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What's eating my potted Basil plant ?

alysonaustinalysonaustin Blagnac, FrancePosts: 9
edited June 2019 in Fruit & veg
My Basil plant is in a pot, on a 1st floor balcony which was recently washed, no slugs or bugs in sight, but something has started eating away at the leaves. Please let me know if you have any ideas. Our location is the south of France by the way, if it helps.
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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,806
    It will be a slug or a snail.
    They hide under the pots or in the soil.
    Put a couple of slug pellets on the compost and leave it overnight.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • alysonaustinalysonaustin Blagnac, FrancePosts: 9
    There are no slug / snail trails and whatever it is seems to be focusing on the top leaves. If something was hiding in the soil wouldn't it eat the bottom leaves first?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,806
    Do you favour the bottom leaves over the nice, fresh, soft, juicy top ones?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • SheleenSheleen Southampton, in a gardenPosts: 51
    If there is absolutely no evidence of slugs or snails, one other answer could be a beetle. Japanese beetles aren't found in the UK... so it could be Rosemary Beetle? Though I'm not sure if they eat basil. Mint beetles only eat mint - so it's not them. Are there any signs of caterpillars maybe? The damage does look like a caterpillar chomping away... I have no idea what caterpillar varieties might eat basil - but I'm pretty sure someone here might know :)
  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619
    Put a couple of slug pellets on the compost and leave it overnight.
    Yum yum.  Rather than poison yourself, just move the pot!
  • alysonaustinalysonaustin Blagnac, FrancePosts: 9
    No sight of caterpillars, slugs, or beetles.  I've brought the basil into the kitchen, and cut off the damaged leaves. I'll see what happens in the next 48 hours and update you all. 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,806
    Move the pot? What good will that do? They’re not daft you know:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10856523

    And two slug pellets placed in a pot are hardly going to bring about your demise.🙄
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619
    pansyface said:
    Move the pot? What good will that do? They’re not daft you know:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10856523

    And two slug pellets placed in a pot are hardly going to bring about your demise.🙄
    In reality, what's the likelihood of there being some other delicious smell between you and where it lands.  They're primitive, they move towards the nearest thing that smells nice!

    Would you put just one slug pellet on your tongue?  :D
  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 691
    edited June 2019
    Have a look at night wth a torch, as snails and slugs come out then to feast. If they're about, you should see them.
    Get them out, feed them to the birds, and get yourself  some copper tape to wrap around the top of the pot, just under the rim. 
    I don't know how it works against them, but they don't like crossing that barrier. 
    As an aside: that balcony doesn't look too inviting to slithering beasties, I must admit.
    I'm wondering if some caterpillar hatched from an egg that was deposited there, could be the culprit...
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,806
    Firstly, slug pellets are designed to be more attractive to slugs than their normal food in much the same way that junk food makers make their food more attractive to humans than traditional food.

    Bayer have experimented with wheat-based methiocarb pellets versus pure wheat and found that slugs preferred the methiocarb pellets to the wheat. See here:



     

    Secondly, you don’t need a lot of pellets to attract slugs.

    This from the people who should know, talking about number of pellets required while working in fields rather than in pots.






    Why would I put a slug pellet on my tongue?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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