Why I hate garden pests – basil edition

It looks like an alien invasion, but it's a bunch of lace bug nymphs. Urgh.

A few months back, I was inspecting the plants when I noticed black stuff on my Thai basil leaves. Caterpillar droppings, I thought, then I noticed that the leaves above were turning brown. I thought I’d see the young hairy caterpillars, but instead saw a number of weird black bug-like things under the leaves. My first reaction: KILL! So I pruned the infested part of the plant and sprayed the bugs on the pruned bit well away from the plants. All seemed well until I went online and saw pictures of what I thought were the bugs I’d removed. Had they been ladybug nymphs? I wanted to throttle myself, because of all the insects in the garden, I’d really like ladybugs to be here.

What I believe is the adult lace bug - you can see the lacy wings.

A couple of weeks later, I saw the same bugs on the same plant. Quelling my instinct to kill immediately, I first took a photo and put it online. Unfortunately, our local gardening guru Wilson informed me that they were lace bugs, and not good. He advised getting rid of them as soon as possible, which I once again did. But, they keep coming back! I can’t spray the basil with insecticide as we use the good leaves in cooking, so does this mean I have to get rid of all the plants? Yes, we have two Thai basil plants in different parts of the garden and the silly lace bugs are on both. We also have sweet and lemon basil plants that the lace bugs like, too. So if we grow basil, will the lace bugs squat on the plants every time? I hope not because I’d like nothing more than to evict them, and to be able to start growing the new basil seeds I got in December! :(

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