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How to Treat Orange Trees for Pests

small orange tree image by Ergün Özsoy from

Abundant in warm regions around the world, orange trees are popular garden plants because of their round, plump shapes and deliciously fragrant blooms. Dwarf varieties make it possible to have an orange tree in a small garden or even in a sunny place indoors. Fresh oranges are an added bonus of having an orange tree. However, citrus trees are host to their own kinds of pests, some of which can also cause damage to other parts of your garden. Controlling orange tree pests naturally makes your trees stronger and keeps them and their fruit safe for your family.

Spray your orange trees with the hose once a week. This knocks off eggs, larvae, and worms which you can gather up and throw away. Wrap them in a plastic bag and put them in a trash container that is far away from the trees.

Check your orange trees carefully for pests at least once a month. Look at the branches and the undersides of leaves where insects and eggs often collect. Clip off any severely damaged leaves or twigs and throw them away.

Protect your trees from ants, which farm aphids and scale for their sweet secretions. These pests damage trees and fruit, and cause a fungal infection called black sooty mold. Coat the bottoms of the orange tree trunks with horticultural glue, make sure that no tree branches touch the ground, and clear away any tall grass that ants might use to get into the tree.

Spray leaves and branches with insecticidal soap early in the season to prevent aphids, spider mites, thrips and other larvae from taking over a tree. When the weather is cool, douse the orange tree with water and spray it with the soap, diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to spray all surfaces of the tree, including the bark and the tops and undersides of leaves.

Treat severe pest infestations with an insect oil spray. Sprays containing natural or synthetic pyrethrin are effective on most pests, including aphids, whiteflies, citrus leaf miners and scale. These oils kill the bugs by smothering them, and also make it difficult for larvae to attach to leaves and for females to lay eggs.

Dilute the insecticide oil as directed on the container and spray it directly onto aphids and scale, which can usually be found congregated on the undersides of leaves. Spray in the morning or evening when temperatures are below 90 degrees. Use the pesticide twice a month until the insects are mostly gone.


Most insecticidal soaps and pest oils can be used indoors, but dilution instructions for indoor use are often different. Read the instructions carefully before spraying indoors.


Even organic insect sprays should be used judiciously because they also harm beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs. Only spray your orange trees when a pest infestation has gotten so severe that there is no other way to deal with it.

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