These little moths are attracted to the new growth on your citrus tree and lay their eggs at night. The larvae are known as Citrus Leaf Miner, they leave a trail on the leaves. They don't suck the sap like aphids and mites. Instead, they tunnel through leaf tissues as they grow.
Plant Part: Leaves and young shoots.
Season: Spring - Autumn
Symptom: Silvery snake-like trail on leaves, the leaves become twisted and distorted.
Control: Petroleum/white oil sprays can deter egg laying moths. Once the larvae have tunnelled inside the leaf, control can be a little tricky for the rest of the season. It is best to remove the infected leaves and place them in the bin to stop the leaf miner. You can also spray with Dipel - an organic treatment. If you have a bad case of leaf miner this season then it can help to avoid applying growth stimulating fertilisers during summer, as this limits the amount of new growth at the time when moth numbers are at their highest so less damage occurs.
Preventative: Look at applying a horticultural spray to new growth, White oil is commonly used.
Most citrus trees can tolerate leaf miners to an extent, and they are generally tricky to get rid of, so stay patient and keep up the treatments.
References: SGA online, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia , Department of Primary Industries NSW, and of course our FST team .
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