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Indoors insect problem only on basil (so far)

Posted by Rick7072 6b (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 18, 12 at 23:40

Hi folks -- outside of Boston in addition to my outdoor herb plants I've just started growing oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram indoors under grow lights, with stem cuttings from my outdoor plants. So far they're doing ok but now I sure do understand all the warnings about insects often being a problem with indoor herb gardens. I'm trying to identify these particular little fellows that look like fruit flies that I see flying around the plants and near the soil. So far the only damage I see is to the basil plants where some of the leaves are chewed and others look gnarled and misshapen (photos below).

From searching on this forum and elsewhere I'm guessing they're fungus gnats, but I'm not positive because I thought fungus gnats chew on roots rather than leaves? Maybe the leaves are gnarled because the roots are getting eaten. But what would explain the chewed-looking leaves? I don't see any insect eggs on the underside of the leaves.

I'm curious also about why it would be only the basil plants that are affected .... unless they're just harbingers of what's to come on my other plants...

I see many suggestions on this forum for how to control fungus gnats, so for now I just want to make sure that's what I'm dealing with. Thanks much for any help.

Here's one of the insects on the terra cotta container:


And here are the chewed-up and gnarled basil leaves:




Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Indoors insect problem only on basil (so far)

Fungus gnat larvae feed on organic matter and tender plant roots in the potting soil. The adults don't feed on anything. Something else chewed on the leaves and something different has caused the distortion. I'd hesitate to guess who those other guys might be without seeing the plant in person....but you do have fungus gnats (and their little wormy larvae) .

RE: Indoors insect problem only on basil (so far)

Hmm... I guess I have a very diverse gardenscape -- oregano, fungus gnats, basil, leaf-chewing insects, thyme, leaf-gnarling creatures, marjoram... All part of the great diversity of nature... :-))) :-(((((

Can anyone hazard a guess as to what could cause leaves to get chewed and gnarled? Thanks for any help.

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