The 6 Best Organic Pesticides For Citrus Trees

All gardeners know that bugs and pests are a daily challenge when growing anything edible in your garden. Bugs and pests can destroy your crop by bringing diseases to your garden or by eating what you are trying to grow. Some of them lay eggs in your produce for their offspring to feed on or sting the fruit or vegetables to suck out the sap.

There are many organic pest control methods, but the best organic pesticides for citrus trees are:

  1. Tree tanglefoot insect barrier
  2. Azadirachtin organic pest control products
  3. Pyrethrin fruit tree spray
  4. Imidacloprid systemic insecticides
  5. Spinosad garden insect spray
  6. Sesame oil 3-in-1 spray

Bugs, pests, and diseases are not wanted in any garden, especially if you are growing produce to feed your family or for re-sale to provide the income you need. There are ways to prevent bugs and pests from attacking your valuable produce, either using home remedies, organic or chemical pesticides. Organic farmers will only use organic pesticides, ensuring the product that they grow is synthetic-free.

What Makes Organic Pesticides Organic?

Natural methods like organic pesticides are used by gardeners who do not want to use harsh chemicals in their gardens or fresh produce.

When the term organic is used, we automatically assume that no chemicals are used at all on the produce or in the garden. This is a misconception as all farms and gardens need pest control, and generally, some kind of chemical is used.

Not all chemicals are harmful. Organic pesticides are made from non-synthetic chemical ingredients which are naturally derived, whereas traditional chemical pesticides use artificial synthetic chemical ingredients.

Pesticides are essential to help maintain and protect crops throughout the year. Organic pesticides used in conjunction with pest control and prevention methods are the only way to keep pests and bugs away from your garden, or at least under control!

The 6 Best Organic Pesticides For Citrus Trees

Often organic pesticides are used as a last resort by the organic farmer or gardener once they have tried all other prevention and removal methods.

Growing citrus trees in pots is a great way to grow many small trees if you have limited space, and if grown indoors or in a more controlled environment, the trees should not have as many invasive bugs, pests, or diseases.

Citrus trees planted directly into the ground are often attacked by many different bugs, pests, and diseases that need to be eliminated to prevent the destruction of your entire crop.

Thankfully, there are plenty of natural and organic pest control methods available. We have listed the most popular organic pesticide products for citrus trees and how to use them.

Commercially Available Organic Pesticides For Citrus Trees

Your local store or garden center should stock an array of organic pesticides, or you could order them online. Commercially available organic pesticides are easier to use as they are pre-mixed and come with instructions on how to use and store them and are often sold together with spray and mixing bottles.

1. Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier

This product is certified for organic gardening. Simply wrap the waterproof paper around the tree trunk, approximately 4 feet from the ground, and, using a putty knife or disposable paddle, spread the mixture onto the paper, at least 3 inches wide.

Crawling insect-like ants, cankerworms, and even gypsy moths will crawl up the tree and stick to the compound. Remove the banding once it becomes covered with insects or debris and replace it with a new solution.

2. Azadirachtin Organic Pest Control Products

Azadirachtin is an organic and natural compound found in Neem oil. It kills almost 200 garden pests and insects and will eliminate all citrus pests and bugs on contact. Neem oil does not contain any chemical substances, so it can be applied to citrus trees without the risk of any damage to the tree.

This product is available in a ready-to-use spray or as a concentrate to be mixed in water and sprayed over the tree to control fungal diseases like powdery mildew and rust.

3. Pyrethrin Ortho Tree & Shrub Fruit Tree Spray

Pyrethrin is a natural insect repellent derived from the chrysanthemum flower and is used as the active ingredient in the pesticide together with neem oil. Pyrethrin is highly toxic and is effectively used as an insecticide and a fungicide.

It will kill most garden insects and control and prevents many fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, rust, blight, and leaf spot.

To use effectively as a pesticide, mix the concentrate with water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the pesticide solution over the surface of the leaves, front and back, until completely wet. Spray every 7 – 14 days for the best results.

4. Imidacloprid Systemic Insecticides For Citrus Trees

Systemic insecticides are chemicals that can be absorbed by the tree and distributed throughout their cells. When the insects suck on the sap, the chemical enters the insects ‘ bodies and destroys it.

Systemic chemicals are completely safe for humans as the chemical does not enter the citrus tree’s flower or fruits but will kill aphids, mealybugs, scales, and whiteflies.

