course of action to get rid of them for good. 

To get more tips on keeping your plants healthy, check out our posts below:

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