Bug Blog

Are Lemons Too Sour For Insect-Pests?

Are Lemons Too Sour For Insect-Pests?

Lemons are not often consumed like oranges. Lemons are cultivated mainly to enhance the taste of certain foods or beverages. The sour taste of lemons are not well tolerated by human tastebuds. You may assume that other animals feel the same way about lemons, and for most mammals this is probably true. However, there are plenty of insects that love the taste of lemons. It is not shocking that many insects cannot get enough of certain sweet-tasting citrus fruits, but how could any insects tolerate the overwhelming sourness of lemons? Insects, such as mites, flies, thrips and moths are often responsible for damaging American lemon crops.


It is not unusual for some insects to spend the early stages of their lives dwelling within lemon crops. For example, citrus thrips require citrus plants in order to develop properly. These thrips hatch from eggs that are located on the leaves of lemon plants, as well as other citrus fruits. Once these thrips hatch and become nymphs, they remain within lemon crops in order to feed on the fruits. This is how the nymphs develop into adults. Some other types of insects can take their taste for lemons to a whole new level, causing serious problems for lemon farmers. Citrus cutworms are one such example.

Much like citrus thrips, citrus cutworms hatch from eggs that adult cutworm moths leave on the leaves of lemon trees. However, these insects can cause damage that is far more extensive than other lemon-eating insects. This is because one single lemon is not good enough for the picky citrus cutworm; instead, these cutworms prefer to sample multiple lemons, resulting in the rapid spread of lemon crop damage. Some moths ignore all other citrus fruits and, instead, only feed on lemons. In fact, there exists two parasitic moths that target only lemons. There are also different types of earwigs, flies and caterpillars that cause damage to lemon crops in regions all around the world.

Have you ever taken a bite of a certain type of fruit only to discover that it had already been damaged by an insect pest?