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Pests of succulents
Succulents are not common plants, but differ from them in their ability to survive in very dry environments thanks to the possibility of accumulating water and nutrients in their stems.
The morphological structure with which the succulent plants appear is the result of thousands of years of adaptations to environments almost devoid of water, in which there are high temperatures and strong insolation. The reference is to tropical and desert areas where few other plants can survive.
Some of the recurrent characteristics of succulent plants are the fleshy stems, rich in watery substances, generally in the form of gel, the presence of sharp and robust thorns, very colorful and resistant flowers and finally a well-developed root system to take full advantage of the scarce water present in the territories of origin.
Succulent plants are cultivated very often in houses and gardens both for their beauty but also for the medicinal and healing properties possessed by some species, as well as for the fact that they require relatively little attention.
They can be grown both indoors and outdoors but sometimes they can face problems related to environmental factors that are not compatible with their needs or problems related to the presence of parasites.
This kind of risk occurs more when the plants are grown in open environments and in the presence of other plants that could transmit parasites.
Usually the succulent plants are attacked by cosmopolitan parasites, that is they colonize most of the plants. Among these, the most harmful but also the most widespread are Aphids, Cochineals, red spider mites but also snails, various types of nematodes and ants that carry Aphids and other related problems.
AFIDI AND COCCINIGLIE
Aphids are small insects that are often found on the soft and new parts of fat plants and more. They are particularly harmful because they lurk the most vulnerable parts and looking for the most penetrable portions, they use their mouthparts to pierce the plant wall and start sucking the sap from inside. Like all living organisms, they also release waste substances that are made up of sweet secretions. This is an additional danger to the plant since sugar secretions attract other foreign organisms such as fungi or insects. The result of Aphid colonization is the death of the part affected by these parasites which sometimes involves rather expanded portions of the plant.
The term Cocciniglie refers to a set of small organisms, generally of a whitish color, which are covered by a resistant shell that allows them to survive even in difficult conditions. Scale insects perform exactly the same destructive functions as aphids, that is, they use the plant as a host organism from which they can suck the sap they feed on. Their colonization, unlike that of the Aphids, starts from the base of the succulent plant, therefore from woody and robust portions, to then go towards the apical ones and towards the shoots that are softer.
To eliminate them, if you notice in the initial moments of the infestation, you can use a cotton pad soaked in alcohol or pine oil and proceed to manually remove the parasites.
THE RED SPIDER
This is a mite that is not always visible to the naked eye and to see if it is present or not it is necessary to use a magnifying glass.
There is another way to tell if the red spider is feeding on the plant and it is the appearance of small, rust-colored spots on it. This dark color is due to the various bites of this mite. It is inserted in the plants only in particular conditions such as the almost total absence of humidity and high temperatures. Eliminating the parasite is therefore quite simple and can be done by changing the environmental characteristics. The plant must be watered a little more often and try to create moisture around it. These little mites should leave it in a short time.
MOLLUSCS AND ANTS
Mollusks such as snails are greedy for vegetables of various kinds, including the succulent leaves of succulents. These small animals feed on the plants so they create deep wounds up to the total elimination of the leaves. Snails are found around only when the humidity is very present and therefore even after the rains. For this reason it is necessary to be more careful in these circumstances to avoid that the plants are eaten by these molluscs. Ants, on the other hand, are strongly attracted by the very sweet secretions of aphids and scale insects. They feed on it and very often transport the parssites in question for this purpose. In order to remove them, it is necessary to use special chemical products.
Parasites succulents: HOW TO PREVENT PARASITE ATTACKS
The advice given to those who want to avoid the attack of pests on their succulent plants is to make sure that the conditions suitable for their establishment do not occur.
First of all you need to keep the plants clean, you need to eliminate the damaged portions and the dead ones and also carry out a constant check on them at every change of the environmental and climatic conditions around the plant.