Not quite spider, not quite mites, these bugs are the worst of two worlds. They are very, very small, and if you're not looking for them on your succulents, you could easily be overlooking them. Spider mites love succulents because they harbor a high concentration of sweet sap that the mites like to suck out. If your cactus is infected, you'll see yellow and rust-colored spots appearing on your plant like scars. This can cause the plant to become weak and infected with other problems.
It's very important to know that spider mites are not regular bugs like most of the pests. Instead they are a type of arachnid, like spiders, so regular bug sprays and pesticides for bugs will not kill them. In fact, those pesticides may be killing off the good bugs that feed on spider mites. You'll need to deal with spider mites in a more specific way.
How to Control
If you see white webs on your plant, clean them off as soon as possible. If you see the mites themselves, brush or pick them off and dispose of them away from your plant and other plants. You may even want to remove the entire plant to prevent the mites from getting onto your other plants.
Take Down Garden Spray actually works on spider mites, so use this all-natural pesticide before trying other store-bought brands that might be designed for regular, non-arachnid insects.
If your spider mite problem is really bad you could try a natural "systemic insecticide" like Sierra Natural Science SNS 209. You either add mix it in when you water your plants or, if the problem is real bad, unpot the plant and wash it in the insecticide solution. After using the treatment for a couple of weeks, the plant will absorb the poison into its system so that when bugs suck out the plant's sap they will be poisoned. Use these systemic insecticides very sparingly because they're pretty potent and may damage your plants if you use too much.
If your succulent lives outdoors, use a sprayer that has a strong jet stream to blast the mites off.
There are predatory mites that will eat the bad spider mites that are dining on your plants. Of course, this solution is better for outdoor plants because you won't want a bunch of bugs in your house.
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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