Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a wonderful herb in the mint family that adds flavor to pizza and pasta sauce. It’s easy to grow as long as it gets plenty of suns and has its leaves harvested regularly so that new plants will come up easily.
Unfortunately, animals love basil too! Here are some tips for figuring out what animals eat basils and how you can control them. Continue reading this article to know all about the basil plant and solve the mystery of what’s eating your basil leaves.
- 1. Squirrels
- 2. Rats
- 3. Caterpillars
- 4. Rabbits
- 5. Slugs/Snails
- 6. Leafhoppers
- 7. Moths
- 8. Root-knot Nematodes
- Use Chicken Wire
- Pick With Hand
- Use Solar-Powered Repellers
- Skip the Mulch
- Place Vaseline And Salt
- Place Eggshells
What Animals Eat Basil?
Many things can eat basil, but it’s not just people. It is the perfect food for any animal that likes to chow down on something both crunchy and tasty. From hedgehogs, chipmunks, bugs love this culinary delight. Here is a list of them all.
The squirrels are among those animals which love eating basil. The little striped mammals can’t get enough when there are fresh leaves on hand. So, they will often hoard food until it’s all gone and then start over again to make sure they’re getting their fair share each day.
Rats are known for their love of eating basil. In addition to nibbling basil leaves, rats and mice can also access plants and their roots from below ground (they tunnel and burrow just like gophers and moles).
Caterpillar (larva of a butterfly or moth) has various shapes and sizes. It loves munching on plant foliage, and basil leaves are it’s favorite.
Basil is generally safe for rabbits – in fact, it’s a healthy treat that they can have once or twice per week.
If you’re a vegetable grower, slugs and snails are the banes of your existence. Things get worse for those who love basil plants, as snails have a taste for basil leaves. They scrape along leaves and flowers using their rasp-like tongues.
In addition to the other small animals, you can find a soft-bodied animal called “leafhoppers” feasting on basil plant leaves. It leaves behind small holes in your shiny green leaves while feeding.
Moths, especially the cabbage moth and midget moth, eat basil. The cabbage moth can even cause severe crop damage to various plant species, including basil.
8. Root-knot Nematodes
Root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) is a worm-like animal that primarily lives in soil. It has a wide host range, and it can also infest your basil plant.
Signs That Basil Leaves Are Being Eaten
Identifying the pest by sight is the easiest way to detect it. However, you can also predict a pest based on its holes in leaves, even if you cannot see it. For example, here are the signs in the basil plant, which indicate the animals mentioned above eating it.
- Reduced number of leaves
- Yellowing and dry leaves
- Black sooty mold on the leaves
- Tiny, light spots
- Silvery shining areas on leaves
- Silvery leaf stippling, scarring
- Leaf distortion
- Little brown or black specks of feces on the leaves
Basil Prevention From Larger Animals
Basil is one of the most useful herbs, not just for its delicious taste but also because it can withstand harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, animals love to feed on basil leaves. But you can prevent them from doing so by taking the following actions as soon as possible.
Use Chicken Wire
To keep rabbits and rodents from reaching tender leaves of basil, you can use chicken wire. You may form a cylinder large enough so that animals cannot enter into its foliage and consume it. To anchor the edges effectively in place, we recommend using staples.
Be sure they’re tight against one another when fastened properly; otherwise, your rabbit fence will not work correctly.
Pick With Hand
You can easily remove caterpillars, snails, or slugs by plucking them off the leaves with fingers. It is best to drop them in soapy water for disposal.
Use Solar-Powered Repellers
The sound and vibrations of solar-powered repellers have ultrasonic frequencies that will keep the rodents away by scaring them. Since they’re solar-powered, they’re environmentally friendly and you can use this product without worry.
Skip the Mulch
Mulching is great for adding organic nutrients and weed control, but it can be bad if you have rodent problems. It seems like it just draws them in with an open invitation to make their nest here under this beautiful mulched-over soil.
It is best to skip the mulch or opt instead for wood chip variety which shouldn’t allow any buried access.
Place Vaseline And Salt
To protect the basil plant from slugs and snails, you should place some Vaseline around with salt so that these pests cannot reach your basil plants.
A sprinkle of eggshells onto your soil will also keep the animals away from basil.
Saving Basil Plant From Smaller Animals
- After finding a few basil plants infested with these animals, remove any withered or damaged vegetation immediately.
- Use organic pest control methods that work well with natural predators, i.e., songbirds, frogs, some species of wasps, and ladybirds.
- You can also use a homemade insecticidal soap by mixing one tbsp of molasses, 1 tbsp of dish soap in water. Add this mixture into a spray bottle and stir well so that the ingredients get mixed thoroughly. Spray this mixture all over your basil plant and wait for the amazing results!
>> Related Post:
- Easy Ways on How to Grow Basil in a Pot
- Why Are Your Basil Leaves Turning Yellow? It Could Be One Of These 5 Reasons!
- How Much Water Does Basil Need – Learn The Perfect Amount
- How Much Sun Does Basil Need – Ultimate Guide
- How To Grow Basil In Water (7 Tips)
Basil has become one of the most popular and versatile plants for growing in your garden. It is widely used as a herb for its unique properties. But unfortunately, the aroma and taste make it a favorite of the pests and animals too.
- Snails, slugs, caterpillars, Japanese beetles, aphids, whiteflies, gastropods, midget moths, cabbage moths, spider mites, bush crickets, and root-knot nematodes are the animals that eat basil.
- You can keep these animals and insects away by picking them by hand or spraying them with insecticides.
If you have any other questions or concerns about this subject, please let us know in the comments!