hdjphoto
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What's Eating My Basil & Strawberrys

Hi my basil and strawberries have been under attack. Do you guys know what is eating my plants, and what I should do to fix it. Organic solutions or at least very mild pesticides please.

Here's the gallery:

https://imgur.com/a/VUeXw

Not sure how much info you need but we are located in Southern California near the beach.

Thank you

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What's Eating My Basil & Strawberrys

I'm thinking two different things. The holes in the basil leaves look like the kind of damage that slugs leave behind. The little scraped looking places on the strawberry leaves look like the marks from some piercing/ sucking insect, like maybe thrips.

If you type slugs or slug control into the search box at top left you will find a ton of stuff written here about them, since they are a very common garden pest. I use diatomaceous earth against them, but there's lots of different things you can try (probably all of them helpful and none perfect). The diatomaceous earth is pretty effective, but has to be re-applied after rain. Since where I am it has done nothing but rain all summer (sorry all you people in drought; if I could send you some, I would), I gave up on the DE. You will never see the slugs unless you come out late at night with a flashlight and check under sides of leaves and where leaves join stems.

Thrips are teeny, tiny, barely visible insects. If you shake a leaf over a piece of white paper, you may see them looking like tiny bits of thread. You can treat for them (organically) with Neem oil, Safer's insecticidal soap, or Spinosad.

It helps if you grow nectar bearing flowers in your garden to encourage the beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, etc. All of those prey on thrips and other pests in your garden.
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hdjphoto
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Re: What's Eating My Basil & Strawberrys

Thank you so much for the advice. I'll look into your ideas and solutions! I'll post back my progress! Thank you!!

auntmel
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Re: What's Eating My Basil & Strawberrys

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WHAT ARE THESE? Sounds like what was all over my basil earlier this summer. Later black and red insects with same anatomy as gray bugs appeared. Don't know what these fellows are, but the black one bit me. Photos attached are shed skin, tiny gray bugs, and black and red larger bug.
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applestar
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Re: What's Eating My Basil & Strawberrys

That last photo looks like a leafhopper.... They are sucking insects and when they pick a leaf ein to suck on, they chew through causing a rupture and brown callus, often resulting in broken leaf.

The feeding adults and clustered juveniles can attract ants for the exuded honeydew.

I'm not sure that the leafhoppers bite or sting (never seen red and black one like that here) but the ants will bite to protect them.

Since their feeding damage is not always fatal to the plant (though they can spread disease) I generally just try to hand pick them and squish them if I can (they do hop and can be quick). But spraying dilute SOAPY water (or commercial insecticidal soap) directly on them is effective too.
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