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Pest & Disease Control for Citrus Trees

Every plant has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your plants encounters. If available, disease-resistant varieties are the best option for easy care; and for all types of plants, proper maintenance (such as watering, pruning, spraying, weeding, and cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.

NOTE: This is part 7 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow citrus trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Red Spider Mites

Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray (Orange, Lemon, Lime)
  • A strong stream of water from your garden hose or put them in a bathtub and vigorously rinse off foliage.

Thrips

Tiny, slender, fringed wing insects ranging from 1/25 to 1/8” long. Nymphs are pale yellow and highly active and adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, black or white markings. Feed on large variety of plants by puncturing them and sucking up the contents.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray (Orange, Lemon, Lime)
  • Traps

Scale

Usually on bark of young twigs and branches, encrusted with small (1/16”) hard, circular, scaly raised bumps with yellow centers, may also be on fruit. Sap feeding weakens the tree.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray (Orange, Lemon, Lime)
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Put a drop or two of dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle and fill with water and shake to make suds. Spray every limb and leaf of the tree.

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer (Orange, Lemon, LIme)

Mealybug

Adults are 1/4” long, flat, oval shaped with a white waxy covering. Yellow to orange eggs are laid within an egg sac. Crawlers are yellow to brown in color. Over winters as an egg or very immature young in or near a white, cottony egg sac, under loose bark or in branch crotches, mostly found on north side. Damage is by contamination of fruit clusters with egg sacs, larvae, adults and honeydew, which promotes growth of black sooty mold.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray (Orange, Lemon, Lime)
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Remove and destroy infected plants.

Whitefly

Adults are tiny, white winged insects found mainly on the underside of leaves. Nymph emerge as white, flat, oval shapes. Larvae are the size of a pinhead. Suck plant juices from leaves causing them to turn yellow, appear to dry or fall off plants.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray (Orange, Lemon, Lime)
  • Traps

Leafroller

Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes ‘skeletonized’.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Thuricide® Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) (Orange)

Orange Dog Caterpillar

Large caterpillar that is brown in color and about 1½-2 inches long. They feed on the leaves of the plant. Caterpillars can rapidly strip the leaves on an entire tree in a few days. The adult butterfly, black and yellow swallowtail, lays her eggs on the leaves.

Natural Control

  • Remove and destroy caterpillars and eggs by hand.
  • Bonide® Thuricide® Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) (Orange)
NEXT: Pruning Citrus Trees
Previous: Fertilizing Citrus Trees