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I noticed my basil was being chewed about a week ago. I inspected the soil and leaves and didn't found anything. Next thing I see is a little black and brown bug (shown picture 1) running around the floor. I kill it and think that's the end of it. Actually I though there could be spider mites (because I read online and I've seen spider webs around my balcony). I sprayed during four days a mix of oil+soap+water over the basil.

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After that, I noticed that the leaves were still a bit chewed and I inspected the soil again. Yesterday, I found these larvae (picture 2) in the soil, a couple of inches deep. Then I saw those little white bugs, which I believe are the "next phase" of the larvae (picture 3). They run around in the soil, NOT the leaves. Today I watered the basil and came to find the same brown+black bug running around escaping the water and I took that picture (picture 1).

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Turns out most of my plants that have been outside have those little white bugs. I haven't found the large one or the larvae, but then again I would have to dig deep. I am so mad and sad to find these everywhere, and the basil shares a window box with mint+rosemary+oregano. I even found them in my lettuce and tomato! And my corn plant.

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I am not sure how to treat them or what even the bugs are. I cannot spray anything on the leaves because the bugs are just walking around in the dirt. Anyone has any advice? Is this normal? Should I just throw all the dirt, spray the plants and repot them? :(

PS I live in Quebec.

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    The bug in the first picture is an isopod, which is completely innocent. They live in the soil and eat dead plant material. They are completely harmless to your basil, and play an important role in the recycling of nutrient in the ecosystem.
    – benn
    Jun 4 at 15:29
  • Thanks for the response! What I am most worried right now is about the little white bugs and the larvae (which I don't know if they are the same bug). Because I found (the white bug) them in almost all of my plants. So I don't know if that is normal.
    – Carolina
    Jun 4 at 15:33
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    The creature in picture 3 looks like a springtail, again harmless soil dwelling invertebrate. It grazes fungus that grows in the soil on dead plant material. I don't think the tiny animals in your soil are the ones causing the damage on the leaves. If I look at the leaves of your basil, I see one big bite which is not caused by small bugs but seem more something for slugs. Or the result of wind and hail?
    – benn
    Jun 4 at 15:57
  • I googled it and I kinda is, kinda isn't a springtail. Don't mind the bugs as long as is ok for them to live in the same environment as the plants I eat (basil, etc). Is it normal to find larvae in the soil? Is it safe for the edible plants? Didn't find any slugs, wind+hail hasn't happened since the balcony has a roof.
    – Carolina
    Jun 5 at 16:19

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