Basil - Knowledgebase Question

Litchfield, Ne
Question by Kimdomino6
June 30, 2010
I have a basil plant in a pot. I am getting bugs who are eating the leaves. What can I put on to kill the bugs but not hurt me eating the leaves?


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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The best solution to pests is to grow healthy plants, as stressed plants are targeted by pests for attack. In most gardens there's a balance of beneficial insects and destructive insects. Once a population of bad guys gets established, a crew of good guys usually shows up. Since you're growing organically, you'll probably want the insects to battle it out, with the good guys gaining control. You can encourage beneficials by having something in bloom at all times, and by avoiding the use of pesticides (which will kill good guys as well as bad guys). Even organic (botanically derived) pesticides can harm beneficial insects and should be used only as a last resort. Most pesticides are pest specific, so it's important to positively identify the destructive insects and use a product that targets them and them alone. Without knowing what's doing the eating, I can't recommend a solution. At this point I'd try to identify the damaging insects. Look beneath leaves and along stems. If you don't see anything during the day, go out after dark with a flashlight and see if you can determine what's causing the damage. Then send us an email with a description so we can help. Thanks for writing!

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