Pests That Eat Succulents at Night – How to Get Rid of Them

Succulents are fascinating and low-maintenance plants that can brighten up any space. However, these plants are not immune to pests that can attack them at night. So you may end up wondering “what is eating my succulents at night?”

Mealy bugs, red spider mites, scale insects, fungus gnats, and larger animals can all be pests that eat succulents at night.

The pesky critters can munch on your succulents, leaving them weak and damaged.

But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll discuss all the common pests that eat succulents at night and the effective methods to eliminate them from your plants. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the necessary knowledge and tools to protect your succulents and prevent further damage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Common pests can eat your succulents at night and leave them damaged.
  • Identifying the culprits and their signs of damage is crucial to effectively eliminate them from your plants.
  • Various control methods, including natural remedies and chemical options, can help combat pests.
  • Prevention is key to keeping your succulents safe from pests, including good hygiene practices and providing sufficient sunlight.
  • Maintaining a healthy succulent garden can lessen the likelihood of attracting pests.

Identifying the Culprits: What is Eating My Succulents at Night?

If you’re noticing damage on your succulents, it’s important to identify the specific type of pest responsible. Here are some of the most common culprits:

Type of Pest Description
Mealy Bugs Small, white insects covered in a white, waxy substance
Red Spider Mites Small, reddish-brown arachnids that spin webs on plants
Scale Insects Tiny, oval-shaped insects that attach themselves to plants and suck out their sap
Fungus Gnats Small, black flies that lay eggs in the soil and feed on fungi and plant roots
Beneficial Insects While not technically pests, some insects like ladybugs and lacewings are beneficial in controlling other pests
Larger Animals Rabbits, deer, and other animals that can nibble on succulents
Black Bugs Small, black insects that can cause significant damage to succulent leaves and stems

Identifying the type of pest is the first step in combating the issue. You can do this by observing your plants for signs of damage and examining the pests themselves. Some pests, like mealy bugs and scale insects, are easy to spot due to their distinctive appearance. Fungus gnats and red spider mites, on the other hand, require closer inspection.

Identifying Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are tiny, black flies that are about 1/8 inch long. They lay their eggs in the soil, and the larvae feed on fungi and plant roots. To identify a fungus gnat problem, look for small, black flies hovering around your plants. You may also see tiny, white larvae wriggling in the soil.

Identifying Red Spider Mites

Red spider mites are tiny, reddish-brown arachnids that are about the size of a grain of sand. They spin webs on plants and can be difficult to spot without a magnifying glass. Look for webbing on your plant or hold a sheet of white paper under a branch and tap it gently. If you see tiny, moving specks on the paper, you likely have a red spider mite infestation.

By identifying the types of pests that are eating your succulents at night, you can take targeted steps to eliminate them and protect your plants.

Signs and Symptoms of Pest Damage on Succulents

Succulents are quite resilient and can withstand a great deal of environmental stress. However, they are not immune to pest damage, which can manifest in a variety of ways. As a succulent owner, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of pest damage on these plants.

One of the most common signs of pest damage is damage to succulent leaves. This can take many forms, from small punctures and scrapes to larger areas of missing plant tissue. If you notice jagged tear marks or black spots on your succulent leaves, this is likely a sign of pest damage. Dead leaves are also a common symptom, as pests can cause succulent leaves to wither and fall off.

Another indication that your succulent is being attacked by pests is a fungal attack. Certain pests, such as mealybugs and scale insects, secrete a waxy substance that can trap moisture on succulent leaves, creating the perfect environment for fungal growth. If you see a white, powdery substance on your succulents, this is likely a sign of a fungal attack.

Signs of Pest Damage on Succulent Roots

In addition to leaves, pests can also damage succulent roots. This can cause the entire plant to suffer, resulting in wilting, stunting, or death. Signs of root damage can be difficult to spot, but they may include black roots or a general lack of roots altogether.

To check for root damage, gently remove your succulent from its pot and inspect the roots. Healthy succulent roots should be firm and white or tan in color. If you notice any soft or discolored areas, this is likely a sign of root damage caused by pests.

What to Do if You Suspect Pest Damage on Your Succulent Plants

If you suspect that your succulent plants are being attacked by pests, it’s important to act quickly. Start by examining your plants closely, looking for the signs and symptoms of pest damage we have discussed. Once you have identified the cause of the damage, you can take steps to eliminate the pests and prevent further damage to your plants.

