Live to Plant

How to Get Rid of Crusader Bugs on Donkey Ear Plant

Updated: June 28, 2022

Donkey ear plant (Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri) is a succulent that is known for its large, oval-shaped leaves which resemble the ears of a donkey. The plant is easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of environments. However, like all plants, it is susceptible to pest infestations. One of the most common pests that attack donkey ear plants are crusader bugs. These bugs are small and difficult to spot, but their effects on the plant can be devastating. In this article, we will discuss how to identify crusader bugs and how to get rid of them.

Identifying Crusader Bugs

Crusader bugs (Mictis profana) are small, flat insects that are usually brown or gray in color. They have a distinctive shield-like shape with a long proboscis that they use to pierce the leaves of the plant and feed on its sap. Crusader bugs are most active during the warmer months and tend to congregate on the undersides of the leaves.

The first sign of a crusader bug infestation is yellowing or browning of the leaves. This is because the bugs are sucking the sap out of the plant, causing it to dry out and die. If you look closely at the undersides of the leaves, you may be able to see small brown or gray insects moving around.

Getting Rid of Crusader Bugs

There are several methods you can use to get rid of crusader bugs on your donkey ear plant:

1. Manual Removal

The first step in getting rid of crusader bugs is to manually remove them from your plant. This can be done using a soft-bristled brush or by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth. Be sure to check both sides of the leaves as well as any crevices where the bugs may be hiding.

2. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a safe and effective way to get rid of crusader bugs on your donkey ear plant. It works by suffocating the bugs and breaking down their protective coating. To use insecticidal soap, mix it according to the instructions on the label and spray it directly onto the leaves of the plant, being sure to cover both sides of the leaves thoroughly.

3. Neem Oil

Neem oil is another natural insecticide that can be used to get rid of crusader bugs on your donkey ear plant. It works by disrupting the bugs’ hormonal balance, causing them to stop feeding and eventually die. To use neem oil, dilute it according to the instructions on the label and spray it directly onto the leaves of the plant.

4. Chemical Insecticides

If manual removal, insecticidal soap, or neem oil are not effective in getting rid of crusader bugs, you may need to resort to chemical insecticides. However, it is important to use these products with caution as they can be harmful to both your plant and the environment. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and wear protective clothing when applying them.

Preventing Crusader Bug Infestations

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to pest infestations. Here are some tips for preventing crusader bugs from attacking your donkey ear plant:

  • Keep your plant healthy by providing it with adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients.
  • Avoid overwatering as this can create an environment that is conducive to pest infestations.
  • Inspect your plant regularly for signs of pest infestations and take action as soon as you notice any.
  • Keep your plant clean by removing dead leaves and debris from around it.
  • Quarantine any new plants before introducing them to your collection to ensure that they are pest-free.

FAQ

Are crusader bugs harmful to humans?

No, crusader bugs are not harmful to humans. They are only harmful to plants.

Can I use vinegar to get rid of crusader bugs?

While vinegar may be effective in getting rid of some pests, it is not recommended for use on donkey ear plants as it can damage the leaves.

How often should I inspect my donkey ear plant for pests?

It is recommended that you inspect your plant at least once a week for signs of pest infestations.

Can I use a commercial insecticide on my donkey ear plant?

Yes, you can use a commercial insecticide on your donkey ear plant, but be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and wear protective clothing when applying it.