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I have basil on my balcony, which I eat. However, lately the leafs have white dots or lines on them. After inspection I found out that it is caused by Aphids. Just the normal light green type.

I don't want to spray my basil with chemicals (not even soap), because I like to eat it. So I was thinking of buying larvae from ladybugs (Adalia Bipunctata). Does anyone knows if this works? Does anyone has experience with this approach?

My situation is a balcony of 1 x 6 m with many plants (palms, bonsai trees, other plants), on the first floor facing East, in the Netherlands.

  • When one releases lady bugs they LEAVE the place they were released. Your neighbors might appreciate them! First you need to give us a picture of what you've got going. Without a reasonable ID it is irresponsible to advise or do any treatment. White dots might be white fly. Lines might be leaf miners. Take your basil and wash it in the shower. But we can help ID and give you ways to treat and still be able to eat your basil. Please send more information and pictures...thanks! – stormy Aug 23 '17 at 8:31
  • What do you mean with "Take your basil and wash it in the shower"? Do you mean the whole plant with pot? Does that remove Aphids effectively? – benn Aug 23 '17 at 8:41
  • When I used to wash my plants in the shower I have noticed that it's better to put them on the showercabin's floor and to rotate the pot so as to have it sitting on the side, paralel to the ground. This way you can wash every leaf with the sprinkler (showerhead), carefuly removing the insects from both sides of the leaf. At the end, the soil in the pot won't be filled with water as it would have been if the pot sits in its usual position. I have never managed to remove all the eggs and insects (I had whitefly - Trialeurodes vaporariorum). – Alina Aug 23 '17 at 14:47
  • Alina's comment was great. I always take house plants into the tub/shower and turn the cold water on and let them get a great rain day every other month. Then I turn the water off and let them drain and drip dry. You bet that will help with insects as well and gets the dust off for better photosynthesis. Please send pictures though okay? – stormy Aug 23 '17 at 17:49
  • Haha, you love to see picture don't you, stormy? But I am sure it is Aphids, this is not a identification question. It's nothing new, I find these creature every year in my plants. But since I don't want to spray chemicals on my edible Basil I am looking for ecological alternatives. So if I give my plants a shower, according to Bamboo (see below) the Aphids will return within an hour... – benn Aug 24 '17 at 7:59
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The Planet Natural's website has good information about the problem. here is some information they have on the subject.

The common ladybug or lady beetle — every school kid’s favorite insect — is a great, natural solution to aphids. It’s reported that a ladybug will eat some 50 aphids a day. If you’re lucky enough to have ladybugs in your garden, their larvae will eat their weight in aphids each day. The University of Kentucky Extension Service reports that a single ladybug will eat 5,000 aphids during its lifetime. Often ladybugs will be attracted to your garden if you have aphids

Personal Experiance

My grandmother whom used to grow show roses had a massive issue with aphids and used ladybird larvae for her aphid problems and it worked very well.

She too was one that never used sprays or chemicals.

From a kid i was always brought up to never hurt (squash) a ladybugs, and when i found one id try to bring it home for her garden. (9/10 died sadly)

i remember one year she brought in ladybugs by the 1000's.

Further information that might be of use : How To Get Rid Of Aphids: 12 Organic Methods That Really Work

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    Yes thanks, but is it true? Does anyone here has first hand experience? – benn Aug 23 '17 at 8:42
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    LOL, i was updating my answer then you replied. in my experiances yes its very affective. – Anglian Bonsai Aug 23 '17 at 8:49
  • @b.nota It's effective in closed environments, such as greenhouses - outdoors, if you don't have ladybugs and their larvae already, there's a reason for that, so they won't stay on your balcony. What attracts them is pollen, and lots of it, as well as aphids, and it doesn't sound as if there's much pollen around on your balcony, you've not mentioned any pollen rich plants and to be fair, its pretty difficult to have a wide range of pollen rich plants in such a small area. – Bamboo Aug 23 '17 at 10:13
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    Your are correct if there aren't any ladybugs already there you will have a issue. I forgot to add that. – Anglian Bonsai Aug 23 '17 at 10:16
  • I find ladybugs occasionally, but not so much that they seem to settle in my pot with basil. If I would buy a bag of larvae and put them in my pot with basil, do you think they would crawl away without eating the Aphids first? – benn Aug 23 '17 at 10:25

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