The Q&A Archives: Controlling mealybugs on a citrus tree

Question: I have a citrus tree growing in a pot on my porch. It was growing great, and had a couple dozen little fruits growing on it, but recently a mealybug infestation has destroyed all the fruit, and now they're causing it to drop leaves every day. The tree appears healthy, otherwise, and the other citrus tree growing nearby is pest free and dropping no leaves. We've been using an organic pesticide that says it will kill mealybugs in any stage of life, but it doesn't seem to be having any effect on their population. Can you recommend something stronger? I'd prefer not to use mealybug destroyers, just because it seems like it'd be pretty difficult.

Thank you!
-Zach Toups

Answer: Zach,

I'd try various different products making sure you get good contact with the pest. Try an insecticidal soap early in the morning not during mid day with sun on the leaves. Then try horticultural oil (not dormant oil). Finally you might try a pyrethrin/rotenone mix as that is stronger but effective against many pest species. Whatever you use it will be necessary to repeat the application every 2 weeks for a while (3 or 4 applications) as these pests are not generally erradicated with one or two applications.

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