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Question: Pests

Hi everyone, I have a succulent plant whose name I don't know, which makes pretty little yellow flowers. They gave it to me and I discovered after a few days black parasites (they look like coffee powder) on the edge of the flowers and on the stems. Now they are replicating out of proportion and the flowers are withering. How can I help the plant? thanks for the info!

Answer: Pests

Dear Elena,
from how you describe the parasites, it is very likely that they are black aphids, who like to suck the sap from the leaves and young shoots of plants; they are parasites quite easy to eradicate, but it is important to do so in the most complete way possible, as even a few specimens can reproduce with great rapidity, especially in a climate that is not too cool and quite humid. The main insecticides to be used on the plants kill aphids, even the normal insecticides for plants that you find in the supermarket; remember that if you use a product contained in a canister under pressure, it should be sprayed on the leaves keeping it at a good distance, since the vaporized product that comes out of the can is at a low temperature, and if it hits the leaves without the air having it slightly heated, it can cause burns on the epidermis of the foliage. Often these insects also lurk beneath the leaves, then vaporize the product on the whole plant, as it generally works by contact, and therefore must hit the insects to kill them. There are also biological products against aphids, often based on spores of some fungi, or bacteria that affect only harmful insects, or containing macerated flowers or plants; this type of insecticides are generally less toxic for living beings in general, and are in fact very useful even when plants are kept indoors, so as not to add to the air that we breathe everyday harmful products. In any case, it is always advisable to use insecticides away from flowering plants, to prevent them from damaging bees and other pollinating insects; if your plant is on the terrace, before vaporizing it with the insecticide, bring it back home for a few hours, so as to remove the bees, and bring it back to the open a few hours after the treatment with the insecticide, regardless of whether it is a product suitable for organic farming or not. There are also insecticides, widely used with potted plants, called systemic; these insecticides are mixed with the water of the water and come into circulation in the green parts of the plant; in the garden it would be advisable not to use them with plants placed in the ground, but with potted plants they are excellent, because they are not vaporized in the air and therefore do not harm the insects that rest on the flowers. The most famous are based on imidacloprid, an active ingredient designed specifically for aphids.