Last updated on February 5th, 2022
Did you know that basil plants can attract several pests? I was always under the impression that basil helps prevent insects from getting attracted to the plants growing in your garden.
How often have we heard that basil spray can act as an insect repellent, and how often have you heard that the juice basil leaves can act as an antiseptic.
However, I was surprised when I heard of basil plants showing bite marks from pests and insects.
As I started reading about basil plants and their care, I was surprised to find that many species can attract insects. Some of the animals, especially insects that eat basil, are as follows:
Animals that eat basil:
- Spider Mites
- Bush Crickets
- Japanese Beetles
List of animals that eat basil:
Slugs love to eat basil plants, attacking both young and old basil plants.
If you plant basil in your garden and find the dirty marks of slugs around the region where you have planted the basil, you can be assured that these creatures visited these plants to consume the leaves.
Slugs find the leaves of a basil plant to be quite delicious, and they can destroy a basil plant.
One of the reasons basil plants attract slugs is that these plants thrive in mulch. Unfortunately, mulch also attracts slugs and snails.
If you want to protect your basil plants from slugs, one of the best ways would be to plant these in pots.
You can then put a perimeter of Vaseline and salt around the pots, and these will act as a deterrent to the slugs.
If you find tiny black dots on the leaves of your basil plant, then this can be a sign of aphid infestation.
Aphids usually suck the juice from the leaves and later on the plant’s stem. Sometimes aphids leave behind honeydew-like sticky substances on the underside of the leaves.
You can extract the aphids from the plants by first removing the affected leaves and then spraying the plants with insecticidal soap.
Regular spraying with pesticides can also help in removing the aphids. However, if you do not take steps to stop an aphid infestation right at the onset, it can reduce your harvest significantly.
Therefore, you should take swift action to control the infestation the moment you see one or two aphids on your plant.
Snails like slugs love to eat basil leaves. If you have planted your basil plants on the ground or mulch, the chances are that it will attract snails.
Like slugs, snails can eat both young and old basil plants. You can protect your basil plants by planting them in pots instead of directly on the soil.
If you want to plant your basil in soil, you can draw a perimeter around the plants with crushed oyster shells.
This will prevent the snails from climbing through the perimeter to the plants. Otherwise, you can also try handpicking the snails, but this is not a permanent solution.
Snails will continue coming back to attack your basil plants unless you take steps to remove the pests.
Whiteflies are known to attack basil plants like aphids. They can lodge on the underside of the leaves of a basil plant and consume the sap entirely.
If you find too many brown and mottled leaves on your basil plant, it indicates that the plant is suffering from whitefly infestation.
An easy way to detect the whiteflies is to check for brown, white or black sooty mold on the plants.
If you find mold on your basil plants, then the chances are that it is suffering from a whitefly infestation.
When you see a whitefly infestation, you must use pesticide or insecticide to remove the infestation.
Caterpillars are known to eat the young and old basil leaves. You can quickly identify a caterpillar infestation by observing the plant’s leaves.
You will find that the caterpillars eat away the leaves, which can reduce the harvest significantly.
Butterflies lay eggs on the basil leaves, which hatch into the caterpillars. These caterpillars will then consume the basil leaves.
Caterpillars prefer sweet basil leaves, and if you do not control an infestation at the onset, it can destroy the plants.
You can remove the caterpillars by picking them from the leaves. But the best way would be to spray the plants with insecticidal soap.
6. Spider mites
Spider mites are also known to attack basil plants as these insects love to suck the sap from the basil leaves.
You can identify a spider mite infestation by closely observing the plant’s leaves. First, if you see a tiny web-like structure on the leaves, it indicates that your basil plant has a spider mite infestation.
Next, you will find that most leaves of your plant have become mottled and dry due to a spider mite infestation.
Finally, you will find that the leaves have turned brown and dry due to infestation. This is due to the lack of sap in the leaves.
If you want to remove a mite infestation, the only way to control it would be to spray the plants with insecticidal soap.
7. Bush crickets
Bush crickets are known to consume basil leaves, and you will find that these creatures can crawl across the plant’s stem.
Birds and small predators usually consume bush crickets. Predators can consume full-grown insects and even smaller nymphs.
If you want to use natural methods to remove the bush crickets, you can set up a bird feeder in your garden.
You can also use Neem oil spray or garlic spray on the plants. You can remove Bush crickets by directly spraying the Neem oil or the garlic spray onto the leaves directly.
When spraying on the leaves, ensure that you cover both the upper and the lower side of the leaves.
8. Japanese beetles
Japanese beetles love to consume the leaves and the sap of the basil plant.
These insects can destroy a basil plant if its growth is not checked at the onset.
One of the easiest ways to control the Japanese beetle is spraying Neem oil or garlic spray. Garlic spray is one of the most natural ways of controlling Japanese beetles.
The beetles can consume all the leaves of a basil plant. However, garlic makes the leaves unpalatable for them.
As a result, the beetles will avoid attacking your basil plants. When you spray the basil plants with garlic, ensure that you cover the entire plant. This will prevent more beetles from attacking the plants again.
Moths are known to attack and consume basil leaves as well as mint leaves. They can lay eggs on the basil plant, and these eggs will hatch into larvae.
The larvae will consume the leaves, and these can destroy the plant. If you find the leaves have turned yellow, mottled, or brown, then the chances are that moths are attacking the plants.
If you want to protect your basil plant from moth attack, you can spray pesticide or insecticide.
You can also spray the plants with Neem oil or garlic spray if you use a natural method to protect your basil plants from moths.