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My basil had been doing fairly well and produced several batches of pesto etc, but now they are being affected by very small insects pictured here. 

 

To my naked eye, they appear as small black specks the size of the head of a pin.  With extreme enlargement using all my macro equipment on my camera, they appear as the attached images. 

I have been spraying the leaves with a solution of water that I have steeped tobacco in, in the sun, with some dish soap, but they keep returning despite keeping the watering to the base of the plants and not on the leaves.  I'm left to just crush them by hand and/or remove the leaves as the leaves become sickly looking once the bugs are present.

Any other suggestions?

 

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Spray some soapy water on them,may help.better than chemicals.

regards Worgeordie

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Yep, that's what I'm doing @worgeordie:)

I'm just wondering if there are any other additives such as tobacco (nicotine is a poison) that might be recommended.  I used such a mixture with success back in the US when bringing chili plants indoors and they were covered with some kind of white flies. They were gone in short order. :)

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20 minutes ago, emanphoto said:

Yep, that's what I'm doing @worgeordie:)

I'm just wondering if there are any other additives such as tobacco (nicotine is a poison) that might be recommended.  I used such a mixture with success back in the US when bringing chili plants indoors and they were covered with some kind of white flies. They were gone in short order. :)

You can buy tobacco leaves in the markets,soak it in water,

dont know what dose though,google it.

regards worgeordie

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http://www.naturallivingideas.com/12-organic-ways-get-rid-aphids/

 

But the true organic approach is to think prevention (not extermination) so you don't have the aphid problem to begin with.

Build healthy, organic matter rich soil with mineral balance and biological activity and you won't have serious pest problems and have to use harsh sprays. 

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Fruitman and WatUp have good suggestions for general pest control options, but breaking it down here's my two satang. 

 

A leafy green edible, is a different situation than a fruit or grain producing plant. Any substance that you put directly on an edible portion of the plant, like leaves, you will likely smell it and taste it and eat it undiluted, unless of course you wash it off thoroughly; if you can get it off thoroughly. 

Wood vinegar is an effective pesticide, but is really potent stinky stuff.

There are two primary forms of neem available for pest suppression.  Azadirachtin extract is the most concentrated and effective pest repellent, reproductive disruptor, anti-feedant.  But right now there is a big controversy about Azadirachtin poisoning in the cannabis industry. Of course inhalation is different than digestive intake, but the point is that this substance is very concentrated and possibly has a level of toxicity for human consumption.

The other common form of neem (at a fraction of the cost) is clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil. (70% Neem Oil) It's an effective general insect and mite and fungal disease control, and not such a concentrated chemical substance as the Azadirachtin.  But it is an oil, and forms an oily coating like horticultural oil. - A good property for suffocation of pest eggs and larvae on roses or citrus, but do you want it on your basil? or other leafy greens?  I don't.

Same with insecticidal soap. And by the way, don't use just any soap for plant applications; any soaps will kill or repel pests, but some soaps and detergents have surfactants that can be phytotoxic. Best to use an insecticidal soap formulated for plant applications.

From my experience growing basil, it takes really poor growing conditions and an extremely stressed or over fertilized plant to invite pests. Go with improving growing conditions, soil fertility and water management before you resort to an exterminator to contaminate your tasty greens.

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On 01/05/2017 at 5:55 AM, drtreelove said:

Fruitman and WatUp have good suggestions for general pest control options, but breaking it down here's my two satang. 

 

A leafy green edible, is a different situation than a fruit or grain producing plant. Any substance that you put directly on an edible portion of the plant, like leaves, you will likely smell it and taste it and eat it undiluted, unless of course you wash it off thoroughly; if you can get it off thoroughly. 

Wood vinegar is an effective pesticide, but is really potent stinky stuff.

There are two primary forms of neem available for pest suppression.  Azadirachtin extract is the most concentrated and effective pest repellent, reproductive disruptor, anti-feedant.  But right now there is a big controversy about Azadirachtin poisoning in the cannabis industry. Of course inhalation is different than digestive intake, but the point is that this substance is very concentrated and possibly has a level of toxicity for human consumption.

The other common form of neem (at a fraction of the cost) is clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil. (70% Neem Oil) It's an effective general insect and mite and fungal disease control, and not such a concentrated chemical substance as the Azadirachtin.  But it is an oil, and forms an oily coating like horticultural oil. - A good property for suffocation of pest eggs and larvae on roses or citrus, but do you want it on your basil? or other leafy greens?  I don't.

Same with insecticidal soap. And by the way, don't use just any soap for plant applications; any soaps will kill or repel pests, but some soaps and detergents have surfactants that can be phytotoxic. Best to use an insecticidal soap formulated for plant applications.

From my experience growing basil, it takes really poor growing conditions and an extremely stressed or over fertilized plant to invite pests. Go with improving growing conditions, soil fertility and water management before you resort to an exterminator to contaminate your tasty greens.

Good comments about the use of Neem and vinegar. I have no hesitation about using either at an early stage of growth, by the time the plants have reached maturity any remaining ingredients that haven't been washed off or deteriorated will be insignificant. Prevention better than cure.

However I do not agree that healthy soil prevents aphid attacks, this can happen at any time in the most well managed environment, as can all wind borne insects, fungi and bacteria. I have beautiful well cared for soil and that doesn't help prevent problems cropping up. Soil borne diseases, some of which love nice soil, won't go away without much work. Nobody in our village can cultivate tomatoes (they can down in the rice fields a few hundred metres away) at all, I have moderate success but tomato wilt seems to be everywhere.

