What Eats the Leaves of an Orange Tree?

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What Eats the Leaves of an Orange Tree?
New foliage is the most susceptable to insect attack. (Nick White/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The foliage of young orange trees often suffers the most severe infestations from leaf feeding pests. Older, more established trees rarely suffer severe damage or defoliation. Early control and identification of the pests can lower the damage the tree sustains.

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Aphids and whiteflies regularly occur on the new growth of citrus trees. The insects feed by sucking the sap from the foliage. Feeding from rust mites and spider mites can cause leaf damage and defoliation to occur. Katydids, crickets, grasshoppers, root weevils, citrus leaf miners and caterpillars all feed on the tree's foliage. Orange dogs caterpillars, the larvae of the large black and yellow swallowtail butterfly, often causes severe foliage damage.


Aphids cause wilting and deformation of the leaves. Whiteflies feed on the sap from the tree's leaves but cause no visual leaf damage. Excessive feeding from mites can cause the foliage to wilt, distort and fall from the tree. Root weevils feed on the leaf margins. Grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and caterpillars chew holes and the margins of the leaves heavily. Citrus leaf miners skeletonise the leaf.


Hose aphids and mites from the tree using a strong burst of water. Whiteflies can also be removed with water or using insecticide sprays. Control grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, root weevils and caterpillars with insecticides. Consider picking orange dog caterpillars from the tree by hand. Apply insecticides to young orange trees that suffer an extreme infestations of leafminers. Older trees rarely require treatment.

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