Depending on the severity of the pest infestation and the type of pest, you may need to use insecticides or other chemical treatments to eradicate the pests. Alternatively, you can try natural remedies like neem oil or isopropyl alcohol. In some cases, simply removing affected leaves or plants may be enough to prevent the spread of the infestation.

No matter what method you choose, it’s important to stay vigilant and keep a close eye on your succulent plants. By catching pest damage early and taking swift action, you can help your plants stay healthy and thrive.

Common Pests Control Methods for Succulents

When it comes to controlling pests that eat succulents at night, there are several natural remedies you can use. These methods are effective, safe, and easy to apply with the right tools. Here are some common pest control methods you can try:

1. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is derived from the seeds of the neem tree. It is effective against a wide range of pests and can be used as a preventive measure or to treat existing infestations. To use, dilute the neem oil with water and spray your succulents, making sure to get the underside of the leaves. Repeat every 7-14 days until the pests are gone.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is an effective way to kill pests on contact. Simply mix a 50/50 solution of water and isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and apply to the affected areas of your succulents. Be sure to rinse your plants with water after application to remove any residual alcohol.

3. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a natural pesticide that is made from potassium salts of fatty acids. It works by breaking down the outer protective layer of the pests, which causes them to dehydrate and die. To use, dilute the insecticidal soap with water and spray your succulents until they are completely covered. Repeat every 7-10 days.

4. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance that is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. It works by dehydrating the pests and can be used as a preventive measure or to treat existing infestations. To use, sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around the base of your succulents and on the leaves. You can also mix it with water to create a spray. Be sure to wear a mask when applying diatomaceous earth, as it can irritate your lungs.

5. Soapy Water

Another effective way to control pests is by using soapy water. Mix a few drops of dish soap with water and spray your succulents, making sure to get the underside of the leaves. The soap will suffocate the pests, causing them to die. Rinse your plants with water after application to remove any residual soap.

6. Water Pressure

If you have a severe infestation of pests on your succulents, a high-pressure water spray can be effective in removing them. Use a nozzle attachment on your hose to spray your plants, making sure to get the underside of the leaves. Repeat every 2-3 days until the pests are gone.

7. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a natural deterrent for pests and can be used to keep them away from your succulents. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and spray your plants. Be sure to avoid spraying too much, as the oil can burn the leaves of your succulents.

Remember to always test any new pest control method on a small area of your succulents before applying it to the entire plant. This will help you avoid any damage to your plants and ensure the method is effective.

Preventing Pests from Attacking Succulent Plants

Prevention is the best way to keep your succulents safe from pests. By implementing a few easy measures, you can protect your plants and keep them healthy.

Good Hygiene Practices

First and foremost, it’s essential to practice good hygiene when caring for your succulent plants. Be sure to remove any dead leaves or plant debris from the soil surface regularly. This helps to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and fungi, which can attract pests.

Healthy Plants

Keeping your succulent plants healthy is another key factor in preventing pest infestations. Be sure to provide them with the proper growing conditions, including well-draining soil and adequate water. Additionally, avoid over-fertilizing your plants, as this can make them more vulnerable to pests.

Direct Sunlight

Most succulents require direct sunlight to thrive. When your plants receive enough sun, they grow stronger and are better equipped to resist pest attacks. Be sure to place your plants in a sunny location and monitor them regularly for signs of damage.

Arid Climate

Succulent plants are adapted to arid climates, which means they are naturally resistant to pests and diseases. By mimicking their natural environment, you can help keep your plants healthy and pest-free. Avoid overwatering or allowing your plants to sit in wet soil, as this can create the perfect environment for pests to thrive.

By following these simple tips, you can prevent pests from attacking your succulent plants and keep them healthy for years to come. Good luck!

Dealing with Larger Animals and Small Creatures

If you’re dealing with larger animals or small creatures that are harming your succulents, don’t worry – there are ways to protect your plants and prevent further damage.

One effective method is to cover your succulents with a plastic bag or other barrier material. This will prevent rabbits, deer, and other larger animals from getting to your plants.

Another important factor to consider is managing organic matter around your succulents. This can attract pests like snails and slugs, which can cause significant damage to your plants. Keep the area around your succulents clean and free of debris to discourage these unwanted visitors.

In some cases, planting prickly pear or other cacti varieties near your succulents can help deter larger animals from getting too close. Additionally, consider using natural deterrents like predator urine or garlic spray to keep pests at bay.