Basil: we have some kind of fungal infection that attacks the plants after a year or so, I just tear them out and burn them, self sown seedlings take their place.

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I had this same problem last year with the black bugs,  I sprayed it a couple of times with Sunlight detergent / soap ... and all cleared up,. I ended up with the largest Basil plant I had ever seen by October!

 

Enough pesto for me and a local restaurant!

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I redoubled my efforts to eradicate these bugs using just diluted dish soap sprayed on the leaves and watering only at the base of the plants.  Today I checked on them and they are completely free of the pests.  I sprayed them again because I know from previous times they will try to come back.  Yes the leaves will need washing if picked anytime soon but I do that anyway as I live 1/2 a block away from Sukumvit 71 plus the dust etc that might land on them.

 

In the case of these insects, one can't be intermittent in one's application of the spray plus picking of the leaves already with the bugs on them.  Twice a day is an effective remedy.  Whether or not tobacco should be steeped in the water used to make the spray, I'm not sure.  The original advice I got stated I should get some cheap cigars which, as are many things, difficult to find here.

 

RE: Soil... I'd love to find a source of good soil here!  I do have a garbage can full of organic kitchen waste that will hopefully be ready soon.  I've added earthworms to it as we have a fishing supply store nearby and  they are easy to find.

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Good discussion.  Cooked, it's not the soil factor alone, but as you know there are many components to IPM, as intelligent plant management, that work to reduce pest susceptibility.  Yesterday I sprayed Pyganic (pyrethrins botanical insecticide) on a plum tree for a customer in Palo Alto with one of the heaviest aphid infestations I have seen. It had been pruned too heavily and the rampant re-growth at the top was loaded with aphids. Another customer down the street with the same kind of plum but with more conservative pruning was clear of pests. Over fertilization, especially with high N chemical fert is another factor that invites pests. Companion planting, attracting birds, mulching, water management, etc all work together.

 

Emanphoto, you are onto a great way to improve your soil, but your fishing worms may not be the best, as they are not the same species of worm for processing raw composting material. There is a specific type of red worm that is best for "vermicomposting" . 

 

https://www.planetnatural.com/worm-composting/

"Don’t go out and dig out night crawlers that live in the soil by your home to populate your compost bin. Night crawlers need to tunnel through dirt to eat and survive and they can’t live on vegetable waste. Instead, you need redworms — Eisenia foetida (also known as red wiggler, brandling or manure worm) and Lumbricus rubellus (manure worm)."

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12 hours ago, drtreelove said:

Good discussion.  Cooked, it's not the soil factor alone, but as you know there are many components to IPM, as intelligent plant management, that work to reduce pest susceptibility.  Yesterday I sprayed Pyganic (pyrethrins botanical insecticide) on a plum tree for a customer in Palo Alto with one of the heaviest aphid infestations I have seen. It had been pruned too heavily and the rampant re-growth at the top was loaded with aphids. Another customer down the street with the same kind of plum but with more conservative pruning was clear of pests. Over fertilization, especially with high N chemical fert is another factor that invites pests. Companion planting, attracting birds, mulching, water management, etc all work together.

 

Emanphoto, you are onto a great way to improve your soil, but your fishing worms may not be the best, as they are not the same species of worm for processing raw composting material. There is a specific type of red worm that is best for "vermicomposting" . 

 

https://www.planetnatural.com/worm-composting/

"Don’t go out and dig out night crawlers that live in the soil by your home to populate your compost bin. Night crawlers need to tunnel through dirt to eat and survive and they can’t live on vegetable waste. Instead, you need redworms — Eisenia foetida (also known as red wiggler, brandling or manure worm) and Lumbricus rubellus (manure worm)."

As far as I'm concerned if you use Pyrethroid derivatives you may as well  use a chemical pesticide.

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On May 6, 2017 at 8:35 PM, drtreelove said:

Good discussion.  Cooked, it's not the soil factor alone, but as you know there are many components to IPM, as intelligent plant management, that work to reduce pest susceptibility.  Yesterday I sprayed Pyganic (pyrethrins botanical insecticide) on a plum tree for a customer in Palo Alto with one of the heaviest aphid infestations I have seen. It had been pruned too heavily and the rampant re-growth at the top was loaded with aphids. Another customer down the street with the same kind of plum but with more conservative pruning was clear of pests. Over fertilization, especially with high N chemical fert is another factor that invites pests. Companion planting, attracting birds, mulching, water management, etc all work together.

 

Emanphoto, you are onto a great way to improve your soil, but your fishing worms may not be the best, as they are not the same species of worm for processing raw composting material. There is a specific type of red worm that is best for "vermicomposting" . 

 

https://www.planetnatural.com/worm-composting/

"Don’t go out and dig out night crawlers that live in the soil by your home to populate your compost bin. Night crawlers need to tunnel through dirt to eat and survive and they can’t live on vegetable waste. Instead, you need redworms — Eisenia foetida (also known as red wiggler, brandling or manure worm) and Lumbricus rubellus (manure worm)."

If I see these red worms for sale I'll get some.  Unfortunately finding such things here is a real treasure hunt and for the most part, one can get what they can get.  Can't say what has happened to the worms added to my mulch barrel.  There's some dirt in there mixed in.  There are also lots of bugs that seem to enjoy hanging around there giving the jinkjoks plenty to do at night. :) 

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