What is causing pinholes in my basil?

by Cmac
I cannot see any kind of insect or pest on the plant. This happens every year and I lose about half my basil every year.

  5 answers
  • BillieandRob Linhart BillieandRob Linhart on Jul 14, 2017

    Despite all its insect repellent properties, basil itself is subject to a variety of pests, including leaf-chewing slugs, snails, Japanese beetles, rose beetles, caterpillars, thrips, white flies and flea beetles. Realizing that there are a number of pests that feed on basil, your first step will be to clearly identify which pest is causing the leaf damage before a course of action can be chosen. Slugs and their relatives hide during the day, but during the night they leave telltale slime trails to identify them after the fact. Flea beetles can hide on the undersides of the leaves, with many tiny shot holes as evidence of their presence. Most of the others are able to be observed during the day if you are vigilant.

    Once identified, one or more of the solutions below will help you to successfully grow and harvest this useful, valuable herb.

    Create a healthy environment by providing your plants with full sun and ample water. Plant in a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.

    Rotate plants and introduce beneficial insects into your garden.

    Use organic controls including insecticidal soap and oils, B.t. (Bacillus thuringiensis), plant-based insecticides (pyrethrums) and diatomaceous earth.

    • Cathy Cathy on Jul 14, 2017

      Thank you so much - you have given me several great solutions to my problem. I think the environment is good in regard to the light, water, and nutrient rich soil, but the basil must be infested (even though I can't see anything, even on the underside of the leaves). Thanks again for the help.

  • Allison Allison on Jul 14, 2017

    Pin holes are usually flea beetles. I use ash from hardwood to keep them at bay, although I have not had them since I started getting REALLY fastidious in the fall. Cleaning all the debris from the garden and lightly turning the soil in mid winter to kill eggs and larva seems to have done the trick. I just started to use Surround Kaolin clay for other pests, says it works for flea beetles, but since I don't have them anymore, I can't confirm. I does work for squash bugs and those, in my opinion are the bane of existence.

  • Cathy Cathy on Jul 14, 2017

    Even though I cannot see anything, even on the underside of the leaves, it sounds as if these are the flea beetles. I will try your solutions - thanks!

  • Lee Lee on Jul 14, 2017