Something is eating my basil leaves

BimaldshahMay 4, 2012

Hello - I planted basil seeds in my raised garden and they sprouted few weeks ago. I was very happy to see the fresh leaves when suddenly something started eating them. the plant is still only few leaves large and thus the damage is substantial. I don't see any brown spots like other do. Just chewing from the edges going all the way to the stem. Does anyone know who the culprit is and how do I prevent further damage? I have cilantro, garlic, etc. planted close by with no damage. Thanks!

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It may very well be slugs. They love basil. To find out if it is, put out a few shallow dishes with raised edges (like the sauce cups you get a restaurants) and fill them about 3/4ths full with beer. Put them out near your basil plants right as it gets dark. Check the cups in the morning, and if there are drowned slugs in the beer, then you know what it is.

My mother used to do this with her gerber daisies and her basil plants. She said that slugs love beer and they would get into the cup/dish to get to it and then get drunk and drown lol. I havent done any research on this, but it always worked for her.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

I feel your pain! Something always eats my basil, and it's MINE! I love using it in recipes and hate wasting the parts that have bug koodies on them! Whatever it is, eats my mint (which I don't care about) too! Parsley seems immune.

I might just try that beer trick!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:43AM
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I am just adding a comment to say I have had the exact same problem this year. I also was thrilled to see basil only to mourn the disappearance of all the seedlings within a couple days.

In our case, we don't have slugs here (dry climate.) I tried the beer thing to no avail to see if I could catch anything...

I'm looking forward to other replies...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:38PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies....I personally don't think it's slugs...I haven't seen any slime..... I saw a cricket hiding there once but I haven't heard anyone call out cricket as something that eats basil. I have spread used tea ground and dry mint around basil and the eating seemed to have keeping an eye on it for now:-)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:29AM
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I have the same problem and twice now found toads lurking among the basil seedlings. Could they be the problem, or are they feeding on whatever is snacking on my basil plants?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Something munched on my basil too and i immediately blamed slugs so I set out handy dandy beer traps but the next morning it was obvious no slugs had come to the party. I sprinkled crushed up egg shells all around just in case slugs were lurking nearby. I am waiting for my local feed and supply to get in DE...that will be so much easier than saving egg shells!

What else would eat away the leaves?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 12:45PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Josko- Toads wouldn't eat the basil. They would be more interested in the bugs eating the basil.

Mari- Critters with four-legs also eat plants.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Snails were eating my basil plants until I used cardboard cups without bottom to protect them. The snails won't climb on the cardboard to get to the leaves. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:18PM
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I have discovered that small green caterpillars like my basil - I have caught them eating the fresh leaves!

I now spray the leaves lightly with insect spray - that helps

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 5:14PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

If you can see the bugs, you are better off just hand-picking and squashing them as opposed to insecticide on food plants.


    Bookmark   last Friday at 3:42AM
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