Oranges originated from China and traveled through Europe to reach North America. Orange trees reach heights of 22 to 30 feet when healthy. Orange trees are prone to many of the same pest problems as other fruit trees. There are certain pests which feed on orange trees, causing damage to both the tree and fruit.
What Kinds of Pests Infect Orange Trees?
Look for six main types of pests that infect orange trees. These include mites, scale, mealybugs, flies, caterpillers and aphids. Both scale insects and flies have many individual types of pests that attack orange trees. The fly category includes whiteflies, fruit flies and the citrus blackfly.
What are the Signs of Pest Infestation in Orange Trees?
Look for egg sacks on the underside of leaves; this is a sign of aphid and whitefly invasion. If the fruit show signs of being eaten, this is the result of mealybugs, scales and mites. Aphids, mites and caterpillers eat young leaves and sprouts. Examine any holes for powdery buildup; this could be a sign of the citrus snow scale that attacks the wood or burrowing nematodes. The purple scale, aphid and whitefly larvae eat sap from the leaves, causing browning of the leaves.
How is Fruit Affected by Pests?
Look for oranges to be smaller and disfigured in the case of mites. Premature falling fruit may be a sign of scale infestation. Green spots can signal chaff scale.
What Other Problems Can Insects Cause?
Look for honeydew to develop on branches the trunk; this is caused by mealybugs and aphids. Fungal infections can also occur after honeydew buildup. Look for mold to form on leaves after fly larvae damage leaves.
How Are Orange Tree Pests Best Controlled?
Use water sprays from a hose to displace aphids, caterpillers and eggs left by other insects. Prune damaged vegetation to prevent pests from spreading to other areas of the orange tree. Introduce ladybugs and lacewing moths to feed on aphids, fly larvae and other crawling insects. Hang bird feeders from orange tree branches to help further control orange tree pests. Spray a horticultural oil on orange trees for a natural substitute to pesticides, thereby eliminating possible damage to fruit and new growth. Introduce parasitic wasps to help control various types of scale.