Mites and Mealybugs on Citrus
About seven years ago we started several citrus plants from seeds. They have never fruited but have lots of sentimental value. Every winter we move them indoors, the leaves get sticky, webs appear on the branches and mealy bugs move in. When moved outdoors it attracts lots of ants. Anyway to avoid these pests so we can keep the plant?
Anytime we move plants outdoors for the summer and back in for the winter we increase our risk of insect pests. Always isolate and check the plants prior to moving them back indoors with your other houseplants. The symptoms you describe suggest you have mites (the webbing) as well as mealy bugs. The clear sticky substance is called honeydew. It is secreted by mites, aphids, mealy bugs and scale insects. Consider treating the plant with insecticidal soap. This soap is good at killing soft bodied insects but gentler on the environment. Spot treat visible mealy bugs with a cotton swap dipped in alcohol. Treat the plants when you bring them indoors for the winter. Check frequently throughout the winter and treat at the first sign of insects. It is easier to control a few pests than several hundred. Persistence is the secret to keeping your plants healthy and the pest population down.