Basil Plant And Flies: Does Basil Keep Flies Away?

Basil Plant And Flies: Does Basil Keep Flies Away?

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Herbal plants have many beneficial properties. Some herbs are useful companion plants that prevent pest problems. It is said that basil can keep flies from pestering you. Does basil keep flies away? Let’s separate the fact from the fiction and get an answer to the pesky question regarding basil and flies.

Basil is one of the warm season herbs that are classics in summertime cooking. The plant requires plenty of sun and heat but basil can be grown indoors by a southern window for convenience. There are many varieties of basil, adding a twist on the plant’s flavor in essences of citrus, licorice, cinnamon, and spice.

Flies on Basil

The intense scent and oil in basil and many other herbs are often used to deter common household pests. The pungent herb seems to repel flies and basil pest control has been used since ancient times. Basil is intolerant of cold temperatures and needs a full day of sunlight. The plants are useful as potted herbs in a sunny, bright kitchen or outside in the warm summer months around the vegetable or herb garden.

Potted basil plants require well-drained soil and should not be allowed to stand in a dish of water. Soggy soil attracts small gnats and basil plant flies which are annoying and difficult to remove.

Outdoor basil plants are susceptible to whiteflies in spite of their ability to repel domestic house flies. Repeated applications of a horticultural soap may help get rid of basil plant flies. Basil pest control seems to have limited effectiveness when the pests are actually on the plant!

Does Basil Keep Flies Away?

Most herbs with strong oil content and scent appear to have some repellent properties for domestic pests. Basil contains very heady oil and is useful in the kitchen to keep small gnats and flies out of food.

Small moisture gnats that live in the soil of potted plants are also foiled by mixing in some dried basil to the soil. The plant doesn’t kill flies, but anything that prevents them from contaminating the kitchen and food and is non-toxic is a useful product.

In a nutshell, information on basil and flies is more in the form of folklore. That being said, you can try the basil method because the worst thing that can happen is you have a fresh lovely herb to use. The best is a pest-free kitchen.

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Getting Rid of Basil Pests

Aphids are small semi-transparent green (they may also be yellow, red, brown or black) insects that spread disease from plant to plant while sucking the sap from leaves, stems and flowers. Aphids mainly feed on tender new growth, causing the leaves to appear malformed. They multiply quickly and can destroy a plant quickly, but the good news is that they are fragile. A sign of the presence of aphids is ants, as ants feed off the “honeydew” that aphids secrete.

How to control them

  • Mix 2 TBSP of liquid dish washing detergent per gallon of water and spray the infected plants with the soapy solution. For indoor plants you can wipe the leaves. Wash the soap away after treatment to avoid damaging the herb.
  • Rotenone or Pyrethrum -based pesticides – sold in various forms as an organic pesticide for the garden.
  • The SAFER alternative is to use insecticidal soap, such as the highly acclaimed Insect Killing Soap .
  • Introduce some natural enemies into the garden. Natural enemies include ladybugs , praying mantises and green lacewings.

Migrated from the Far East to the East Coast, these metallic green beetles can cause a lot of damage. When they eat plant foliage they leave large, uneven holes and chew marks on the plant leaves. Adults will feed during daytime when there is full sun. They will start at the top of plants and move downward as they consume the leaves.

How to control them

  • You can buy traps to catch Japanese Beetles.
  • You can control Japanese Beetles biologically by deploying Milky Spore Disease (Bacillus popilliae) to your garden. Try using Milky Spore Grub Control .
  • If the problem is severe, purchase and release live beneficial nematodes .

There are numerous species of leafhopper. These insects are generally just under a quarter-inch long, wedge-shaped and light in color, although the color may vary depending on the species. They cause damage by eating what appear to be “channels” into the leaves. They also spread viral diseases.

How to control them

  • Insect Killing Soap
  • Rotenone or Pyrethrum -based pesticides – sold in various forms as an organic pesticide for the garden.
  • Neem and horticultural sprays are also effective.

Root-knot nematodes are microscopic roundworms. They damage plant roots and inhibit a plant’s ability to collect nutrients and water from the soil. Symptoms of this pest may include wilting, low yield, and the leaves becoming discolored, all related to nutrient deficiency. The roots may swell as well.

