I recently bought a golden barrel cactus (about two months ago), judging by its size I would say the plant is about a year old. Everything has been perfect with it until Saturday. I usually water or at least check to see if it needs water. On Saturday I noticed the bottom was limp, apon closer inspection the base of the cactus was soggy and googey. There are small bugs inside the cactus, which is now almost compleatly hollowed out. What could thuse be? Please help.
Why is My Cactus Going Soft? is an article on the Gardening Know How website. It has some pertinent information about this problem for you to read. The following is a quote from part of that article.
Cactus Problems with Fungal and Bacterial Diseases:
Bacteria and fungus are introduced to the plant from openings in the flesh. The open areas may be from insect or animal activity, damage from inanimate objects or heavy weather, such as hail. The action of injury isn’t important, but the damage from fungal spores or bacteria is crucial. Warm, moist conditions accelerate the production of fungi spores and increase bacterial production. Once the organism takes hold in your plant, you will see soft, mushy cactus. Symptoms to watch for include small sunken spots, discolored scabs, round soft areas surrounded by fruiting bodies, and black or other colored dots on the surface of the cacti skin. You may even notice some oozing of your cactus plants.
Treating Cactus Rot Issues:
Cactus problems that have gotten into the root usually result in a slowly dying plant, while topical issues in the upper body can be treated easily. Most cacti respond well to excising the diseased tissue. Use a sharp sterile knife to dig out the damaged flesh and allow the hole to dry out. Don’t water overhead as the wound closes.
If the damage has infected the roots, there is very little you can do. You can try to repot the plant, removing diseased soil and replacing it with sterile soil. You should wash the roots off well before replanting in fresh potting medium.
A soft, mushy cactus can also be saved by taking cuttings and letting them root for a fresh new plant. Allow the cutting to callus over for a few days before you insert it into sand. Rooting the cutting may take several weeks. This method of propagation will produce a healthy cactus that is the same as the parent plant.