What is stripping peel off lemons on the tree.

by Bill
(New Zealand)

I am finding lemons still hanging on the tree and which have had all the peel stripped off them, leaving just the fruit itself. Whatever is attacking them starts from the bottom of the fruit and works round and round until the fruit is bare. It is not bird or wasp damage and I suspect mice or rats. Thanks

Comments for What is stripping peel off lemons on the tree.

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Jun 06, 2010
lemons stripped of peel on tree
by: Megan

Sounds suspiciously like rats, or even hungry mice. These animals are expert at shinning up trees to get at fruit, and they like citrus peel, but not so much the flesh.
Could possibly be possums too, and/or snails will also do damage to peel.
Have a look for some small animal droppings around the tree to identify the culprits, and it wouldn't hurt to look for snails under leaves and go out with torch at late dusk or early dark.

Jun 06, 2010
Lemon stripping
by: Bill

Thanks megan for your suggestions. Yes, I suspected mice or rats but what puzzled me was that the stripping started from the bottom of the fruit which were at the end of relatively long thin "twigs" and well above the ground or other branches.

Jun 19, 2010
same problem
by: dr. d

I have been waging rodent wars all season this year - my peppermint oil solution has driven them from the more tender vegis to the lemon tree which is now stripped bare of rinds, with exposed fruit hanging everywhere. I think I will hang peppermint sachets and see what happens.

Jun 11, 2011
Naked lemons
by: Charlie

I am experiencing the same problem and have just had a sighting of mice . There is a small army of them that have pretty much wiped out my lemons. They do not seem interested in the limes or oranges.

Charlie from Lakewood Ca

Jun 11, 2011
Peeled lemons
by: Shirley from Hemet,CA

I, too have peeled lemons, and grapefruit with the insides eaten. These are not left on the tree,though. Very strange looking.

Jul 01, 2011
snails or rodents
by: Ben

I've seen snails and slugs eat the outer layer of skin on fallen lemons, but the problem on my tree is that the whole skin & the white pith are all gone. We have a mice plague around here at the moment so it's probably them. Don't get why they start at the bottom of the fruit & work their way up, though! Maybe the skin tastes better down there.

Oct 03, 2014
Sneaky lemon peel thief
by: Jason

Not sure but some little critter is stealing the peel off the lemons but leaving the lemons still on the tree. Very strange I've never heard or seen before but im out to catch this little bugger in the act. Just to be sure im going to setup a camrea and see what I find.

Jul 02, 2015
Peeled lemons and grapefruit
by: Rosemary

I too have been wondering what has been leaving naked lemons on my trees and devouring the grapefruit. I blamed possums until I saw a rat in the grapefruit tree, so I am now convinced it is rats. They eat most of the grapefruit helped out by birds in the daytime. They have started eating the rat bait so I will be feeding them this alternative food for a while!

Jun 07, 2016
Long Tails
by: Anonymous

I can say for me it has been possums. The droppings are too big for rats/mice and I have seen baby possums in the neighborhood.

Oct 11, 2016
by: lizzie

I have watched rabbits in my orchard gnaw the peel off and leave the lemon on the tree.

Oct 25, 2016
by: Judy

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and we have roof rats that do this.

Nov 04, 2016
lemons peeled off from the tree
by: Anonymous

I also having problem with my lemon tree, I've seen some ripe lemons peeled- fruits hanging, Wandering how can we prevent this.

Apr 18, 2017
lemon peels
by: Stan

Thanks for your info, I've just started experiencing this problem, confused. What are you doing to stop those varments?

Apr 18, 2017
Lemon peels missing
by: Stan

I just discovered this problem today. I've had the tree producing for 3 years and this is the 1st time I've seen this, except for 1 or 2 on the ground, thought it was birds. Someone said I might have bats on my front porch because of the droppings. I covered the big cracks now I'm seeing droppings in the yard by the tree. I wonder.

