Gall wasp is something that nearly every citrus grower in the country has to deal with. It is a microscopic native wasp that burrows its eggs into the limbs of citrus, primarily lemons and also grapefruit. These cause swellings or ‘galls’ on the plant, from which the insect hatches.

Though gall wasp will not completely kill a tree, it will greatly reduce productivity if left to spiral out of control. Rather than prune out a swelling every time one surfaces, conduct a control prune seasonally to help limit infestation. It’s easy to tell if the wasp has emerged because you will see tiny holes – like a prick from a needle – signifying their departure. Galls without holes means the culprits are still hiding out in the limbs of your plant.

Optimal Conditions

Lemon trees in temperate to sub-tropical conditions


Swellings or ‘gall’ on the limbs of the citrus plant.


Such is the migratory nature of gall wasps that unless we all pruned and rid our trees of every single wasp at exactly the same time, they will inevitably strike back. But measures to reduce infestation include hanging sticky yellow traps and avoiding over-fertilising our plants in early spring, as the young delicate stem growth is the ideal breeding ground for its eggs.


Seasonal pruning and discarding of the affected limbs, making sure not to put unhatched galls in the compost. If you can't see pin head sized exit holes on the gall, there are still unhatched eggs inside it. Best to dispose in the bin or burn these limbs


Nearly impossible. Regular management is the only measure and it is another pest we have learned to live with.

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