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What is Eating my Mint Leaves? Oops!

That’s odd! Most aromatic herbs are insect repellent and are used to keep insects away from garden beds.

I grow a lot of herbs, and they are never harmed by insects. However, I just discovered holes in my mint leaves. I’m concerned about what may be eating them.

Mint is a sensitive herb that attracts a variety of pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. However, you may safeguard the mint plant by doing frequent checks, identifying the culprit early, and ensuring the plant receives the finest care possible.

Shiny Foliage of the Mint Plant.
Shiny Foliage of the Mint Plant.

If your Mint isn’t growing as quickly as it should or appears malnourished, a bug is blamed.

However, don’t worry! I will show you how simple it is to safeguard your prized Mint.

We’ll go through every step you need to take for your Mint to reach its full potential, from identifying the pest problems to determining the best remedies.

What is Eating my Mint Leaves?

Spider mites are the most dangerous parasites that may feed on Mint.

If a mint plant becomes afflicted with spider mites, you should take immediate treatment. Loopers and flea beetles are mostly problems for mint seedlings and young plants.

Below is a list of all the pests that might infect your healthy mint plant and solutions to pest issues.

Pests SymptomsSolutions
Spider Mites Discoloration of the foliageNeem oil, alcohol, dish soap and water
LoopersFoliage becomes frayed and ragged with sharp edges Yates Natures Way Caterpillar Killer-Dipel
Flea Beetles Shotholes in young saplingsTalcum powder, white sticky traps
AphidsLeaves curling and yellowing Mixture of soap & water
CutwormsCuts and holes near the base of the plant Diatomaceous earth, Bacillus thuringiensis
Thrips Curling or deformation of leavesBug Blaster, BotaniGard ES

Let’s look at the problems in detail.

1. Spider Mites

You may have a spider mite infestation if you notice yellow or brown blotches on the leaves of your mint plant.

Spider mites are little, measuring less than 1 mm (0.04 in), and come in various colors.

Similarly, many species weave silk webbing to help defend the colony from predators, and they produce tiny, spherical, initially translucent eggs.

These pests emerge as the weather becomes a little more humid, so you’ll most likely see them attacking your mint plant from April to July.

Spider mites on leaves (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

They reside on the undersides of leaves and are particularly drawn to new plant development.

Similarly, these insects frequently attack the entire plant’s leaves. They eat the leaves and put their eggs on them as well.

Another technique to detect these pests is to look for tiny webs between the leaves and the discoloration of the foliage.

Treatment for Spider Mites

  • Neem oil is a natural miticide, a chemical substance that kills mite infestations. Spray your mint plant’s leaves with this solution thoroughly.
  • Similarly, rubbing alcohol with cotton can also be used to treat afflicted sections of your plant.
  • Treatment with an insecticide containing permethrin or pyrethrin is another control method.
  • Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap are also useful.

Home Made Recipe to Kill Spider Mites

  • To kill spider mites, use three teaspoons of dish soap with a gallon of water. Then, as needed, spray the soap solution on affected plant leaves weekly.
  • In one cup of water, mix one teaspoon of Cayenne pepper or one hot Chile pepper. Control spider mites and other minor garden pests with the spray solution.
  • Combine two crushed garlic cloves with one liter of water and set aside overnight. Strain the mixture and spray the plants directly without diluting it.

2. Cabbage Loopers

The cabbage looper is a caterpillar with a striking green body and white lines.

Loopers are foliage-eating caterpillars that grow to be 1–2 inches long and have a variety of green colors.

Similarly, Ni moths, or adult Ni moths, travel across long distances. Each forewing has a faint Y-shaped mark and is mottled brown.

Green Looper Caterpillar. (Source: Flickr)

Cabbage Looper is a common pest that affects and eats mint and basil plants. The larvae have gnawing mouthparts that cause harm to a variety of plant leaves.

In addition, the chewing causes the foliage to become frayed and ragged, with sharp edges.

Treatment for Cabbage Looper

  • The caterpillars are large enough to be identified. When chilly weather, look early in the morning and late in the evening. Remove the disgusting small items and throw them away.
  • Dispose of the larvae by drowning in a jar of soapy water.
  • Use Yates Nature’s Way Caterpillar Killer – Dipel to keep Loopers under control. The product is based on Bacillus thuringiensis.
  • Neem oil is an easy-to-apply spray for killing worms and preserving the leaves at the first indication of damage.
  • Spinosad, a fermented biological substance, is likewise highly effective.
  • Pesticides can also be used; Safer’s Tomato & Vegetable Insect Killer or Pyrethrin Spray.

Home Made Recipe to Kill Cabbage Loopers

  • Mix two tablespoons of ordinary salt into a gallon of water. Put this mixture into the bottle and spray on the leaves. Cabbage loppers are extremely sensitive to salt and will die within two days.
  • Mix two to three tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder into a half-gallon of water and boil the mixture. Apply the solution to the infected part after the mixture cools down.