Apr 29, 2017
Bats eating lemons
by: ~ Megan

Yes, it could be bats. I've just been told by another lemon tree victim. They get into attics of sheds and houses, so you need to seal any openings up. Also set up a spotlight in or on your tree, preferably that goes on and off with movement. Loud noises will deter bats, such as crashing pot lids, banging and clapping instruments!

Jul 25, 2017
What is eating my garden?
by: Mel

Just finished lemon skins, now eating the skinned lemons, peaches, Basil . What do I do? Who do I call? Why after so many years is it happening now?

Oct 22, 2017
Eaten fruits and vegetables
by: Bob

Fascinating reading! Sounds like you victims of crime need one or more of: rat bait, mouse traps, dog, cat, loud noise maker, spotlights, pepper spray, netting, rabbit/possum/raccoon/cage trap, and maybe try the peppermint oil on teabags trick. Good luck.

Would love to hear back from people on what works please.

Jan 23, 2018
Lemon rind eaten away
by: Pann

I have the same problem, missing lemon rind. I feel that it is possibly rats, or mice. I've read that a good solution is to use rat poison, but i'm not sure where to place the bait. In the tree, or on the ground near the tree. Any suggestions from those that have gotten rid of the "eaten lemon rind" problem... My poor tree needs help and so do I.

May 10, 2018
Careful of Rat Poison
by: Anonymous

Most rat and mice poison contains Arsenic, which is a heavy metal and can be quite toxic to humans, as well as to predators that might be interested in helping out with a mice or rat problem. I've heard that the peppermint trick works pretty well, as with a motion-triggered noise-maker and/or light setup, but baiting mouse/rat traps with lemon rind, since that's what they're after anyway, could work wonders. I'm always a little hesitant to put poison near my food, just as a precautionary measure. If it's bats, I'm sure that mouse-traps can be dangled from the trees, if their death is the desired end. Otherwise, just noise, light, or a scent/flavor that is off-putting could work pretty well.

Sep 14, 2018
Rat poison
by: Anonymous

Arsenic in rat poison - not in this century. The active ingredient is normally warfarin. Yes, warfarin is also toxic to humans. Its actually used medically to inhibit blood clotting, but the dosage has to be strictly monitored.

Jan 13, 2019
Not the lemon flesh nor the lemon peel but the white stuff between.
by: Anonymous

I cannot find any drippings but I see small slices of lemon peel on the ground, almost the same size. The lemons are bare and mostly intact. Someone likes the white stuff between the peel and the lemon flesh.

Mar 15, 2019
Lemon peel eating
by: Joyce Morrison

I noticed today that many of my upper limb near the fence have their peel eaten off ... just started. I know I have a possum nightly, so from reading the input, assume it is him. Never happened before.

Dec 07, 2019
Lemon rinds
by: Anonymous

It’s probably possums. They eat ours.

May 12, 2021
First Fruits
by: JustMe Shas

I am in Melbourne Australia. First time I have ever had the lemon skins eaten from my lemons.. Thank you for this information. I will look into a net to cover the tree to see if that may stop whichever it is. I have copper around the base of the tree and could not see any evidence of snails. I hope it is a possum rather that a rodent. LOL There is a small fence near this tree as well Thank you for this helpful site

Jun 03, 2021
Lemon peel eater
by: Mary

I live in Wollongong NSW Australia. After 6 or so lemons were stripped of their peel, I harvested the rest and put in a bowl on an outside dining table. Big mistake! All stripped the next morning. Can't see bats standing on the table to eat so hoping it is possums, not rodents. Next year maybe I'll get a crop with the pepperm8nt oil trick.

Oct 11, 2021
Lemon rind lovers NEW
by: Pats

I have had this problem for some time now, on closer inspection, I noticed that the peel is left uneaten, and the rind is what they are after. Also two large incisor marks are very visible on the rind left behind. Guessing mice or rats.No possum droppings to be seen.

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