White Flies on Basil
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Char-Lee Murphy
Posted on: November 10, 2005

Hardly a day goes by that I do not use fresh basil. I grow it in two large pots on my patio. I can not stop the explosion of tiny flies (I think) on my basil. The plants are seemingly healthy, but when I jiggle the plants, the little flies storm around. The leaves are heavily infected with black spots that have an irregular white ring radiating out. I have found small patches of white egg nests on the underside of the leaves. There are no ants, caterpillars, etc. I bought 2 plants from a nursery that had the spots, and now the problem is rampant. Is there any way I can rid the plants of this pest or do they have to be destroyed (really hate to) and new ones grown? I live in South Florida, USA.

The black spots are caused by the sucking and toxins injected by the white flies. Spray your plants with neem oil, at the rate of one teaspoon of the oil per liter(quart) of water and add half a teaspoon of Safer’s soap concentrate or dishwash detergent to the spray to emulsify the oil. Repeat the spray every three days (in your warm area) at night (to avoid sunburn) until no new eggs or adults are noticed. If you cannot find neem oil use just Safer’s soap, but repeat the sprays every 8 hours.

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