Say Goodbye to Cactus Bugs with These Easy Methods

Cactus plants can sometimes get pesky bugs. Let’s learn how to get rid of them in a safe and easy way.

First, it’s important to keep your cactus healthy. Make sure it gets plenty of sunlight, the right amount of water, and good air flow. Remove any dead or dried plant parts right away.

get rid of cactus bugs

If your cactus does get bugs, here are some common ones and how to treat them:

Mealybugs (Pseudococcus)

how to get rid of mealybugs on cactus

These tiny, white, cotton-like bugs are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. To get rid of them, mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol, a few drops of dish soap, and 1 quart of water. Spray this mixture on the plant and soil. Repeat once a week for 2-3 weeks.

Root Lice (Rhizoecus)

These tiny bugs, around 1/8 inch long, live on the roots and feed on the plant juices. Use the same alcohol spray treatment as for mealybugs.

Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae)

how to get rid of red spider mites on cactus

These reddish mites are extremely small, less than 1/16 inch. You may see gray webbing or brown spots on the plant. Use the alcohol spray.

Scale Insects (Coccoidea)

how to get rid of scale insects on cactus

These brown, scale-like bumps attach to the cactus. Try using neem oil, which will slowly poison most soft scales when it coats the plant.

Cyst Nematode (Cactodera cacti)

You may see little bumps on the roots where these tiny worms live. Cut off affected roots and soak the roots in 122-140°F water for a short time.

Woodlice (Oniscidea)

how to get rid of woodlice on cactus

These 1/2 inch gray, oval critters won’t badly damage healthy plants. Set upside-down potato traps to capture and remove them.


Snails can quickly munch lots of your cactus. Hand-pick them off and sprinkle with salt.


soft rot on cactus

Prevent fungus by giving your cactus good airflow, light, and removing dead matter. Established fungus is hard to eliminate.

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