We purchased our home almost 3 years ago and it came with a lemon tree in one corner and an orange tree in the other. The lemons are large, grapefruit size, and juicy. The only problem is that about half the fruit comes out VERY funky looking. A bit deformed and at some times, obscene looking. There have always been ants and my internet researching shows they keep scales which secrete honeydew. A search of the tree today did indeed find little brown scales and the ants were only too happy to surround & protect them.

Any good, organing way to rid my tree of the scales AND the ants? I read about spraying horticultural oil but have no idea what it is or how organic or safe it is. My veggie garden is *right* next door, partially under the lemon tree, so anything I spray must be safe or I have to tarp the garden before spraying the lemon tree. Oddly enough, the ants/scales do not seem to bother my orange tree at all.

Ants and aphids are in deed associated.A good garden hose spray will make the aphids fall of the leaves.They are usually under the leaves so try to be persistant. They don’t really do extreme damage exccept for a real infestation,then they often develop wings and start a new colony on other plants.Also be careful.If you have disease in some areas of the garden and there are aphids,they might propagate this disease to other plants if they fly off.

I have aphids on my pennyroyal and catnip! I made a spray of soap and water and sprayed the plants but how do I get rid of the aphids — they are still there. If I try to spray them with the hose to knock them off I may blow my plant out of its container! Is this a good way to get rid of them? I don’t want any little aphids floating in my tea.

Same problem on my orange, grapefruit and lemon trees in southwest FL. The ants carry aphids to the tender young tree shoots in the spring and the aphids proceed to suck out the juices, stunt and deform the new leaves, and decrease fruit production.

The solution that works perfectly for me is to put a strip of duct tape, sticky side out, around the tree trunk just before the tree begins to put out new leaves. I then put a coating of “Tanglefoot” on the duct tape. Please note that neither the sticky side of the tape nor the tanglefoot comes in contact with the tree bark.

The ants cannot cross the sticky barrier so do not carry aphids or scale up the tree trunk to the leaves. After the leaves open and mature. and the tree finishes flowering I remove the tape and do nothing more until the following spring when I repeat the process. This works so well that my neighbors have begun using it as well. Only downside is that occasionally a baby anole gets stuck in it.