Also known as Red mite, these tiny invertebrates attack the surface of your fruit (often around the stalk), not harming the juicy flesh inside.
Plant Part: Leaves, branches and fruit.
Season: Spring - Autumn.
Symptoms: You may notice this pesty mite on the new growth of your citrus tree. They attack the outer exposed surface of the fruit causing it to look rusty/spotty in appearance. Rust mites can also cause bronzing of leaves and green twigs. Look for white cast-off skins on the leaf and fruit surface to confirm mite infestation. Thrives in dry conditions.
Control: The damage caused by citrus rust mites is mostly cosmetic, so if you aren't planning to sell your fruit, citrus rust mite control isn't really necessary. If you do want to spray your tree, Eco oil or Eco Neem will help keep this mite under control.
Preventative: Keep your trees fed, mulched and watered correctly so they stay healthy. A healthy non stressed tree is more resistant to infestations.
Attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Ladybird beetles are useful garden insects for many forms of pest control and especially useful in minimizing mite populations. There are other types of mites, which kill citrus mites. In order to increase these varieties of mites, as well as other beneficial insects, avoid using a broad-spectrum insecticide in your yard.
References: NSW Department of Primary Industries, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia , University of Florida - Matthew Orwat, Gardening Knowhow, Don Ferrin, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Bugwood.org and the FST team.
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