How to control them

  • Often this pest can only be verified through soil testing.
  • Avoid planting in the same spot for three to four years.
  • Plant marigolds in affected spots to kill the nematodes.
  • It may help to add organic matter to the soil and perform soil solarization (cover the soil with a clear plastic tarp for several weeks during a hot period of the year to get the soil up to 140 degrees).

Snails are relatively small at about one-and-a-half inches and they carry a shell. Slugs are considerably longer, around five inches and do not have a shell. They come in a variety of colors, including black, brown, grey, and yellow. It is obvious where these pests have been by their slimy trails. They chew holes in the foliage of the herb and leave bite marks. Slugs are most present during wet weather and come out at night to feed.

How to control them

  • Apply materials to the soil that are rough in texture. This will cause slugs to tear their skin and perish. Such products that can be used to accomplish this include: wood ashes, lime or Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer .
  • Beer traps. Yes, slugs and snails are attracted to the yeast and will drown themselves if given the chance. Sink a shallow dish into the soil with its rim just at the soil level and fill it up with beer.

The whitefly is a tiny winged insect that gather in groups, usually under the leaves of plants, and suck plant leaves until they turn yellow and fall off. They also transmit plant disease. If you brush up against your plant and see a small cloud of white flies move away then this is your problem.

How to control them

  • Insect Killing Soap
  • Yellow pest strips can be purchased which, when deployed, will attract whiteflies by their yellow color and cause them to stick to the strips. Sticky Stakes Insect Traps have a fun name and they are effective!
  • Rotenone or Pyrethrum -based pesticides – sold in various forms as an organic pesticide for the garden.

DIY Fly Repellent

House flies are notorious for bringing a lot of disease-causing germs and bacteria to our home.

Let’s take a look at easy DIY fly repellents which will aid you to kill or to repel the flies out of our home.

House Fly (Photo: Rest Easy Pest Control)

A person’s health is the most important thing to him. If he’s not healthy and physically fit, he will not be able to carry out his day to day activities and can’t enjoy the life to its fullest. Intake of healthy food, regular exercise, and proper sleep are three essential elements to make your body healthy.

Still, sometimes you may be ambushed by some diseases, and in most such cases, a person is victimized by the disease because of the invasion of microorganisms into the bloodstream. One of the most common carriers is a house fly. It is essential to know about the effective ways to kill flies or to keep them away from your home.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of a Fly Infestation

House flies are notorious for bringing a lot of disease-causing germs and bacteria to our home which in turn affects our health. So, let’s look at easy to apply home remedies which will aid you to kill or to repel the flies out of our home:

#1. Ginger Spray

The first and very useful method to control the entry of the flies is the use of the ginger spray. A ginger spray can be made by mixing extracts of ginger in water and make a concentrated solution. Next, you just need to spray it, and you will see flies running out of your home because they do not stand the smell of ginger spray.

#2. Basil

Basil is our next solution. Everybody knows about basil and loves its usage because of its pleasant aroma in the food. Whereas, for flies, it is a kind of venom. They use to run away from the pleasant fragrance of the basil. Place the leaves of basil at the entry points and see the effect.

#3. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

For this, you just need a jar and put the apple cider vinegar inside it. The flies have a strong attraction towards fruits, and fruity fragrances and scent of apple cider vinegar will lure them into the jar.

Make some holes in the lid, big enough to let the flies pass through them, and once they enter the jar, they will find themselves drowning in the vinegar.

“Basil is our next solution. Everybody knows about basil and loves its usage

because of its pleasant aroma in the food. Whereas, for flies, it is a kind of venom.”

#4. Essential Oils

Essential oil spray can be an amazing remedy for you to avoid flies and other insects inside your home. They are not very difficult to make. You just need to add about ten drops each of cinnamon oil, thyme oil, clove oil, lemongrass oil, and peppermint oil.

Put them all in a spritzer and mix them in two cups of water and two cups of vodka and your magic spray is ready. Next, you need to find the breeding places of flies, like garage, garden or near trash and then spray the place. This organic solution is known to bring 100% results and keep the irritating flies away from your home.

#5. Milk, Sugar, and Pepper Trap

This is a century old trap against flies. To make this trap, you have to take mix milk (1/2 liter), Sugar (1/4 cup) and Black Pepper (4tbsp) in a pan and simmer it for around 15 minutes.

After that, you have to pour the mixture into bowls and place these bowls in the areas largely infested by flies. Milk and sugar will attract the flies towards itself, where they will be choked to death because of the presence of black pepper.

