|Negative ||palmbob ||On Oct 17, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA
(Zone 8b) wrote:
This horrible microscopic creature is one of the banes of my garden (and sadly many others here in Southern California). It is a prolific spreader and causes 'cancer' like growths on aloe leaves and flowers (some species more susceptible than others). Many plants can tolerate these infections, but rarely outgrow them. The damage is permanent, and can sometimes kill the plant... but causes unsightly and bizarre growths on aloes and some aloe hybrids. It used to be though the mite carried a virus, but now it appears the entire process is the plant's response to the damage the mite does. This disease is very hard to get rid of, and most recommend tossing infected plants, quickly and washing up afterwards to prevent its spread to surrounding plants. Usually, aloes within a few feet of each other have already passed the infection by the time it's noticed... but not all aloes get it. And sometimes, if you treat repeated with an effective acaricide, and cut off the infected looking parts/suckers, you can stop the infection in that plant (or delay it a few years)... but still have to worry about surrounding plants.
I had a mite infection in a small aloe (Aloe bakeri) in a pot in which I have 5 other species of aloe, and some unrelated plants. The aloe bakeri died from the infection, and now two other aloes in the pot have it. But the super smooth or huge species (Aloe hemingii, and Aloe marlothii) seem to be at least resistant to the infection (so far).