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Do Termites Eat Citrus Trees?

Lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, loquats, and all of the other citrus fruit trees can be seen everywhere in Southern California, and they grow here all year round. Many homeowners love to grow these fruit-producing trees on their property, not only for their delicious and fragrant fruits, but also because they look beautiful. However, it can definitely ruin their day when they discover a termite infestation in their orchard or yard, and see that these pests are eating and damaging their beloved citrus trees.

You might be then wondering whether termites are especially attracted to citrus trees and the smell of their fruit. Fortunately, we will tell you everything you need to be aware of, so keep reading!

Are Termites Attracted To Citrus Trees?

Termites have been recognized as a serious pest of citrus trees, but these insects are not going specifically after the sweet fruit. The prime target for termites is wood.

These insects need two things to survive, namely moisture and cellulose. As cellulose is the main component of plant cell walls, termites are attracted to any type of plant. Therefore, termites will also gnaw on the citrus tree for the cellulose.

Depending on their species, termites will build their colonies either in damp or dry wood that has very little moisture. These pests may be found in decaying, rotted, and damp trees that provide them with moisture, a consistent source of food, and a suitable shelter.

Termites typically infest dead trees but can also attack live trees, primarily the bark which is usually hard and dry. Some trees that are not healthy, are prone to attracting termites, for example citrus fruit trees that grow big. So the presence of termites would suggest that your tree is unhealthy.

Unfortunately, the infestation will only get worse and aggravate the existing problem with your unhealthy tree even further, as these pests consume the wood and therefore, make the rotting and decay process quicker.

If you want to save your termite-infested citrus tree, you need to act early. The tree is likely to survive depending on the extent of the infestation and how soon it is treated.

To find out if your citrus tree has been infested, look for the signs of termites in trees:

  • Kickout holes, which are tiny holes through which the insects push fecal pellets out of the wood.
  • • Wood shavings where they have entered the wood, usually around the base of the tree.
  • Shelter mud tubes on the tree trunks.
  • You may also notice termite carcasses, fecal pellets, discarded wings, or small white eggs.

Do Termites Like The Citrus Smell?

Termites are repelled by the smell of citrus, they just cannot stand it. This is why orange oil, which is an extract from orange peels, has been successfully used as a pesticide for termite control. Orange oil smells strongly of citrus, therefore it naturally repels termites, and is in fact, deadly to many insects, including termites.

Because wood is quite a porous material, the oil soaks through all the way and reaches the termites. As soon as the oil touches the termites they scatter, touching other termites in the process. Orange oil kills these insects quickly because it’s a highly acidic substance. It penetrates the outer layer of the termite’s skin and dissolves its exoskeleton, which results in the death of the insect.

Orange oil has been proven to be very effective and a better solution for termite control than high-impact treatments with toxic chemicals. However, orange oil can be used only in localized treatments as it’s effective to treat only smaller areas. Also, orange oil is best to use in treatments that involve drywood termites. Drywood termites are a common species found in Southern California, and they typically infest dead wood that has low moisture and is not yet decayed.

All in all, termites can damage and even kill your citrus trees. Nevertheless, unlike other pests, they do not intentionally search for citrus trees as their host plants.

It’s important to get rid of termites as quickly as possible after you notice their presence. This is especially true if the infested fruit tree is located near your house as it could also become infected.

While it’s not always possible to prevent it, you should make sure to always watch out for signs of a termite infestation in your fruit trees. If you discover an infestation, take immediate action and hire a professional local pest control company as soon as possible. Our team at Chem Free Exterminating in Orange County, CA, has plenty of experience with getting rid of termites. However, keep in mind that Chem Free Exterminating technicians are not able to treat the trees themselves, but they can only inspect your home for termite presence in case you notice any signs of infestation.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about the services we offer, to see if an orange oil treatment is a good option for you, or if you’ve noticed termites on your property and need a free inspection!