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Scale insects on the lemon tree can become a problem if they damage and weaken the plant. However, fighting them is not difficult. We reveal which simple measures and home remedies can help to effectively eliminate the pests and still keep the fruit safe and edible.

detect lice infestation

The pests can be recognized quite easily if the leaves and shoots are checked regularly. Reliable signs of an infestation with lice of various species include:

  • Sticky Residue and Webs: The affected leaves appear sebum-like, waxy, and appear to be coated with some kind of cobweb or cotton.
  • Stains on the leaves: When lice suck leaves and shoots, they leave marks and damage. These are noticeable as yellowish to brownish spots on the lemon trees.
  • Scale insects as dots: Scale insects are relatively easy to see as white to greyish dots on the leaves of a citrus plant. If you look closely, you will see a semicircular elevation on each scale insect from the side perspective.

Causes and risk factors

Lice usually appear when the lemon tree is too warm and too dark at the same time. For example, if the citrus plant overwinters incorrectly or is cultivated in an unfavorable location.

In addition, however, there is a whole range of causes and risk factors, such as:

The location is too dark and too warm

Many suspect that the lemon tree constantly needs a lot of heat. But that's only true insofar as it needs a lot of heat when there's enough light. On the other hand, if it is warm and dark, it is dangerous and can significantly reduce its resistance. The temperature should therefore always be adjusted to the light conditions.

Dry air

Too little humidity can reduce the plant's resistance and thus increase its susceptibility to diseases and pests.

Insufficient ventilation

If the plants are too dense and ventilation is restricted as a result, lice have better chances of spreading. In addition, controls are more difficult.

However, if you know the risk factors, you can take appropriate countermeasures and thus prevent lice infestation.

fight scale insects

Mechanical removal

A comparatively simple measure against a lice infestation is mechanical removal. All you need for this home remedy is a toothbrush and water. The following steps should be followed to combat the pests:

  • Lay the lemon tree aside, moisten the leaves thoroughly with a water hose or spray bottle
  • Scrape scale insects off the damp leaves with a soft toothbrush
  • Repeat several times until all pests have been read off
  • As a result, check the lemon tree again and again to promptly remove scale insects that have been overlooked

This home remedy needs to be repeated multiple times to get rid of all lice and their offspring. However, this can be done with very simple means.

Chemical removal

When fighting scale insects and co. chemically, no dangerous substances have to be used. Instead, two very widespread and common ones have emerged home remedies tried and tested: rapeseed oil and curd soap. The goal of these home remedies is to suffocate the scale insects.

curd soap

1. Add a teaspoon of finely grated curd soap to a liter of lukewarm water
2. Dissolve the soap well and pour the solution into a spray bottle
3. Lay the lemon tree on its side again so that the lye cannot penetrate the soil.
4. Thoroughly spray all leaves and shoots with soapy water
5. Lye can act for 30 to 60 minutes. Then each leaf can be brushed off with a soft brush.
6. The leaves are rinsed thoroughly and comprehensively with clear water.


It is similar with that oil. A mixture of three to four parts oil and six to seven parts water is made. Spray the leaves with this. After an exposure time of one to three hours, you can rinse the leaves and fruit thoroughly with water. However, the oil residues remain on the lemon tree. You would have to use grease-dissolving detergent to completely remove it.

The fight against the scale insects is thus secured, but this home remedy can cause a problem for leaves, fruits and shoots, since the oil residues gas exchange restrict.

When fighting scale insects on the citrus plant, the advantages and disadvantages should always be weighed against each other. Even if it involves means from the trade.

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