This chemical is a great way to protect your citrus trees over a long period of time. One application is often enough to protect the citrus tree from insects for up to one year.

Mix the chemical solution with water and pour it around the tree’s base to protect from citrus insects.

5. Spinosad Garden Insect Spray

Mineral oil is used as the active ingredient in this organic pesticide. It is a fast-acting insecticide safe for humans and all citrus trees but is highly toxic to insects and will kill most soft-bodied insects like aphids, thrips, and mealybugs on contact by damaging their nervous system.

It can be used as a spray by mixing with water and pouring it into a spray bottle. Insect eggs can be destroyed by spraying the solution directly onto them.

6. Sesame Oil Organocide 3-in-1 Garden Spray

Bees are great cross-pollinators for citrus trees, so we don’t want to kill them along with all the other pests and bugs. Sesame oil has pesticide properties that suffocate insects and kill them within one minute, but it is bee-friendly when mixed with vegetable oil and lecithin.

This solution kills not only harmful insects and bugs but also prevents fungal diseases such as rust, spots, and mildew on your citrus trees. Spray onto the infected areas, entirely safe for humans and pets.

Organic Home Remedy Pesticides For Citrus Trees

Sometimes you would like to tackle the pest and bug infestation yourself without purchasing expensive commercial products. There are standard, everyday household items that can be used to manage and eliminate unwanted creatures from your citrus trees.

Take a look at our suggested home remedy recipes further on in this article for ideas on how to make your own pesticides.

1. Soaps and Oils

Homemade fruit tree sprays are an effective way to keep the bugs and diseases away from your citrus trees. Using common household ingredients such as vegetable oils, boric acid, soap, water, and spices, you can create an organic pesticide to eliminate many unwanted pests.

2. Plant Extracts

Natural pesticides can be made from plants that grow in many of our gardens. An effective repellent for getting rid of bugs and pests can be made using chili peppers, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Eastern hemlock is often used because of its powerful smell.

3. Mineral Dusts

Diatomaceous earth is a dry, powdery material derived from the shells of marine organisms used to kill crawling pests. Minerals such as silica and borate dust are effective in the control of ants and beetles.

Are There Benefits To Using Organic Pesticides In My Garden?

For many farmers and gardeners, there are many benefits to growing their crops organically.

  • Organic growing is healthier for both the farmer and the consumer as neither is exposed to harmful chemicals. The farmer is not exposed by inhaling the chemical as a spray, and the consumer is not exposed by eating the produce which has been sprayed with the chemicals.
  • Growing organically is kinder to the environment. Chemical pollution is reduced as the organic chemical does not leach into the soil, contaminating other plants and ultimately your food.
  • Organic farming offers a more holistic overall gardening experience. Most organic farmers and gardeners start with understanding the soil and how to grow healthy plants. This includes learning about the beneficial bugs and how everything works together in the garden, and why pesticides are necessary. For many people, this can become a full-time hobby or a new career choice!

What Are The Challenges Of Using Organic Pesticides?

As with many alternative methods and solutions, costs are a significant factor in growing organically and using organic pesticides. If you are starting out as a new gardener, the costs may not be too high initially as you learn which product to use.

As you become more familiar with natural products, your costs should reduce as you learn the benefits of each product and what to buy to keep your plants in top condition.

Another factor is time. It does take a while to understand natural pesticides and to learn organic methods. Natural and organic remedies often do not work as well or as quickly as synthetic options, so the process might need to be repeated a few times.

This new skill and method of treating the pests in your garden require attention throughout the year, so be prepared to invest time into your organic garden.

Recipes For Organic Pesticides – Home Remedies

We have not always had access to chemical solutions to deal with bugs and pests, so farmers and gardeners have developed their own remedies to eliminate unwanted invaders. We have listed below a few home remedies for removing bugs, pests, and diseases from your citrus trees.

1.  Ant And Inchworm Eliminating Organic Pesticide

Further on in this article, we talk about how to prevent ants from returning to your citrus trees once they have been eliminated. Try this organic pesticide recipe first to get rid of them.

  • Mix six tablespoons of sugar with one teaspoon of boric acid and two cups of water and stir well.
  • Soak a few cotton balls in the boric acid/sugar water mixture and place them inside a small plastic container with holes poked into the lid.
  • Close the lid and place the container on the ground next to the tree over the ant trail.
  • The sugar will attract the ants and inchworms, and once they feed on it, they will be destroyed by the boric acid.

