Citrus pests

Page last updated: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 - 4:15pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Other garden pests


Birds are generally less of a problem for citrus than for many other fruit types. However cockatoos, parrots and other birds may occasionally damage new shoots, twigs flowers and the fruit of citrus trees. Cover trees with netting or use a bird repellent containing aluminium ammonium sulphate to repel birds.

Rats and possums

Rats and possums are common pests of citrus and will eat the peels of fruits. Sometimes they will leave the peel and eat the flesh or the entire fruit. Control rats with baits. The best deterrent for possums is an old stocking stuffed with dog hair.

Lemon hanging in a tree with the top section chewed exposing the fruit
Rat damage to a lemon

Snails and slugs

Common garden snails and slugs feed on leaves and fruit at night, making holes and marks on fruit. Snails are also known to be responsible for ringbarking young shoots, twigs and trees resulting in twig and tree death in severe cases.

Snail and slug numbers are reduced naturally by some birds, lizards and sciomyzid flies. To reduce the snail and slug populations in your garden use snail traps or commercial baits. See Managing snails in citrus orchards for more information.


Chemicals can destroy beneficial insect populations that may be providing natural control of pest insects in your garden. Horticultural oils, horticultural soap and sulphur can burn foliage if used incorrectly and should not be used in hot weather. Follow label instructions.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080