Need help identifying insect plauging basil

ravenmaid(z6 OK)June 21, 2005

There are white webs on my basil plants, primarily on the undersides of the leaves, connecting to the stems. These webs contain tiny (ca. 1/16 of an inch long)white larvae/worms. They do not seem to move, but the webs are larger each time I go into my garden. (Every few days)I recently started using a cayenne pepper spray for serpentine leafminers, which are also plauging my basil, but the webs keep growing. If anyone can give me an idea what these pests are, and how best to deal with them (preferably without resorting to chemical insecticides) I would be very grateful. I have searched the web to no avail.

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Hard to be certain without actually seeing, but it might be that the dreaded tent catepillar has decided it likes your basil. Do a google search and you will see the nasty critters. You have to hand pick them off your plants and destroy (by squashing). Most often, they attack trees and the limb affected must be cut off and burned.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:22PM
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ravenmaid(z6 OK)

Thank you for your suggesstion. I found much information about this pest on the web. Unfortunately, the eggs that are in the webbing do not match thoseof the tent caterpillar, and I have seen no caterpillars or moths matching the prescription. What I have may well be a variety of tent caterpillar, but I am not sure. Thank you for your advise, and I would appreciate any more comments on the subject.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:40PM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

I don't know what type of webbing / larvae it might be on basil but I wonder if they are still enough to try to smother them with a dose of insecticidal soap or neem oil? If that doesn't work, a long shot on the organic front would be Bt but that's usually for caterpillars and I doubt it would work on just the larvae / worms.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 7:10PM
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Wouldn't be surprised that if you just hand picked them and rubbed off the web, that would take care of them.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 9:10AM
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Maybe this is out in left field but is it possible you are seeing a spider mite infestation. They certainly take over plants with a webbing that just gets bigger and bigger as you mentioned. There is both a red variety which I'm more used to but there are other varieties that appear whiter. See this link:

and this image:

Best of luck

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 6:53PM
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