You’ve heard of the Aloe plant, but how about the Aloe Mite?
The Aloe plant is an established favorite for gardeners, new and old.
Aloe plants have distinct thick, pointed, hollow leaves and useful refreshing juices stored inside.
The Aloes low water needs and ability to thrive with little attention makes it an excellent houseplant.
Like other succulents, all species of Aloe is easy to care for. It can be forgiving for beginners. Mild temperatures, sun, and water are all you need to raise an Aloe plant successfully.
But, the Aloe has a natural enemy we must address. The enemy is the eriophyid mite aka Aloe mite (Aceria aloinis).
What Are Aloe Mites?
The Aloe mite goes by many different names:
- Aloe Gall mite
- Aloe Gall wart
- Aloe wart mite
- Witch’s broom
No matter what you call them, they all spell out the same bitter end. As the many names suggest, the effect these mites have on the plant is not pretty.
Aloe mites (also known as aloe cancer) cause tumor-like growths on the plant. The good news is, it’s easy to see the damage in most cases.
The bad news is by the time you notice the Aloe wart. You don’t have much time to save the plant.
Aloe mites are microscopic creatures that prey upon the Aloe plant. While they cannot be seen with the naked eye, they leave an ugly trail of destruction that is hard to miss.
Most pests munch away on the vegetation until there’s nothing left. Aloe mites work in a much more dramatic fashion.
Do Aloe Mites Cause Severe Damage?
As the Aloe gall mites feed on the plant tissue, it passes on a chemical that changes the Aloe on a cellular level.
These changes result in:
- Atypical growths
- Disfigured growth
- Grotesque mutations of the stem, leaf, and flower
By the time you realize your plant is infested with mites, it’s usually too late.
The cancerous like growth caused by the mite damage leads to shriveled up clusters of leaves and flowers. Think of how a wart might develop on the skin.
These grotesque warts grow and spread across the plant as the Aloe mites continue to feed. A sudden gust of wind spreads the mite population on to the next plant in your garden.
Preventive Control of Aloe Galls Mites Is It Possible?
There is some debate on how well you can treat Aloe mites.
Many seasoned Aloe growers, gardeners, and professional landscapers agree that cutting your losses is the best thing to do. After marginal success, they recommend removing the plant from your garden from root to stem.
If you decide to trim out the plant’s warty spots or discard the infected plant, be careful not to spread the Aloe mites to other plants in your home or garden.
NOTE: Do not compost the plants. Put the infected plants in garbage bags for disposal.
Make sure to thoroughly clean any knives or clippers after you use them to prune the infected Aloe. You do not want to allow these mites to live on your tools and spread them around to the rest of your garden.
NOTE: One study used several miticides that proved effective by contact to cure and to prevent aloe mite plant damage alone or in combination with cultural practices. The chemicals were: (carbaryl), translaminar (spiromesifen), and systemic insecticide (spirotetramat). [source]
Saving Your Aloe Plant
If you decide to save your Aloe plant, cover the cuts with yellow rose sulfur powder or cinnamon. The sulfur or cinnamon helps heal open wounds and protect them from any outside exposure.
After you’ve cut out the affected areas, wait for the plant to sprout again and look for any new deformities. If the sprouts are looking atypical, then it might be time to remove the Aloe plant from your garden.
With only two pairs of tiny legs on their already tiny bodies, Aloe mites are not the greatest at getting around. They are poor crawlers and rely on wind to carry them from plant to plant.
Their ability to spread makes it easy for an infestation of Aloe mite to linger in your garden for a long time.
To protect your garden. Again, most gardeners agree that the best solution is to remove the infected plant.
Succulents grow more and more popular each year. It’s why the Aloe is finding itself in more households and gardens everywhere.
Check for early signs of deformation from Eriophyid mites, especially before bringing your new Aloe home.
Growing and caring for an Aloe plant is such a fun and rewarding experience. It can be a little scary when you find evidence of Aloe mites on your plant, though.
Check plants often to catch any problems early, saving the plant and your garden.