While getting a houseplant for your home, you might want to make sure that it doesn’t attract a lot of insects. After all, it is true that insects find certain houseplants to be more attractive than the rest.
The last thing you need in your home is an infestation of insects, thanks to your favorite houseplants. In case you are planning to buy an aloe vera plant, you might be wondering if it would attract mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are one of those pests that you would want to keep out of your home at all costs. Besides the fact that mosquito bites cause a great deal of irritation and itching on the skin, these insects are a vector of several major diseases.
Do mosquitoes like aloe vera?
No, mosquitoes do not like aloe vera plants.
If you feel concerned about your aloe plants inviting mosquitoes to your home, you may rest assured that they wouldn’t. In fact, aloe vera is one of the best natural mosquito repellants.
Applying aloe gel over your skin can even protect you from mosquito bites, by keeping mosquitoes away. However, do note that your aloe vera plant wouldn’t keep mosquitoes from entering the room.
Often, sellers try to market their aloe plants as something that would keep your home free from these insects. While this is untrue, mosquitoes would indeed avoid flying close to the plant.
Hence, rather than being scared about your aloe vera plant attracting mosquitoes, you could place the pot strategically to keep mosquitoes away from specific parts of your home.
Does aloe vera plant attract insects?
Although aloe plants do not attract mosquitoes, you might find other bugs and insects around your aloe vera. Aloe vera plants do not secrete any scent or juices that would generally attract bugs.
However, there are certain insects that visit aloe vera plants specifically to feed on them. The leaves of aloe plants are fleshy and full of juices, a great snack for the following bugs.
Mites, especially a species commonly known as aloe mites, wart mites, and aloe gall mites, tend to infest aloe plants. These mites are microscopic, and you may have trouble finding them even with a magnifier.
When aloe mites start feeding on the leaves of an aloe plant, they secrete certain chemicals. This results in the formation of lumps on the leaves, which help to shelter the mites even better.
These tiny insects are flat in shape and barely move around once they find a good spot on a leaf. Often, scales are hard to identify as they simply look like a wound or a piece of dirt.
These insects suck out the juices of aloe plants by piercing the leaves. This, in turn, depletes the leaves and eventually causes them to turn yellow and die. Unlike aloe mites, scales are easy to find if you take a close look.
Mealybugs are a common menace for a variety of houseplants and can ruin your beautiful aloe vera if you aren’t careful. These fuzzy, white, and tiny insects like to colonize around the base of the aloe vera plant, as it provides the females with a safe place to lay eggs.
These mealybugs penetrate the leaves to suck out and consume the sap inside.
As a result, the leaves discolor, tissues distort, and the plant stops growing. Moreover, mealybugs also release a sugary and sticky substance called honeydew, which attracts ants and mold.
How to get rid of insects from your aloe plant?
Once you find bugs on your aloe plant or notice signs of a mite infestation, you should immediately get to work to remove them.
The longer you leave the bugs on the plant, the more damage they would cause. Here are a few steps that you could take to save your plant. Some of these may or may not be applicable, depending on the problem.
Removing dead leaves
Bear in mind that dead and curling leaves tend to attract insects especially more. You should remove these leaves to make the plant less habitable for them, besides getting rid of any insects that might be living on these leaves.
As scales are clearly visible, they are easy to remove. All you have to do is take a clean knife and run it gently over the leaf to scrape off these insects.
However, be careful to not damage the leaves in this process. If scraping isn’t effective, you could take a cotton swab saturated with rubbing alcohol and clean the leaves with it.
Dealing with a mite infestation
Unfortunately, you cannot do much about an aloe mite infestation. Not only are these mites immune to most miticides and pesticides, but the damage might also be too extensive before you even realize it. All you can do is prune away the infested leaf and keep the plant in a clean and sunny area to prevent further infestation.
Getting rid of mealybugs
The waxy coating on mealybugs tends to protect them from various pesticides. The best way to get rid of them is to do it manually. Grab the adult mealybugs and their eggs with your hands and pick them off.
In case you have trouble reaching an area or feel uncomfortable about doing it this way, you could use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol instead.
However, first, test it by applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a part of the leaf that usually stays out of sight. This would help you ensure that the alcohol wouldn’t cause any damage to the leaves.
Clean the plant and use natural pesticides
Wiping the leaves clean with a damp piece of cloth would help you get rid of mold. You could also use pesticides to get rid of bugs. However, try to find out natural pesticides that wouldn’t pose a health hazard to you or your family.
Ways to keep bugs away from aloe vera plant
- Do not overwater: Aloe vera plants thrive the best in dry conditions. Overwatering your aloe plant could cause the root to rot, alongside other problems. This weakens the plant, making it vulnerable to bugs. Insects tend to attack aloe vera plants particularly when they grow weak.
- Provide a sunny environment: Bugs naturally prefer thriving in moist and humid environments. Leaving your aloe vera plant in the sunlight would help keep away bugs and mites. The heat of the sunlight also prevents the growth of fungal colonies.
- Do not keep too many plants together: The more plants you keep in a pot, the moister it becomes. This helps to create an ideal habitat for bugs, attracting them to the pot. Instead, plant your aloe vera plants in different pots.
- Fertilize the soil: Adding some fertilizers to the soil would help the plant get all the nutrition it needs and grow stronger. As mentioned earlier, strong and healthy plants are less attractive to bugs. Such a plant would also survive better against a mite infestation.
- Prune old leaves: Once leaves start growing old, you might want to prune them off if the plant is too bushy already. Removing the dying leaves would help to keep away bugs, besides helping you detect any mite infestation near the plant’s base.
You need not worry about your aloe vera plant attracting mosquitoes, because it wouldn’t. However, be wary of other bugs that might come to feed on the plant.
Be proactive and fix the problem before the pests inflict extensive damage. Better still, protect your aloe vera plant by providing it with the right environment and adequate nutrition.