2. Homemade Insecticidal Soap Recipe

Insecticidal soap is perhaps one of the least toxic pesticide options and is safe for humans, pets, and beneficial insects like bees. When used as a spray on your citrus trees, the insecticidal soap will control flies, mites, thrips, mealybugs, soft scale, and aphids.

  • Mix together 1 gallon of water with two tablespoons of dish soap.
  • Pour both ingredients into a spray bottle and shake.
  • Spray liberally over the affected leaves on your citrus trees.

3. Organic Spray For Citrus Tree Diseases

Using a spray for disease control is an excellent way to spread the solution quickly while ensuring that the entire infected area has been covered or that the whole tree will be protected from future attacks. Simple home remedies can be effective if used regularly. Try our homemade compost tea recipe.

  • Using a ratio of 1 cup of solid matter to 1 gallon of water
  • Place solid matter and water into a bucket and allow to steep for three days
  • Strain the mixture through burlap or a hessian sack
  • Return the solids to the compost heap and pour the liquid into a spray bottle
  • Spray liberally over the tree or the infected area

How To Prevent Bugs, Pests, And Diseases From Attacking Your Citrus Trees

Suppose you have bugs, pests, and diseases attacking your citrus trees, and you are using organic pesticides to eliminate them. In that case, you should also implement ways to prevent them from returning to your garden and citrus trees. Prevention and elimination go hand in hand with pest and bug control.

Try these methods of preventing bugs and pests from returning and preventing diseases attacking your citrus trees and garden.

How To Prevent Ants Returning To My Garden

Ants are lured to your citrus trees by the promise of an easy meal. Soft-bodied insects like mealybugs and aphids feed on the leaves and the citrus tree’s sap and secrete a sticky sweet solution known as honeydew.

The sweet honeydew is what attracts the ants to the trees to feed on it. Ants will build anthills near the citrus tree that they are feeding off, creating their own territory. They will protect the aphids and the mealybugs to ensure the production of honeydew for the ant colony to feed on.

Sooty Mold or Black Mold
Lemon leaves with sooty mold

The best way to prevent ants from returning to your citrus trees is to dismantle the anthill. Very slowly, pour boiling soapy water into the opening of the anthill. Ensure that the water and soap solution has a chance to filter down into every chamber of the anthill.

Once you have destroyed the anthill, remove the aphid and mealybug-infested leaves from the trees and destroy them. You will have to check the trees regularly and remove any insects immediately before infesting the tree.

Follow the recipe on the home-remedy step to eliminate any ants that you find.

Controlling Citrus Tree Diseases

The best way to deal with citrus tree diseases is to prevent them from happening by taking steps to stop them. Spraying your trees with pesticides is a great way to prevent infections, as well as pruning or destroying the affected areas before the disease can spread.

Many organic sprays are commercially available for the control and prevention of diseases.

Follow the home-remedy above for a recipe on the best organic sprays to prevent diseases.

How To Destroy The Common Fruit Fly

If the fruit fly has moved into your area, it can be challenging to get rid of, but there are ways that you can manage the infestation.

The fruit fly lays its eggs in the citrus fruit on the tree, which eventually drops to the ground. Once the egg hatches into a maggot, it will fall onto the soil before hatching out as an adult. If you have chickens, allow them to enter your orchard to eat the maggots and pupa which have fallen onto the soil, destroying them before they can become adults and lay more eggs!

Another way to prevent the fruit fly from infesting your fruit is to destroy the fruit once the fly has laid its eggs in it, breaking the life cycle. Place the infected fruit into a black garbage bag and leave it in the sun for a few weeks for the maggots to die, then mix it into your compost.


When choosing the best organic pesticide for your citrus trees, make sure that you do your research and know what you are looking for.

Check that the active ingredients are indeed non-synthetic chemicals and not artificial chemicals. Confirm that the organic pesticide can be sprayed onto your citrus tree without harming it and that it is safe for human consumption.

Consider which bugs, pests, and diseases you would like to eliminate and buy the correct product to eradicate the problem.

If you are starting farming and gardening on a smaller scale, it could be worth your while investigating the many home remedies and natural products that are available before using any commercially produced chemicals on your citrus trees, whether non-synthetic or artificial.

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Anat Goldberg

Hi! My name is Anat and I have lived all my life in the countryside. I grew on a farm in Northern Italy and from an early age, I took care of the animals on the farm and the family garden. Over the years I have developed a growing passion for organic cultivation and pest control.

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