Organic Matter Management Plastic Bag Method Prickly Pear Planting
Clean up debris around succulents Cover plants with a plastic bag or similar barrier Plant prickly pear or other cacti varieties nearby
Discourage snails and slugs from visiting Prevents rabbits, deer, and other larger animals from getting to your plants Can help deter larger animals from getting too close
Creates a cleaner and healthier environment for your succulents An easy and effective method for protecting your plants Provides a natural defense against animal intruders

Remember that some small animals like ladybugs and praying mantises can actually be beneficial to your garden, so use caution when choosing methods to protect your succulents.

Examining the Role of Fungal Diseases in Succulent Pest Control

Fungal diseases pose a threat to succulent plants, making them vulnerable to pest attacks. To effectively combat pests that eat succulents at night, it’s vital to understand the role of fungal diseases in succulent pest control.

One of the ways fungi can impact succulent plants is through waxy secretions. When fungal spores land on a plant’s surface, they release a sticky substance that attracts other pests, such as ants, which in turn, can protect the fungal colony by warding off predators.

Fungi can also weaken the plant by feeding on plant juices, leaving it susceptible to attack. The tender new growth and new leaves are particularly vulnerable during fungal attacks, as they lack the protective barriers of more mature leaves.

To protect your succulents from fungal diseases, ensure they are in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation, and avoid over-watering. Trim away any infected leaves and apply a fungicide to prevent further spread.

Preventing Fungal Diseases in Succulent Plants

To prevent fungal diseases from taking hold, keep your succulent plants in a dry environment with well-draining soil and avoid over-fertilizing. Good hygiene practices, such as removing dead leaves and debris, can also help prevent fungal growth.

Recognizing Fungal Attack in Succulent Plants

Signs of fungal attack in succulent plants include the appearance of black spots on leaves and stems, as well as a soft, mushy texture in affected areas. White or grayish spores may also appear on the surface of leaves, especially in humid conditions.

Using Beneficial Insects for Natural Pest Control

Succulent owners have a secret weapon in the fight against pests: beneficial insects! These creatures can be powerful allies in natural pest control. Not only do they help eliminate pests, but they also promote a healthy ecosystem within your garden. Let’s explore how to use beneficial insects for natural pest control.

Attracting Beneficial Insects

The first step in using beneficial insects is to attract them to your garden. Some common beneficial insects include ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises. Here are a few tips for creating an environment where they can thrive:

  • Plant a variety of flowers that produce nectar, such as milkweed, daisies, and marigolds. This will attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, which in turn will attract predators like ladybugs.
  • Allow some areas of your garden to remain wild and unkempt. Beneficial insects need places to hide and lay their eggs.
  • Minimize the use of pesticides and other chemicals that can harm beneficial insects.

Using White Flowers

Believe it or not, white flowers can be particularly effective in attracting beneficial insects. Many beneficial insects are attracted to white flowers because they reflect UV light. Here are a few white flowers to consider planting in your garden:

By utilizing white flowers in your garden, you can create a welcoming environment for beneficial insects and help keep pests at bay.

Dealing with an Infested Plant

If you have an infested plant, introducing beneficial insects can be an effective way to eliminate the pests. Ladybugs, for example, are known to devour aphids and mealybugs. Here’s how to introduce beneficial insects to an infested plant:

  • Inspect the plant to determine the extent of the infestation.
  • Release the beneficial insects near the affected plant. Make sure to follow the instructions for releasing the insects, as some species require specific conditions.
  • Monitor the infested plant to ensure the beneficial insects are doing their job.

Preventative Measures

Remember, prevention is key in natural pest control. By attracting beneficial insects to your garden and maintaining a healthy environment, you can reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation.

If you already have beneficial insects in your garden, consider introducing new plants that will attract them.

Using beneficial insects for natural pest control is an effective, eco-friendly way to protect your succulent plants. By attracting these helpful creatures to your garden, you can create a thriving ecosystem that benefits both your plants and the environment.

Chemical Control Options for Severe Infestations

While natural pest control methods are often effective, severe infestations may require chemical control options. When considering the use of chemical treatments, it’s important to understand the potential risks and benefits.

Systemic insecticides are a type of chemical treatment that is absorbed by the plant and transported throughout its system, making them effective against pests that may be difficult to reach with other treatments. However, they can also have harmful effects on beneficial insects and other non-target species if used inappropriately.

