Does anyone know what’s eating my dwarf Mandarin tree? And how to stop it?


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I live on the central coast in California and have a Mandarin tree on my porch the last three weeks I’ve noticed circular eating patterns in the top half of the tree. Does anyone know what’s causing this and a natural way to stop it?
 

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I don't know for sure what is doing the damage but it is probably a caterpillar. I would suspect a Black Swallowtail larvae. These caterpillars look just like bird poop and are very difficult to see. But either insect or caterpillar the way to rid yourself of the problem is to spray both sides of the leaves, the stems and trunk of the tree with a spinosad based insectcide. Spray every 5-7 days for 3 weeks to kill what is there now and for the ones who might hatch out in the future.
 

alp

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Yes, when you keep plant indoors, they are really susceptible to caterpillar and aphid attacks. A butterfly flapped in my lean to weeks ago and yesterday, I saw canna leaves stuck to each other, hiding a caterpillar. So look out for slugs, woodlice, caterpillars and aphids..
 
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If it is a caterpillar, they should be easy enough to find. The caterpillars if Swallowtail will not kill your plant and when they are ready to pupate they will stop eating the plant and most likely move to another location to pupate. Caterpillars mostly eat in the early morning and evening when it shouldn't be difficult to find them munching the undersides of the leaves. During the day they sleep and can often be found on the soil at the base of the plant. You may want to remove them or you might want to leave them alone to grow into beautiful butterflies. You can search images for the Black Swallowtail and the Giant Swallowtail caterpillars. If the caterpillars are not Swallowtails then it could be some other type of worm or caterpillar that is harmful like an inch worm or army worm or wooly bear. In any case you will have to closely and thoroughly look at your plant and the soil below to find them. If your plant is in a container, also inspect that. Also look for round dark poops.
 

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