Meet The Insects That Could Damage Your Cacti, Agave & Yucca

Our Texas insect expert answers common questions about bugs.

By Laura RiceJuly 30, 2018 11:05 am,

There is nothing like driving through west Texas and seeing open ranges with plenty of yucca trees. Picking out a few decorative succulents for your home might be just as satisfying — but not if some insects begin to mess with your xeriscaping.

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office insect specialist Wizzie Brown has some tips on how to treat bugs on your cacti.

What do cactus bugs look like?

“The cactus coreids are going to be about one-half inch or two-quarters to three-quarters of an inch when they’re full grown. These like to get on prickly pear and you will see [coreids] covering the pads. They’re kind of a reddish, purplish color and as immatures, they don’t have wings, but they will get wings when they turn into the adult stage. If you see yellowing on the cactus pad, you need to look for some of these bugs.”

How do I get rid of the them?

“If you have [the coreids] or the cactus bugs, which are much smaller, you can do a high-pressure water spray to knock them off the plant. Another option [is] you can do is insecticidal soap. Another option, and I would wear gloves if you do this, is breaking off those heavily-infested pads and disposing of them. If your entire cactus is covered then that might not be an option.”

Learn more by listening to the audio.


Written by Haley Butler.