KEEPING YOUR ALOES HEALTHY

Anyone who has ventured into the cultivation of aloes will know that the plants are attacked by a variety of insects, mites, and fungi. The important role aloes play in a successful water-wise succulent garden or succulent collection makes it imperative to take the treatment of these pests seriously.

In this article, we would like to give information on the most serious aloe pests and propose effective ways of treatment of the problems.

One must, of course, remember that those we call pests are part of nature, we concentrate large numbers of plants (and aloes) in a small area, creating a very friendly environment for the predators, therefore we have no choice but to take over and control. It is also worthwhile to remember that we must be as eco-friendly as possible. Always be aware of your own safety as well as that of visitors, which includes friends like birds and bees.

We would welcome any input and advice from our readers. If you have photos of pests, please send those to us.

The article is divided into three sections, the first part deals with the various pests found on aloes as well as possible treatments, the second part gives a proposed treatment programme. Part three gives a list of recommended pesticides.


Part one: The Enemy

Insects

To control insects (including snout beetles, scale, and others) we currently use a systemic insecticide, marketed under the names Bandit or Aphicide Plus (active ingredient Imadacloprid), very successfully. Every Spring and Autumn every aloe in the garden is treated with 2 to 5 litre (depending on the size of the plant) mixture of Imadacloprid and water, this is poured at the base of the plant. The systemic pesticide is absorbed by the roots and is effective for months. One could of course use any of the insecticides proposed below for treatment. In many cases an eco-friendly solution would be the use of a soapy mixture.


Snout beetles

This is a photo of the larger snout beetle (photo by Cornelia Hanekom). This snoutbeetle can be up to 25mm long and normally found on the underside of leaves. It is mostly found on stemless aloes and as in the case of the smaller snoutbeetle the larvae eventually destroy the plant stem.