The 6 Most Common Pests that Attack Grapefruit and Other Citrus Plants

While growing your grapefruit tree indoors can help reduce the number of pests that can affect it, there may still be one or two bugs lurking around and waiting for the chance to attack your precious houseplants. Here are six of the most common pests that may attack your grapefruit tree and other indoor citrus plants.

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Citrus Leafminer

This nasty pest mines through young leaves and stems, making them curly, unsightly, and unhealthy-looking. Spraying with horticultural oil every 3 weeks during this period will prevent a leafminer outbreak. It is important to cover all the foliage including the underside of the leaves. Once damage is done, you can only prune this new growth off and spray to prevent more damage.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars can vary in colour, from black to green with colourful stripes or spots and have small fleshy spines on their bodies. They can be controlled by hand removal or spraying with a suitable insecticide.

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Snails

The common garden snail can cause extensive damage to the leaves and fruit of citrus, especially grapefruit and oranges. They start by attacking young leaves by chewing holes in them leaving severely damaged. As fruit ripens they can also attack the skin, chewing right through to the flesh. Control them by using regular snail baits following the instructions on the pack, and be careful of your animals. 

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Stink Bug

Stink bugs bronze shield shaped bugs that spray out a foul smelling liquid that can irritate eyes and skin. They generally only attack the young shoots of a tree causing them to wilt. If numbers are small, hand removal (make sure you wear gloves and safety glasses) and squashing is an easy solution. If numbers get too out of hand then spraying with chemical pesticides may be your only solution.

Scales

There are a number of different scales that affect citrus trees and include both soft and hard types. They attack most parts of a tree, from the stems and trunk (White Louse Scale), to the fruit (Red Scale). Soft scales produce large amounts of honeydew, which ants love, and this can lead to mold. Hard scales do not produce honeydew but can blemish fruit or cause leaf drop. High populations can cause the death of trees. Spraying horticultural oil can help to stop this problem, however repeated sprays will be necessary.

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Aphids

Aphids are small sap sucking insects, usually green or black normally attack the fresh new growth, distorting the leaves and excreting honeydew, which then causes the secondary problem of mold and ants. Chemical pesticides may be the only way to get rid of a serious infestation. You can also consider discarding the infected plant and starting anew.  

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