Oh basil, how delicious you are to people and to bugs. Luckily, our basil at EverSummer is all in a greenhouse so we don’t get too many bugs. Our main problem is thrips. These tiny monsters scratch the edges of leaves, causing tiny black dots and silver spots to show up. They multiply like crazy. There is a completely organic cure…BENEFICIAL INSECTS. We order a tiny mite called cucumeris. These guys are like mini janitors. They run around eating the thrip babies as fast as they can. They have the place cleaned up in days. Love these guys. Order them online from TipTop Bio.
What else likes basil? Aphids. These little war machines can do a lot of damage if you don’t catch them. If you find aphids on any of your plants, the best thing to do is cut off the affected part of the plant and throw it far, far away from your garden, preferably into a plastic bag and then into the garbage. If you just brush them off the plant they will climb back on. If you try to spray them with water, they will just dry off and hop back on. Spraying them with Safer Soap or Dr Bronner’s soap works okay, but it’s best to just physically get rid of them if you can.
Caterpillars, you beastly little green things. Did you ever read the children’s book “The Hungy Caterpillar” where the caterpillar ate through all the pages? Well, that is what they will do to your basil if given a chance. The eggs are tiny and white, laid on the underside of the leaf, and when they hatch, teeny little caterpillars come out and start feeding. The best way to get rid of them is to hand smush them, since there are usually not too many of them. I always feel kind of bad killing them, but they eat so much and so fast. Sorry, little guys.
There are so many other pests, too many to list. Contact me if you have any specific questions.