Something eating my lime flowers

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Lisa Dawn, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Lisa Dawn

    Lisa Dawn Member

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    Location:
    Belmont, CA, USA
    Local Time:
    4:50 AM
    I live in the SF Bay Area of California, and something is eating my Bearss lime flowers before they can bear fruit. The tree is under a year old, but something is eating the flowers and the edges of the leaves. I've looked everywhere, but see no insects, scale, fungus, etc. Has anyone had this problem?
     
  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
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    could be aphids...they're VERY tiny and can be clear-colored so they're hard to see. try squirting the buds/leaves with water every day and see if that doesn't clear up the problem. use your hose as the spray will be stronger (you want to knock the aphids off the plant).

    it could also be some insect that is doing it's thing at night - when you're not out there looking. can you post a pic of the damage?
     
  3. Lisa Dawn

    Lisa Dawn Member

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    Thanks so much for your speedy, helpful response, Joclyn! Let me get a photo and take a closer look with a magnifying glass to see if I can see any critters. Thanks again.
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Aphids do not eat blooms nor leaves. Aphids are not chewing insects, they are sucking insects. They merely pierce the leaf and suck the juices. As your tree is in San Francisco, (my home town) I don't have any idea what is actually eating your tree's leaves. If you spray your tree with a garden hose, be very careful, or you will knock off all, or many, of the blooms. Anyway, the best of luck. - Millet (1,402-)
     
  5. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Look for weevils at dusk or in the middle of the night, requires a torch and examining the foliage undersides the stalk, and branches. Earwigs too, devour many plants...especially during the night hours....simply remove them permanently and continue this vigil until the problem subsides... best of luck!
     
  6. Lisa Dawn

    Lisa Dawn Member

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    Thank you all for your helpful responses! I didn't get to check out the lime tree/bush last night because we were at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Will check tonight, but wanted to thank you all for your kindness. What a lovely group of folks that belong to this forum :) Hope I can give something back despite my limited knowledge...
     
  7. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Member

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    I'm surprised that no one mentioned the OrangeDog Caterpillar...a very unusual caterpillar that will eat the leaves and flowers of ANY citrus (though named after devouring Orange trees). This ugly (well, I think it's rather beautiful...because it is so odd) caterpillar develops into the very beautiful Giant Swallowtail butterfly. I live in Texas, and have had my lime leaves eaten before. It is worth the sacrifice...I promise. Your leaves will return...and it won't damange your tree at all...it will just look unsightly for a little while (the leaves will grow back). Not sure that this is what it was....but it has happened to me on 3 or 4 occasions...always munching on my lime tree. It's difficult to recognize the caterpillar; it looks like bird droppings..honestly! I hope this is/was your situation. If so, consider yourself very, very lucky.
     
  8. Lisa Dawn

    Lisa Dawn Member

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    Thanks for your response, Lucky Fish. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure it was earwigs that were eating the leaves and flowers on my lime tree. Diatomaceous earth seems to be working. It's too bad it's not the caterpillar you mentioned. I have never seen a Giant Swallowtail Butterly, but I'm sure it's as beautiful as it sounds. We just don't have very many exotic butterflies, except for the Monarch, in the SF Bay Area. Thanks again.
     
  9. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Member

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    I'm glad you solved the problem! I was just so excited that you maybe had this rare treat (sighting) on your tree. You're right...they are pretty rare in Northern CA. Check out this article from Sept. 2007 in LA Times.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/20/home/hm-swallowtail20

    But here's a photo of one spotted in Redding, CA.
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6039017

    It truly is one of the largest butterflys in North America, if not THE largest. I'm getting a little off-topic...just wanted to share those links with you. You MIGHT get to see one one day...you'll spot the caterpillar on your lime..looks like bird droppings..not a caterpillar at all when young. Thanks for your reply back to me. Most importantly, I'm happy you've resolved whatever was chomping on your lime! :)
     
  10. Lisa Dawn

    Lisa Dawn Member

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    Fascinating article and beautiful photos, LuckyFish. Thanks for posting. If the Giant Swallowtails are in Southern California and Redding, they might make it over to the Bay Area. Can't believe their wingspan can be 5-6"! I'll see if there are any sightings around here, and if so, I'll look into getting those plants that attract them. I'm impressed. You sure know your stuff about butterflies. Thanks for the great links.
     
  11. ananda braxton-smith

    ananda braxton-smith New Member

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    Location:
    Avonsleigh, VIC, Australia
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    Hello. I'm in Melbourne Australia and something eating my lime flowers too. The leaves are fine. I can't find any bug
    or rot. Just the tiny new flowers are chewed down to the stem.
     

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