These little mites cannot be seen with the naked eye. Citrus bud mites live in the flower and leaf buds. They don’t like hot and dry conditions. This microscopic mite is a tiny 0.17mm in length, creamy colour and worm-like.
Plant Part: Blossoms and leaves
Season: Spring to late summer
Symptoms: Citrus bud mites feeding in the foliage and flower buds cause distortion of shoots, deformed blossoms and sometimes deformed fruit. Foliage produced from infested buds is seriously distorted. Rosetting or bunching of leaves at the apex of the shoot is common. Bud mite damage to the blossom buds causes deformed flowers and these sometimes set and produce distorted and sometimes grotesquely shaped fruit. Lemons and navel oranges are especially susceptible.
Control: Applying a white/pest oil when your citrus tree is coming into flower may help or you can apply wettable sulphur two to three months before the bloom that is to be protected. Control can be difficult as the mite is protected within the leaf or flower bud.
Preventative: Encouraging beneficial bugs to your garden will help control this little mite. They travel in the wind.
References: Department of Primary Industries NSW , Plant Doctor, Kings Plant Barn, Growing Lemons in Australia - A Production Manual, UCIPM, Jack Kelly Clark, UC Statewide IPM Project for images, and our FST team.
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