#6. Kill the Eggs

This one is a preventive measure which you need to take while the flies are giving birth to their young ones. First of all, you need to find out their breeding sites where the flies will be laying their eggs.

Generally, they prefer moist surroundings where they can provide the required nutrients to the young ones. Once you locate the breeding place, you can use different insecticides there to kill the eggs.

Insecticides, UV traps, Eucalyptus and Geranium, are few of the other methods you can use to kill or repel the flies.

Natural Insecticides for Basil That Work Wonders for the Plant

Garlic spray, banana peel, dish soap solution, etc., are different natural insecticides for basil infested with aphids. One can get rid of nasty aphids and yet prevent the plant from encountering the harsh chemicals in chemical pesticides.

Garlic spray, banana peel, dish soap solution, etc., are different natural insecticides for basil infested with aphids. One can get rid of nasty aphids and yet prevent the plant from encountering the harsh chemicals in chemical pesticides.

Originated in India, basil is an annual herb closely associated with Italian cuisine. This herb is grown for its fragrant and tasty leaves, and is consumed in both raw and cooked forms. Most people dwelling in tropical climates are seen cultivating basil in their vegetable gardens or small indoor pots. It’s a herb that grows all year round. Besides being a culinary herb, basil is also touted for its medicinal benefits. It’s also a wonderful insect repellent. However, what about those insects and pests that invade the basil plant itself?

Basil is an insect repellent herb and is used to repel various insects. However, when the life of its own plant is in danger, it requires the help of insecticides. Rather than rushing to the nearest chemist and purchasing some chemical pesticides, it is better to opt for less harsh solutions for the problem. Chemical pesticides comprise various toxic chemicals, which may directly or indirectly affect the life of living things.

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The greatest basil pest known are aphids plant lice which are mostly seen attacking indoor plants. These plant sap sucking insects are one of the most destructive plant pests, as they cause a lot of damage to the phloem cells of the plant cells, which are responsible for the transport of food materials throughout the plant. This debilitates the plant and eventually conduces to its destruction.

Garlic spray

Garlic spray is an effective natural insecticide that can be used for aphids control. To prepare this spray, blend one whole peeled garlic bulb along with two cups of water. Once the garlic has been finely pureed, dollop it out into a stored container and let it stand for a day. The next day, strain out the garlic pulp and separate the liquid. Add one gallon water to this garlic liquid and fill it into a sprayer. Spray this garlic water onto the leaves and stem of the basil plant. Do this regularly everyday for about a week. This will help repel aphids.

Banana Peels

Aphids cannot stand bananas. One should take some banana peels and spread them around the basil plant. Aphids will not come near your precious plants. Moreover, banana peels decompose and combine with the soil, and their potassium and phosphorous content enriches the soil. This remedy is for outdoor basil plants, because cleaning up banana peels becomes bothersome for indoor basil plants.

White Mineral Oil and Dish Soap

In one cup of white mineral oil, add 2 tbsp. dish soap and 2 cups of water. Put this solution into a sprayer and spray it onto the basil plant. Do this every few days, until you find the aphid numbers receding.

Planting Marigolds

If your basil is planted in your vegetable garden, then you could plant marigold plants in your garden as an aphid control measure. Marigold plants attract insects which eat aphids, and will help control the aphid population. You could also plant onion, garlic or chives in your garden to deter aphids.

Then there are slugs and beetles that attack outdoor basil plants. Depending on the kind of insect invading your plant, the kind of natural insecticide will vary. To prevent insect manifestations, it is important to keep your plants well watered and fertilized. Proper care will help reduce complications.

Plant Basil With Tomatoes for a Natural Pest Repellant (and Other Garden Tricks)

Here in North America, it’s time to think about planting (if you haven’t already), and the Old World Garden Farm suggests a garden pair that makes a lot of sense: basil and tomatoes. They’re tasty together, but basil also repels pests that feast on tomato plants, which makes caring for them easier on you.

As with most “natural” remedies for pest control, a lot of this depends on your environment, so consider it a tool in your arsenal and not a single remedy for all of your tomato-planting woes, but they elaborate:

Basil is well-known as a natural deterrent for everything from tomato hornworms to white flies, aphids and more. When planted near tomatoes – it can help to keep those nasty critters away.

