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Insects that Attack Citrus Trees

By Edited Oct 3, 2016 0 0

Wikimedia Commons Patanga japonica larva

Citrus trees can be grown all throughout the United States but grow best in the warmer climates provided by the west and south. Citrus trees make great landscape trees, but when grown for fruit purposes there are many insects that can attack and cause fruit to be inedible. Identifying and treating for these pests is the first step to producing healthy, delicious fruit.


Wikimedia Commons Aphidoidea puceron Luc Viatour

Aphids plague citrus plants because of their sweet and numerous flowers in the spring. Aphids also suck the sap from tree leaves. If aphids attack the tree during the growing season this can be damaging to the tree because it will stunt the growth of leaves. Ahids also attract ants. Aphids are most commonly controlled by an application of insecticides on the bottom of the leaves.

Citrus Whitefly

Wikimedia Commons Silverleaf whitefly

The whitefly is a tiny white fly that attacks the underside of the citrus tree's leaves. Whitefly larvae feed on leaf sap while they are growing which causes leaves to curl up and turn brown. Whiteflies are hard to get rid of, but an insecticide targeted at the larvae will eventually reduce the overall number of flies.


Wikimedia Commons Slow is cool in this garden

Snails are also attracted to citrus trees. Snails eat tree leaves, grass, and can also bore into ripening fruit. Snails are bad for citrus trees because they ruin fruit and leaves. Snails can be controlled with removal of surrounding mold, leaves and other spots where snails can hide. Snail repellant can also be used.

Orangedog Caterpillars

Wikimedia Commons TigerSwallowtailCaterpillar

These caterpillars are a large, brown caterpillar around 2 inches long. The orangedog caterpillar is the larvae stage of the Swallowtail butterfly. These catterpillars eat the tree's leaves. The best way to get rid of these pests when they occur in small infestations is to manually remove the caterpillars from the trees by hand. Larger attacks can be controlled with insecticide, but this is usually not necessary.


Wikimedia Commons Tulip Tree Liriodendron tulipifera

Mites will often gather around citrus trees and cause the tree undue stress. Bud mites are fond of lemon trees. Red mites infect the fruit of citrus trees. An insecticide will remove these mites. Rust mites, purple mites and Texas citrus mites will also attack citrus trees depending on the growing region. An insecticide will remove these mites from the trees and fruit.

Citrus Thrips

Wikimedia Commons Thrips

Citrus Thrips will cause shriveled buds and silvery, curled leaves. These bugs are damaging because they cause the tree to become unable to flower. They will also attack young fruit. The best way to control thrips is through an application of insecticide.


Wikimedia Commons Scale and sooty mold on a Eucalyptus tree

Several different types of scales attack citrus trees depending on the growing region. Scale looks like a fungus, but is actually a type of immobile insect. The scale can appear on the wood as bumps, crust or sticky sap. Brown soft scale, red scale, citrus snow scale, purple scale and glover scale are all varieties of scale that attack citrus trees.



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