If you have an infected plant in your plant, it is crucial to isolate it and treat it separately to prevent the spread of pests to other plants. Additionally, it’s important to use chemical treatments sparingly and with caution to avoid harm to your plants and the environment.

If you’re not sure whether the use of chemical treatments is a good idea for your specific situation, it’s always best to seek professional advice from an experienced pest control specialist. They can help you develop an integrated pest management plan that balances the use of natural and chemical control methods to create a safe and effective solution for your succulents.

Maintaining a Healthy Succulent Garden

Keeping your succulent garden healthy is vital in preventing pests from attacking your plants. Here are a few tips to keep your plants healthy:

Managing the Soil Surface

The soil surface around your succulent plants should be kept weed-free and clean, as pests can hide in debris and dead leaves. Use a hand trowel to gently remove any weeds and debris from around the plants.

Using Aloe Vera as a Natural Remedy

Aloe vera can help keep your succulent plants healthy. Simply mix a small amount of aloe vera gel with water and use it to water your plants. Aloe vera has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help protect your plants from pests and diseases.

Utilizing Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

Mixing a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water and spraying it on your plants can help deter pests. Be sure to test the mixture on a small area of your plant first to ensure it doesn’t damage the leaves.

Ensuring Your Plants Receive Adequate Sunlight

Succulent plants require full sun to thrive. Be sure your plants are placed in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. If your plants are not receiving enough sunlight, they may become weak and more susceptible to pests.


Protecting your succulent garden from pests is a vital task for any plant lover. By taking the time to identify the culprits, understand the signs of pest damage, and utilize effective control and prevention methods, you can keep your plants healthy and thriving.

Remember to maintain good hygiene practices, provide your plants with sufficient direct sunlight, and avoid overwatering. Consider using natural remedies like neem oil, insecticidal soap, and beneficial insects whenever possible.

If you encounter severe infestations, chemical control options may be necessary, but use them with caution. Seek professional advice when dealing with an infected plant collection.

Stay VigilantAlways keep an eye out for signs of pest damage, and act quickly to address any issues that arise. With proper care and attention, your succulent garden can provide years of beauty and enjoyment.

Thank you for reading. Good luck with your pest management efforts!


How can I identify the pests that are eating my succulents at night?

Look out for signs of mealy bugs, red spider mites, scale insects, fungus gnats, and black bugs. Beneficial insects and larger animals may also play a role in damaging your succulents.

What are the signs and symptoms of pest damage on succulents?

Common signs of pest damage on succulents include damaged leaves, black spots, dead leaves, jagged tear marks, and signs of fungal attack.

What are some common control methods for pests that eat succulents at night?

Some common control methods include using neem oil, isopropyl alcohol, insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, soapy water, water pressure, and even peppermint oil as a deterrent.

How can I prevent pests from attacking my succulent plants?

Good hygiene practices, keeping your plants healthy, providing sufficient direct sunlight, and leveraging the natural defenses of an arid climate can help prevent pests from attacking your succulent plants.

How do I deal with larger animals and small creatures that pose a threat to my succulents?

To deal with larger animals and small creatures, consider using plastic bags, managing organic matter around your plants, and protecting your succulents from animals like rabbits and insects like snails.

What role do fungal diseases play in succulent pest control?

Fungal diseases can weaken succulents and make them more susceptible to pest attacks. Protecting tender new growth, new leaves, and addressing fungal attacks is important for succulent pest control.

How can I use beneficial insects for natural pest control on my succulents?

Attracting beneficial insects to your garden can help control pests on your succulents. Learn how to create an environment where these helpful creatures thrive and consider planting white flowers to attract them.

Are there chemical control options for severe pest infestations on succulents?

In severe cases, chemical control options such as systemic insecticides may be necessary. However, these measures should be used sparingly and with caution. Seeking professional advice is recommended, especially when dealing with an infected plant collection.

How can I maintain a healthy succulent garden to prevent pest attacks?

Managing the soil surface, using aloe vera as a natural remedy, incorporating tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and ensuring your succulents receive adequate sunlight can help maintain a healthy environment and prevent pest attacks.

Plant Benefits
Dill Attracts ladybugs and hoverflies
Alyssum Attracts lacewings and parasitic wasps
Yarrow Attracts ladybugs and predatory wasps

Shield Bug at Tsimbazaza Zoo, Antananarivo by Leonora (Ellie) Enking is licensed under CC2.0

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