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Protect Your Citrus Crops from Insect Pests

May 15, 2019

This season, protect your citrus orchards from damaging pests including citrus thrips, Asian citrus psyllid, and citrus rust mite.

citrus thrip

Citrus thrips                                                         

  • Adults are about 0.6 to 0.9 mm in length.
  • Adults are yellowish in color.
  • Potential for eight to 12 generations per year.

Citrus thrips cause direct damage to fruit, puncturing the skin and leaving silvery scars on the rind. As the fruit grows, the damaged epidermal cells move outward and form a distinctive ring of scar tissue around the fruit. Damage is more prevalent on fruit in the outside canopy, where it is also susceptible to wind damage and sunburn.

This agronomic image shows an Asian citrus psyllid.

Asian citrus psyllid

  • Adults are 3 to 4 mm in length.
  • Adults have a brown body with brown or black heads, with a band around the outside of the wing.
  • Potential for 9 to 10 generations per year.

The Asian citrus psyllid spreads citrus greening, which causes twig dieback, mottled leaves, and yellow shoots. This disease is incurable and usually leads to death of the entire tree. To combat citrus greening, growers should scout and treat for Asian citrus psyllid. Identify adult moths by their brown bodies with bands around the outside of the wings.

This agronomic image shows a citrus rust mite

Citrus rust mite

  • Adults are about 0.15 mm in length.
  • Adults are yellowish in color.
  • Potential for multiple generations per year.

Citrus rust mites can damage both fruit and leaves in citrus. They feed on the epidermal cells of the plant, causing fruit to grow smaller. Leaf damage can be identified by dull, bronze-like color and patches of discoloration. Populations can move back and forth from leaves to fruit and, if sufficiently high, may defoliate trees.

Pressure from these insect pests can lead to devastating yield losses and multi-season infestations. Take the Insect IQ Quiz to test your knowledge of insect pests. If you are a certified crop adviser (CCA), you’ll be eligible to receive CEUs for completing the quiz.

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All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.