Basil is one of the most common herbs used by people, and is in plenty of dishes. However, it also is a fan favorite among select pests. Homeowners may be astonished when they see holes in several leaves on their basil plants, as this herb is fairly hardy and can survive in several types of elements. Consider these tips to keep pests away from the basil in your garden.
Why pest eat basil
Certain pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, Japanese beetles, slugs and even grasshoppers love basil, Gardening Know How noted. However, they may eat the basil in different ways. For example, the Japanese beetle likes eating the thinner edges of the basil leaves, but will not eat near the stem. This creates leaves that look similar to lace. Slugs are a little less careful with their eating habits. They will leave zigzag-patterned holes in your basil leaves. Regardless of what type of pests you have crawling near your basil, all can destroy or ruin your plants.
Pest management tips
Soap and water: Skip the store and make your own natural insecticide at home. All you need is water and a little dish detergent. If you notice your basil leaves look like they could accompany a lace top, you may have a Japanese beetle problem. Luckily, a little soap and water can get rid of them. Pluck this pest from the leaves and place them in a jar of the mixture. The soap traps them and stops their ability to move.
Garden netting: If you've got grasshoppers jumping over to your basil leaves, you'll want to get these creatures off of them as quickly as possible. Use garden fabric, which essentially looks like a loose burlap sack. This material is light enough that it doesn't hurt your plants or suffocate them, but it does protect them from the voracious appetite of the grasshopper.
Egg shells: No one likes pesto with slime as an added ingredient. If you have slugs slithering around your garden, you most likely aren't pleased. Luckily, there's a natural and safe way to get rid of these slugs in your herb garden. Crush egg shells and scatter them in the dirt around your basil plants, Spark People suggested. The slugs will slide over these shells and hurt themselves, but won't die. They'll just learn not to come back.
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