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Natural Remedies for Aloe Plant Bugs

The aloe commonly found in homes is an African native called Aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis. It is a hardy plant that needs little water and only the occasional repotting. Aloe is known for its sap, which can sooth burns. This useful succulent is normally only bothered by disease when over-watered and typically hosts only one bug -- the mealybug.
  1. Mealybugs

    • According to Penn State University's extension the mealybug is the most common pest of aloe. Adult, female mealybugs are oval, soft-bodied insects covered in white, cottony filaments. Newly hatched, female young are called "crawlers" and they look like small adults. Males don't feed; instead they develop wings and will fly to host plants in search of mates. Mealybugs use piercing mouthparts to suck sap from the leaves of aloe. Small populations cause discoloration and wilting. Large populations can cause death.

    Thorough Inspection

    • Proper mealybug control starts with a good inspection of the plant and surrounding areas. Females, eggs and crawlers are often on the undersides of leaves or in the crevices near the base of leaves. Eggs and crawlers can even be found on the rim or outside of the pot itself. Winged males are far more mobile than females and can be some distance from the container. Thoroughly inspect every part of your aloe and its container to ensure you remove all traces of the pest.

    Mechanical Control

    • Wipe your aloe down with a wet paper towel or soft cloth. Wipe the entire leaf; this ensures you are removing or crushing eggs, crawlers and adults. Wash the outside of the pot and the rim with soapy water. You can also try placing your aloe, pot and all, into the shower and knocking insects off with strong jets of water.

    Safe Insecticides

    • Although not natural, horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps are safe and effective against mealybugs. To make insecticidal soap, mix 1 tablespoon of mild, unscented dish soap in 1 quart of water and spray your aloe thoroughly. Horticultural oils are commercially available and are made from mineral oil. They work by suffocating crawlers and adults. Spray the plant thoroughly. Repeat applications of soaps or oils at weekly intervals for four weeks to ensure any newly hatched crawlers are killed.