While seeing a spider casually crawl along your citrus tree might be creepy, the arachnid's presence may be beneficial to the health of the tree. Unless you notice a huge spider infestation or the spiders are those known to harm people or pets that have contact with the tree, consider them a form of free pest control. If the invasion is of the spider mite, they will cause harm and need to be removed.
If you are noticing webs on your citrus trees examine them carefully. Small, delicately woven webs underneath leaves may be the work of a species of harmful and invasive spider mites.Tiny spider mites are related to spiders and ticks. Red, black or gray spider mites weave webs when large numbers infest a tree. It is important to use appropriate methods to eradicate spider mites as soon as they are noticed.
On some types of citrus, harmful citrus leafminers are problematic. Originally transported on citrus originating in Mexico, citrus leafminers have been known to infest citrus trees in Hawaii and parts of California. Other citrus growing states are by no means immune. Spiders residing in or on your citrus tree eat citrus leafminers. While the spiders may not be a means of total leafminer control, they are considered beneficial.
Due to the living habits of poisonous species of spiders, it may not be uncommon to see them in or near your citrus trees. Spiders by nature live where food is readily available. If you have insects near your trees and a favorable living environment for the spider, citrus trees host non-poisonous and poisonous spiders. Black widows are common in many citrus-producing areas of the country. They live where vegetation is dense and inflict a toxic bite. Caution should be taken when handling your tree and citrus if poisonous spiders are present.
If spiders are problematic, take a photograph or carefully collect the spider to identify the species. Check your trees for harmful pests as spider presence may indicate a ready source of spider fare. Should you prefer to be spider-free, purchase beneficial garden insects like praying mantis to clean up the spider population. Spiders are on the menu of adult praying mantis.
- Photo Credit Citrus tree with fruits image by Olga Khopshanosova from Fotolia.com