Updated: May 14, 2022

Citronella plants are a popular choice for garden enthusiasts because of their ability to repel mosquitoes with their lemony scent. However, these plants are prone to attacks by borers, which can cause significant damage and even kill the plant. Borers are larvae of certain insects that feed on the inner tissues of plants, causing the wilting, yellowing, and death of leaves and branches.

If you have noticed borers on your citronella plant, it is crucial to act fast to prevent further damage. In this article, we will discuss some effective ways to get rid of borers on citronella plants.

Identifying Borers on Citronella Plants

Before we delve into how to get rid of borers on citronella plants, it is essential to identify the signs of borer infestation. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Wilting or drooping leaves
  • Yellowing or discoloration of leaves
  • Presence of holes or tunnels in stems or branches
  • Sawdust-like material around the base of the plant or in branch crevices

If you notice any of these signs, it is likely that your citronella plant has been attacked by borers.

Getting Rid of Borers on Citronella Plants

1. Prune Affected Areas

The first step in getting rid of borers on citronella plants is to prune away any affected areas. Cut off any wilted or yellowing leaves, as well as any branches that show signs of borer infestation. Be sure to dispose of these cuttings away from the plant and garden area so that the larvae cannot spread.

2. Use Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worms that can be used to kill borers naturally. These nematodes penetrate the bodies of borers and release bacteria that kill them. You can purchase beneficial nematodes from garden stores and apply them to the soil around the base of the plant.

3. Apply Insecticide

Insecticides can also be used to get rid of borers on citronella plants. Look for insecticides that are labeled for borer control and follow the instructions carefully. Be sure to apply the insecticide early in the morning or late in the evening when bees and other pollinators are less active.

4. Use Sticky Traps

Sticky traps can be placed around the base of the plant to catch adult borers before they lay eggs. These traps are coated with a sticky substance that traps insects when they land on them. You can purchase sticky traps from garden stores or make your own by coating yellow index cards with petroleum jelly.

Preventing Future Infestations

Prevention is always better than cure, and there are several ways you can prevent future borer infestations on your citronella plants:

  • Keep your garden clean and free of debris, as this can attract borers.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing your plants, as this can make them more attractive to borers.
  • Water your plants deeply and infrequently, as this will encourage deep root growth and make your plants less susceptible to borers.
  • Use companion planting techniques to repel borers naturally. For example, planting marigolds or garlic around your citronella plants can help keep borers away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are borers harmful to humans?

Borers are not harmful to humans. However, some people may experience skin irritation if they come into contact with the sawdust-like material that borers leave behind.

Can I use neem oil to get rid of borers on my citronella plant?

Yes, neem oil can be effective in getting rid of borers on citronella plants. Mix one tablespoon of neem oil with one quart of water and spray the solution on the affected areas.

How often should I apply insecticide to my citronella plant?

Follow the instructions on the insecticide label carefully, as the frequency of application may vary depending on the product. In general, it is recommended to apply insecticide every one to two weeks until the infestation is under control.

In conclusion, borers can be a significant threat to your citronella plants, but with proper care and treatment, they can be eradicated. Remember to identify the signs of borer infestation early, prune affected areas, and use preventive measures to keep your plants healthy and free from borers.