Just think – in just a few steps you can pick the perfect appetizer ingredients right from your garden – now if we could only get the fresh mozzarella cheese to grow there as well! And by the way – it is also a great repellent for mosquitos – so keep a few bunches in water on the table on your back porch or patio to help there as well.

In addition to the basil and tomato tip, they also suggest using pantyhose or nylons to protect baby cabbage or broccoli from cabbage worms, which is a great solution since they’ll still get the moisture and light they need, but the pests won’t get in to eat them before you do, and using toilet paper rolls as a slug and snail-proof collar around baby plants so they can’t get to the stalk and climb up.

They have a few other tricks up their sleeve to to keep pests away and to make that spring planting a little easier if you’re planning on growing some food in your backyard or container garden this year. Hit the link below to see them all.

Does Planting Basil Near Tomato Plants Repel Insects?

Basil growing near tomatoes in a container garden.

I read somewhere that if you plant basil with your tomatoes, it will repel insects and make the tomatoes taste better. Is there any truth to that?

Planting tomatoes and basil together is a gardening practice that’s well known and recommended by both amateur and professional gardeners alike. The general consensus is that basil – both the plants and extracts made from the leaves – can be an effective natural deterrent for white flies, mosquitoes, tomato hornworms, aphids, houseflies, and asparagus beetles. The basil is also thought to (somehow) improve the flavor of the tomatoes if planted nearby.

If you go searching for scientific evidence on this idea, you’re not likely to find much. Most of the evidence is anecdotal, and some gardeners find that planting basil near tomatoes makes no difference or even harbors the very insects it’s supposed to repel.

That’s often how it is with natural or alternative answers to gardening problems – what works for some may not work for others, and it always takes some experimentation to find the solution that works in your garden.

However, we do know that basil and tomatoes plants grow very well together, and they share soil and space quite companionably. You can plant them close together without significant reduction in yields, which is helpful in smaller gardens. And while basil needs plenty of sun, during the heat of midsummer it will benefit from a little afternoon shade provided by the taller tomato plants.

So, go for it! It won’t hurt your tomatoes to plant basil nearby, and when you get ready to make tomato sauce, you’ll have your ingredients at hand. For maximum benefit, plant 2-3 basil plants per tomato plant.

Making Insect Repellent with Basil

Fresh basil is one of the many ingredients you can use to make an insect repellent. Basil insect repellent not only keeps stinging bugs away, but it has a pleasant aroma as well. Making this type of natural insect repellent requires only a basic few steps and can be done quickly. Rather than cover your skin with chemically anti-insect products that must be reapplied frequently, make your own natural mixture. You will save money and smell better while wearing the spray.

Note: Because this homemade insect repellent calls for a small amount of vodka, if you are not of legal drinking age, you won’t be able to acquire the ingredient. In this case, have a parent or guardian assist you with the making of the mixture.

Step 1: Prepare the basil

Take your fresh basil and make sure it is thoroughly clean. You will be steeping it in hot water, so there should be no dirt or debris in it. The stems can stay attached and be steeped along with the leaves.

Step 2: Boil water for steeping

When the water has boiled, pour it over the basil in a container, cover it and leave it to sit for several hours. Be sure to only use the amount of water the recipe calls for. Too much water and the basil infusion will be weaker than you want it for maximum effectiveness.

Step 3: Transfer infused water

After the basil has steeped in the water for several hours, sift out the leaves and pour the basil-infused water into a spray bottle. Squeeze every last drop of liquid out of the saturated leaves into the bottle as well. The infused water should smell heavily of basil at this point.

Step 4: Mix with carrier alcohol

The vodka is used as a carrier and diluter. In the spray bottle, pour in the four ounces of vodka and mix it with the basil water by shaking the bottle gently.

Step 5: Apply insect repellent

Now that the basil water is mixed with the alcohol, attach the spray bottle nozzle to the container. It can be sprayed onto your skin or clothes to repel stinging insects. Do not get it in your eyes, nasal cavity or mouth, and make sure that it stays out of reach of young children.

Rather than use a chemical insect repellent, you can make your own at home for half the expense and in hardly any time. Making an insect repellent out of fresh basil not only works to keep stinging insects off of you, but it smells nice as well. There are powerful properties contained in herbs like basil that are often forgotten. People are so used to buying commercial versions of things like insect repellent that they overlook the fact that insects were once repelled a more natural way.