Ilex VS Aphids on Basil

I follow a really cute fellow called Mongo. He is an adorable yellow lab with a veracious appetite which usually gets him in trouble. If you need a great laugh, be sure to catch the Howl-o-ween post about how Mongo got into the Halloween candy. You’re in for a treat…

When Mongo’s Dad isn’t cleaning up after Mongo, he likes to grow basil. Unfortunately, his basil got a case of aphids. =-O

Aphids on basil

Mongo’s Dad’s Basil

Unlike white fly, which tends to like to hang-out on the underside of leaves, aphids like to enjoy the topsides.

Aphids are  tiny-tiny (1/16″ – 1/8″) semi-transparent green, (or other colored) insects that suck the sap from leaves, stems and flowers. Aphids mainly feed on tender new growth, causing the leaves to appear puckered or twisted. They multiply rapidly and can destroy a plant quickly, however the good news is that they are very fragile.

Aphids have been called the mice of the insect world, because they multiply so quickly and provide food for so many creatures. These guys are usually not a problem when they are outdoors. In a well balanced environment, there are enough predators out there to keep their numbers down. Other creatures want aphid poop, better known as honeydew. Ants have been know to ‘farm’ aphids and harvest the honeydew. Pretty darn crazy sounding, until you seen it.

When your basil is indoors, it doesn’t have the Lady Bird Brigade protecting its leaves. It has to rely on you for support. Aphids are pretty easy to take out, just a jet of water can wipe out a good majority. Having the plant soaked every once-in-awhile is no problem. I would also toss up a yellow sticky card to trap any white fly that may come by.

If this doesn’t work, then I would step-up to Horticulture soap* or Neem oil, in that order. I just think sometimes Neem can change the taste of leaf veggies. This is just my opinion.

Thanks again for the post material Mongo’s Dad!

*Just for the record, using dish soap is not acceptable for a cheap substitute for horticultural soap. Now-a-days, the dish soap is not soap anymore, detergent is the main ingredient and modern soap lacks the fatty acids that are helpful in killing the insect. All you will do is dry out your plant!

Ilex Farrell

32 thoughts on “Ilex VS Aphids on Basil

    • Hmm. Not sure, butt, if you don’t see any aphids and the ladybugs are having their after dinner drink and smoke… Surely, your problem is gone 😉
      Sometimes ladybugs just want to hide somewhere for the winter. Maybe they liked your basil.


      • In places where they grow Christmas trees, during the harvest season (now) the Ladies lose their dwellings, since they are used to keep pests out of the young Fraser Firs. Then we have a veritable plague of them! I mean, like having to use a Shop Vac to get them off your windowsills, because they clog up regular vacuums! Then of course they get in the house and end up in the lamp shades…if you have aphids on your house plants, you won’t for long! But then you have to vacuum up all the dead ladybugs…poor things…


  1. Or, if you are a true nature lover, you can always order a few thousand lady birds to clean up your aphid problem LOL!!! Does Bacillus Thurigensis take out aphids? I know that diatomaceous earth does, but you have to really make sure you wash the plants really well before eating them, because diatomaceous earth will cause great discomfort for a long time, otherwise…I discovered this while getting rid of fleas in my yard without using a respirator, OH NOOOOO!!!! It did get rid of the fleas, though…people tend to think that if something is “natural and organic” then it must be safe to bathe in (and eat)….not so!


  2. Ilex, thanks for the help. I had been giving daily showers to the basil, but the aphids kept returning. I have now shampooed both plants with horticultural soap. I will let you know how it goes. Best regards, Mongo’s Dad


  3. Howdy Ilex,
    Most of the aphids, if not all, are now gone, and the plants look better. However, today when I gave them their third spray of horticultural soap, several small bugs like fruit flies, but light colored, flew off the plants when I sprayed them. Any thoughts on what those might be and how to best them? Thx, MongozDad


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