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by carolyn
(del mar, CA)

i have a large out door aloe tree that seems to have white fuzzy deposits on the branches and to the touch it is sticky what is it? should i do something?

Hi Carolyn, without seeing some pictures of this, I can only guess what this is; the white fuzzy part sounds suspiciously like mealy bugs, which are a grey insect which covers itself with a white cottony substance for protection.

The sticky stuff is ‘honey dew’ which they excrete.

These bugs will drain a plant if you don’t get rid of them, and you will have to keep a close eye on that plant, and any others that it might have come in contact with.

Here’s my favorite way to get rid of them; keep in mind that this is not very scientific, and your results may vary;

Get a spray bottle, fill about half full with warm water; add about half a teaspoon of Safers insecticidal soap, or dish soap (not detergent) and then add about four teaspoons of isopropyl alcohol; shake to mix, and add warm water to top it up (this will make about one quart).

Thoroughly spray the whole plant, including the soil surface.

Make sure to get under the leaves and in the axils of the leaf as well.

Do this a couple of times in succession, several days apart, and you will see the plant heave a great sigh of relief. Don’t relax too soon, as these bugs are pernicious; just when you think you’ve finally got rid of them, you’ll see them again.

Don’t spray this mixture in full sun or you’ll burn the plant.