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Gardening Information by UC Master Gardeners of Napa County
by Pedro
on March 31, 2015 at 3:45 PM
I have a lemon tree that produced lemons bigger than most oranges, nearly the size of small grapefruit year before last. last year nothing. now its covered with small spherical shinny brown eggs clustered for 2 or 3 inches along 10 or more small branches near the top of the tree, with carpenter ants crawling all over the eggs seeming to be servicing them in some way rather than eating or simply protecting them, at fist I thought it was an inverted ant hill with eggs being laid up and down branches of the tiny 3' tall tree. but I guess its some other creatures eggs that the ants see as beneficial to them. I live on the top of my water supply, with well water as our only water. how can I best stop this infestation, before they all hatch and destroy all fruit and possibly the small lemon tree.
by Yvonne Rasmussen
on April 2, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Pedro, I think you may have scale insects on your lemon. they look kind of like eggs but are actually mature insects that are hidden under a cap or shell that is stuck to the branch. The ants will eat a sticky substance they produce call honeydew. The ants will also protect the scale insects from predators and parasites. Controling ants will help control the scale. You can find control methods on the UC Integrated Pest Management wesbite at Look for control of scale on citrus under the home gardening section.
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