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Old 11-28-2011, 05:51 AM   #1
Lara
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Ooo Basil and Bugs

It's very hot and humid here where I live right now and I've got these tiny little green bugs eating all the basil that I've just planted out into my new herb garden. They are very green and look like miniature grasshoppers or crickets. Tiny things, the size of my little finger nail.

Anyone have any suggestions for protecting the plants without using pesticides?

How come they love basil so much anyway? They've not touched anything else at all. It's really annoying as I use the basil so much. Maybe I could use mosquito netting or something.
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:59 AM   #2
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Hi Lara, it sounds like aphids or leaf hoppers, but if not then I don't know what they would be.

Here's a great photographic reference that I use. The photos are really helpful for working out where to begin.

http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to...ory/veg-herbs/


And here are some more I found while searching for you:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/l...200492528.html

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/l...033321510.html

Before you can work out what to do about your pests, you'll first have to identify them. Once you've done that we can help you look for a remedy. I sort of hope they're aphids because they're relatively easy to control.

I hope that helps some.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:19 AM   #3
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Thanks for those links.

This one describes what is happening exactly and I have actually noticed adult grasshoppers on my hibiscus in the past few weeks. That's my hibiscus that I chopped back hard with great fear, but is now lush and green and flowering profusely. The herb garden and the hibiscus are only a couple of metres apart.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/l...200492528.html

Quote:
IF these little critters look JUST like teensy grasshoppers, then it is quite likely that they are grasshopper nymphs. Grasshoppers are extremely small when they hatch from their eggs. They are able to hop all over the place, but cannot fly until they grow up. They shed their skin periodically, and will change their color (and size) as they do so. SO! Take a good look and let us know if you're sure that they are grasshopper babies, or not.

Another clue is that the nymphs of grasshoppers feed in just the same way as the adults. They eat foliage. If you have a lot of them, then your basil plants will end up, piece by piece, into the tummies of these little guys, who won't stay little for very long.

At this early stage, insecticidal soap would be helpful, as would neem oil.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:28 AM   #4
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OK, Sounds like a leaf hopper. Have a look and see if this is the trouble maker.

http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to...ts-leafhopper/

It's too late for me to look any more for you tonight, but I'll try and find a remedy for you tomorrow.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:21 AM   #5
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Probably baby grasshoppers. If they consume everything on the plant they are grasshoppers.

One year upNorth, I had a zillion of these. In June. I had a flat of
blue eyed star grass I had started from seed--a long process, on the dock that was about 4in high. It was windy so when we went to town for food, I moved them down to the gravel. (things tend to blow off). We were just gone an hour or so, and when we got back, all gone. Eaten down to nothing. I was so mad.... we looked carefully around, and yep there were tiny grasshoppers everywhere. We used to have zillions. One reason there were never flowers along the shore, I suspect.

So I checked some catalogs and found a natural deterrent. It was a spore mold made at a university to sterilize the adults so they wouldn't propagate! It worked, but took 3 seasons and now this product is banned in my state even! We have no grasshoppers around our house tho. Down the way on the shore there are as many as ever, but we are spared. They must be quite territorial or something.

Until the product took hold I would walk around and pinch them off. Larger ones I'd hit with a fly swatter and stunning them and then squash with a rock (they are difficult to kill out right).

The ones mating were my target...since occupied this way they were slower to sail off. Many start off green and then change color when they grow up. I also learned that grasshoppers are cannibals, and the large ones eat the smaller. Our late Tippy used to hunt them which I encouraged!

I think the Basil is just tender and yummy. And went first.

It was about 5 yrs of grasshopper frenzy... but now it is gone and I have wildflowers along the shore again!

Here is a Google search for "grasshopper nymph"
http://www.google.com/search?q=grass...w=1173&bih=743

And yes when first hatched out they are really small, and difficult to see.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koala77 View Post
OK, Sounds like a leaf hopper. Have a look and see if this is the trouble maker.

http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to...ts-leafhopper/

It's too late for me to look any more for you tonight, but I'll try and find a remedy for you tomorrow.
No need to look more. That's it!

I've just been out looking and squished a few. Little blighters have been having a feeding frenzy over night. I'll try the cardboard trick in that link Koala has left me and just go out from time to time and squish a few more. A flyswat might work but they really move very fast.

Normally I don't really like squishing insects because I figure every one of them has a reason for being here like me. lol Then again, there's no reason I can see for having hundreds of grown up nasty grasshoppers jumping at me when I go into the garden. If you could only hear me scream when one jumps on me. UGH

Thankyou both! All will be well.

P.S. Wow, looking at those photos in your link mrsD... a few of them are incredibly beautiful. Only a few!!!
There are some little bugs I see here from time to time and they're so beautiful. They're iridescent blue and black pattern. Nature is amazing.
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Last edited by Lara; 11-28-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:59 PM   #7
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Leaf hoppers suck plant juices.

Baby grasshoppers EAT the leaves themselves.

Put on a pair of work gloves and just squish them. It might be just a crop from an egg stash near you, and then you might find fewer.

It can be an endless battle... ahhhh...the joys of gardening!

I personally found it very satisfying bashing their brains out with rocks, after they destroyed my efforts up there. Just getting my stuff up there is a real job, to have it ruined in one day? I have no guilt bashing them up! Our shoreline is huge, there are plenty more in both directions!
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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It must have been just awful seeing all your plants eaten like that.

OK, I'm getting the hang of squishing them now. Next door doesn't have them, I asked. I think you're correct about the eggs nearby because I didn't have the hoppers around the back when all my herbs were in pots. Only happened since I made my new garden and I had seen large grasshoppers on my hibiscus which is very close.


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Old 11-28-2011, 07:49 PM   #9
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Aha! I found a grasshopper spray using natural ingredients.


HOME MADE CHILLI SPRAY

Blend together half a cup of fresh chillies with 2 cups of water. Add a dash of dishwashing liquid to improve sticking. If you have no chillies substitute with 2 tablespoons of Tabasco sauce. Always spray a small section of the plant to check for leaf burn. Check in 24 hours and if there is no damage spray all the plants you want to protect. Leaf burn with any spray is more likely to occur during hot weather.

http://www.greenharvest.com.au/pestc...pper_info.html


That site also suggests a garlic spray, but doesn't tell you how to make it. There are other non chemical suggestions listed as well.

Another option is to make a bait. That same site says to use Canola Oil as a grasshopper attractant It's used to make baits more attractive to grasshoppers, combined with organic insecticides to make them more effective and floated as an oil on top of water traps.

Good luck.
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Last edited by Koala77; 11-29-2011 at 04:30 AM. Reason: Fixed the typos
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:58 PM   #10
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Wow. That's such great information, Koala. Thank you very much for all of that.

I do have chilli and I also have Tabasco and I also have garlic.

By the time I'm finished spraying the basil, I won't need to use garlic on the bread when I make my bruschetta. LOL

I've just been outside to check for the little blighters and there's none there this morning. Maybe that's because I killed so many of them yesterday. Kept going back every hour or so. Gosh, they were everywhere.

That's an excellent site that you posted. I'll save that one for sure.

Have a good day there.
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