What Bug Is Eating My Basil (Detailed Information)

Basil is a beautiful plant that has a branching and superficial root system. The straight tetrahedral stem reaches 0.5–0.7 m in height, which is leafy and branched. Sparsely toothed oblong-ovate leaf plates are short-petiolate. There are villi on the surface of foliage and shoots. Irregular whorls consist of white, pinkish, or purple axillary flowers. The fruit contains nuts, which, after full ripening, are easily separated from each other. The seeds remain viable for five years.

Basil has a specific smell due to essential oil in the aerial part of the bush, which has a complex composition and antibacterial properties. Also, it contains vitamins C, B2, PP, pro-vitamin A, carotene, sugar, phytoncides, and rutin. You can use this plant to strengthen the immune system, thereby increasing the human body’s resistance to infections. What is discouraging is the bugs that attack this plant. Continue reading this article and know what bug is eating my basil.

What Bug Is Eating My Basil 1
Are slugs eating my basil? via Reddit

Ways To Grow Basil

  1. Transfer of an adult plant from open ground to a pot

This method is used by summer residents who grow basil in the beds in the summer. In this case, the youngest bushes that did not have time to bloom are dug out together with a lump of earth and transplanted into a pot. The growing season of these plants is short-lived, so that they will bloom soon enough, and you will need to cut off the peduncles or cut the shoots into cuttings to plant a new plant.

  1. Growing basil from cuttings from a previous bush

Side shoots or tops from an existing basil bush (or from one purchased on the market) are placed in water for 1-2 weeks so that they give roots. Then, they are planted in pots. After about half a month, you can cut the first greens. Such a bush will serve you 3-4 months.

  1. Growing a new basil bush from seeds

When planting the seeds, a basil plant will take 8-12 months to develop fully. But it will also provide you with fresh herbs much longer than basil has grown from cuttings.

What Bug Is Eating My Basil?

1. Aphids

Aphids are bugs that can significantly harm the basil. It sucks out the juice from the shoots and foliage. This makes leaf plates start to fold, development of the shoots stops, and the bush itself begins to dry out. Such a pest leaves sugary secretions on the plant’s surface, on which a sooty fungus prefers to settle, due to which the bush is covered with a bloom of a dark color. 

In addition, aphids are considered the primary vector of viral diseases, which are currently not treated. It would be best if you start fighting them immediately after detection. It can be fought with remedies, for example, decoctions of wormwood, tansy, hot pepper, tomato or potato tops, dandelion, yarrow, onion, garlic, or mustard. It will take 2-3 treatments with an interval of 1-1.5 weeks if the crop is grown outdoors.

2. Spider mite

They are small bugs with rounded bodies that eat the roots and leaves of the basil. When they appear on the plant, a spider web appears. You can get rid of them with the help of a soap solution and decoctions based on protective plants. This includes tomatoes, potatoes, wormwood, and calendars.

spider mite What Bug Is Eating My Basil
Red spider mites and eggs on a basil leaf via jimmyphotogallery

3. Snails

This is another bug that eats basil. It has a swirling shell on the body and a gastropod mollusk, which consists of a head and a leg, covered with a mantle. On the head of the snails, there are two tentacles with eyes. They eat basil leaves and reproduce near the plants by laying eggs in the upper layers of the soil.

The earth is loosened to get rid of the snails, and the eggs themselves die in the open air. Slaked lime and salt can be sprinkled on plants and soil, which are effective against snails. Also, you can use a vial of ammonia, dilute it in 10 liters of water and pour it into basil.

Snail What Bug Is Eating My Basil
snail eating close up via Pixabay

4. Slugs

Slugs are known for eating basil. They reproduce by laying eggs in the upper layers of the soil. They prefer alkaline soils rich in potassium. After hatching, they move to the leaves of nearby plants and eat them. As a result, many holes appear on the leaf plate that can be discerned with the naked eye.

Slugs can be controlled by collecting them with the eggs, and young individuals living in the ground are killed by loosening the soil. You can sprinkle the plants and soil with slaked lime, which decomposes bugs’ internal organs and outer shells.

slugs What Bug Is Eating My Basil
Banana slug damage to Disporum smithii via Flickr

5. Field or meadow bugs

The field or meadow bugs are the sucking insects that feed on the basil sap. As a result, deformation of the leaf plates occurs, specks of a whitish color are formed on their surface, and then they become brown and gradually die off. Both larvae and adults of these bugs can harm the basil.

In winter, the bugs settle in the upper layer of the soil or loose leaves. To deal with them, you should use the same methods as with aphids.

6. Khrushchev

Khrushchev is small beetle with an oblong body surface of 4 to 60 mm long. Adults are covered with hairs and scales. You can find them in different colors like black, brown, red or light yellow. Unlike other types of bugs, Khrushchev eats the basil root system at a depth of 15 cm.

They are May beetle larvae, which are often confused with bronze beetles. The most effective way to control them is deep digging of the earth and mechanical destruction of insects.

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Conclusion

Basil is a beautiful plant, which is known as an excellent healer and a favorite spice. It has oblong-oval shiny leaves that can be bright green, dark green, and even green-purple. The leaves of different varieties of basil differ not only in color but also in shape. The plant has the essential oil with a wound-healing effect and can help eliminate spasms of various natures. Basil is attacked by different bugs, which can cause severe damage to the entire plant. With the above list, you know those bugs that eat my basil.

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