Citrus bud mite—Eriophyes sheldoni
Severely deformed foliage, blossoms, or fruit are the first clues to bud mite infestations.
Citrus bud mites are very small—only about 0.2 mm long, so you need at least a 10X lens to see them. They are elongated and somewhat tapered at the posterior end, and have four legs at the front end near the mouth. It feeds within buds and is difficult to see. Don't confuse bud mites with spider mites, which are rounder and larger, usually have two spots, and often produce webbing. Predatory mites are clear and move rapidly.
A bud mite population can increase rapidly in infested buds or under fruit sepals during the summer. Populations peak in the summer, and summer and fall blooms are more likely to suffer damage.
Citrus bud mites feed inside the buds, killing them or causing a rosettelike growth of the subsequent foliage and distortion of flowers and fruit, which may or may not reduce yield. They are a problem especially on lemons along the California coast.
In backyard situations, predatory mites usually keep bud mites under fairly good control. Petroleum oil sprays applied prior to bloom may provide some control of citrus bud mites. Late-fall oil sprays may also provide control of mites; however, once fruit is set, damage has already occurred and cannot be corrected.
Bud mites feed inside developing buds