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Under Attack? 5 Common Citrus Pests and How to Stop Them

Common Citrus Pests and How to Stop Them

Is your citrus tree under constant attack from insects or disease? Find out what citrus pests to look out for and how to stop them to protect your citrus trees.

Growing and tending to citrus trees isn’t always easy, especially outdoors. You’re constantly battling against Mother Nature and a seemingly endless number of citrus pests and fruit tree diseases bent on eating and destroying your fruits. If you’re able to fend off the onslaught of insects and drought days, then you’re rewarded with the fruits of your labor… literally.

Knowing is half the battle and being able to spot the telltale signs of these pests is the first step to defeating them. We’ve chosen some of the worst offenders with the goal of arming you with knowledge. Your citrus trees will be full of life and bearing delicious fruit in no time.

Grasshoppers Are Painful Citrus Pests

There are few more well-known heralds of spring than the grasshopper. Heading out into the yard and seeing these massive insects hopping from place to place is sure to bring a smile to your face unless they're chomping down on your citrus trees.

Grasshoppers start by chewing the leaf edges and move inward until only the primary vein is left. A few can be an annoyance, but grasshoppers can be prevalent by the thousands. They can strip entire small trees bare and have been the bane of many farmers.

Caterpillars are Not Just Butterflies

Caterpillars are even more beautiful than grasshoppers and they turn into moths and butterflies. What can be better than that? Many species of caterpillars eat citrus trees. They eat the leaves and shoots of young trees. The leaves can also be rolled and webbed.

The transformation into a butterfly may be attractive, but the damage done in preparation can be a nightmare for citrus growers. They feed on the leaves before entering their cocoon or web.

Citrus Leafminer Digs Into Leaves

The citrus leafminer isn’t looking for gold in the leaves like traditional miners and that’s bad news for citrus growers.

Just like miners, they dig tunnels under the surface of leaves that are either pale or black. Black tunnels are filled with excrement. You’ll notice the tunnels and leaves can be galled, rolled or distorted.

Citrus Whitefly Attracts Other Insects

Many citrus insects are easily spotted because they leave their marks on top of the leaves or chew the entire leaf. The citrus whitefly is sneakier and only eats the bottom of the leaves. They also lay their eggs and the larvae suck the sap from the leaves.

They excrete a substance called honeydew, unmetabolized sugar from the sap that sticks to the leaves and attracts other insects such as ants.

If you want to know if you’ve got a citrus whitefly infestation, just shake a few branches. The small white insects will detach and flutter around the tree.

Citrus Thrips Attack Leaves and Fruit

These yellow or orange insects do more than just damage leaves, they also attack young fruit. They want the tree sap and also lay their eggs. The larvae eat the leaves and fruit, especially during periods of hot weather with little moisture.

You’ll notice a citrus thrip infestation if you see silvery or scabbed fruit and silver-grey leaves that are curled or distorted.

Bounce Back From Tree Pests

These are only a few of the many citrus pests that can plague an orchard. Small young citrus fruit trees are the most vulnerable and those stressed by drought or disease. Learn the signs of these pests and protect your trees from citrus tree diseases.

For more information about citrus trees or their natural enemies, check our insightful video and instructions on citrus pest and disease control, and please explore our citrus blog.