Updated: July 2, 2023


The Life Saver plant, also known as Huernia Zebrina, is a unique and captivating succulent known for its eye-catching star-shaped flowers. However, like any other plant, it can fall victim to various pests and diseases. One common problem faced by Life Saver plant owners is the presence of borers. These tiny insects can wreak havoc on your plant if left untreated. In this article, we will discuss what borers are, how to identify them, and most importantly, how to get rid of them to keep your Life Saver plant healthy and thriving.

Understanding Borers

Borers are insect larvae that tunnel into the stems or trunks of plants, causing damage by feeding on the inner tissues. They belong to the order Coleoptera and are often mistaken for worms due to their elongated bodies. When it comes to the Life Saver plant, the most common borer species encountered is the cactus borer (Cactoblastis cactorum). These borers primarily target cacti and succulents, including the Life Saver plant.

Identifying Borers

To effectively combat borers on your Life Saver plant, you first need to be able to identify their presence. Here are a few key signs that indicate the presence of borers:

  1. Holes or tunnels: Look for small holes or tunnels on the stem or trunk of your plant. Borers create these openings as they burrow inside.
  2. Sawdust-like frass: Borers leave behind frass, which resembles sawdust or fine powder. This residue can often be found near the entrance holes.
  3. Wilting or discoloration: Infested plants may show signs of wilting or discoloration, as borers disrupt the flow of water and nutrients within the plant.
  4. Presence of larvae: In some cases, you may be able to spot the actual borer larvae inside the tunnels or near the entrance holes.

Getting Rid of Borers

Now that you know how to identify borers on your Life Saver plant, it’s time to take action and eliminate them. Here are some effective methods to get rid of borers:

1. Pruning

One of the most straightforward ways to remove borers from your Life Saver plant is through pruning. Start by identifying the infested areas, which will typically show signs of wilting or discoloration. Using clean and sharp pruning shears, carefully remove the affected parts of the plant, ensuring that you cut well below the visible damage. Dispose of the pruned branches away from your garden to prevent further infestation.

2. Applying Insecticides

If pruning alone doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to resort to using insecticides. Choose a product specifically formulated to target borers and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. It is essential to use insecticides sparingly and only when absolutely necessary, as they can be harmful to beneficial insects and other plants in your garden. Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and a mask, when handling chemicals.

3. Biological Control

Another effective method for controlling borers on your Life Saver plant is through biological control. This approach involves introducing natural predators or parasites that feed on borers into your garden. Ladybugs, lacewings, and certain wasp species are known to prey on borers and can help keep their populations in check. You can attract these beneficial insects by planting companion plants that provide them with nectar and shelter.

4. Cultural Practices

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to pest control. By implementing certain cultural practices, you can reduce the risk of borers infesting your Life Saver plant. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Proper watering: Borers are more likely to target plants that are stressed or weakened. Ensure that your Life Saver plant receives adequate water without becoming waterlogged.
  • Well-draining soil: Use well-draining soil for your Life Saver plant to prevent excess moisture accumulation, which can attract borers.
  • Regular inspection: Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of borers or other pests. Early detection can help prevent infestations from spreading and causing extensive damage.
  • Sanitation: Keep your garden clean by removing fallen leaves, debris, and dead plant material. These can serve as breeding grounds for borers and other pests.

5. Quarantine

If you have multiple plants in your garden, it’s crucial to quarantine any newly acquired plants before introducing them to your existing collection. This practice helps prevent the spread of borers and other pests to healthy plants. Keep the new plant isolated for a few weeks and monitor it closely for any signs of infestation before integrating it with your other plants.


Borers can be a significant threat to the health and vitality of your Life Saver plant. However, by being vigilant and taking appropriate measures, you can effectively control and eliminate these pests. Remember to identify the signs of borers, implement cultural practices to prevent infestations, and use methods such as pruning, insecticides, biological control, and quarantine when necessary. With proper care and attention, you can ensure that your Life Saver plant thrives pest-free, allowing you to enjoy its unique beauty for years to come.