3. Flea Beetles

Flea beetles are little, shiny-coated beetles with enormous back legs that enable them to leap like fleas when they are frightened.

Similarly, Flea beetles are extremely small, measuring barely 1/16 of an inch in length, and may have a solid, striped, or spotted pattern.

After the spring feeding period, they lay eggs at the base of plant stems in early summer, and larvae feed on the roots.

Similarly, adult beetles eat leaves, leaving “shotholes” in them, especially young saplings. New leaves are generally the first to be damaged, and they have a lacy look.

Flea Beetle is eating away the leaf of the plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

However, the true concern is that the beetles may transfer bacterial illnesses from plant to plant, such as wilt and blight.

Treatment for Flea Beetles

  • Flea bugs are deterred by dusting your plants with ordinary talcum powder.
  • To catch flea beetles as they leap, use white sticky traps.
  • Early in the season, pesticides like Sevin brand garden can be utilized.
  • The simplest technique to get rid of flea bug eggs is to use a gardening hose or spade to cultivate the plant’s base.

Home Made Recipe to Kill Flea Beetles

  • One tablespoon liquid soap,
  • Two cups rubbing alcohol,
  • Five cups water

If you don’t detect any negative effects after testing the combination on a leaf of the plant and letting it sit overnight, you can spray the remainder of the plant.

Spray the mixture on the leaves of pest-prone garden plants.

4. Aphids

Aphids are sap-sucking, soft-bodied insects approximately the size of a pinhead.

They are 1/16- to 1/8-inch long (2-4 mm) and might be green, black, red, yellow, brown, or gray.

Similarly, aphids are a real pain since they wreak havoc on your plant’s leaves.

They eat the foliage for nutrition, which causes the leaves to darken as they suck all of the nutrients.

Aphids in the branch of the plant.
Aphids in the branch of the plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When your plant leaves curl and become yellow, that indicates aphids.

In addition, your plants could develop a sooty mold. For example, aphids produce honeydew, which causes this.

Treatment for Aphids

  • Use a powerful stream of water from a garden hose, spray aphids off of plants. This strategy works well early in the season before an infestation has established itself.
  • To destroy them, put on some gardening gloves and knock them off of stems, leaves, flower buds, or anyplace else you see them into a pail of soapy water.
  • Combinations of insecticidal soaps and pyrethrins appear to be very effective against Aphids.
  • Oils, such as petroleum-based horticultural oils or plant-derived oils like neem or canola oil, kill aphids mostly by suffocating them.

Home Made Recipe to Kill Aphids

  • In a tiny spray bottle, combine four to five drops of peppermint, clove, rosemary, and thyme with water. Adult aphids, aphid larvae, and eggs are targeted by spraying on damaged plants.
  • Mix a few teaspoons of pure liquid soap in a small pail of water to make a DIY aphid spray.

Apply immediately on aphids and afflicted areas of the plant with a spray bottle, being sure to wet the undersides of leaves where eggs and larvae like to hide.

5. Cutworms

Cutworms are seen in the larvae of many moth species. They feed on plant stems and are found in the soil.

These pests get their name from the fact that they practically cut through your plants while feeding.

Cutworms eating the leaf. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Similarly, cutworms, which are moth larvae, are extremely damaging to Mint, which is fragile and susceptible.

If you notice seedlings that have been severed at the soil line, you may have cutworms.

Cuts and holes in your Mint, as well as little caterpillar-like insects near the base of plants in the evening, are obvious signs you have an infestation.

Treatment for Cutworms

  • Because cutworms remain inactive during the day, the greatest time to attack is at night, when they are most active. Put on a pair of gloves and start removing bugs as you find them. To kill them, place them in a bucket of soapy water.
  • Another option is to use diatomaceous earth, which dehydrates any insect that comes into contact. Finally, form a barrier around the base of your mint plant to safeguard it.
  • You can use Bacillus thuringiensis as a pesticide. However, it’s preferable to do it in the afternoon before the cutworms emerge in the evening.

Home Made Recipe to Kill Cutworms

  • Spread cornmeal around your garden. Cutworms like it but are unable to digest it. 
  • Combine 1 tbsp molasses, one liter of water, wheat bran, and hardwood sawdust in a bowl. With this glop, make a circle around the plants. It dries on the cutworms’ bodies and makes them immobilized.
  • Mix six drops of oil of cloves in one liter of water. Mix them well and spray on the infested leaves.

6. Thrips

Thrips are a pest found in greenhouses and indoor/outdoor gardens.

They harm plants by sucking their fluids and scraping at fruits, flowers, and foliage. Similarly, plant leaves may become pale, splotchy, and silvery in an appearance before dying.

Thrips range in size from 1.5 to 3 mm (0.06 to 0.12 inches), with the smallest measuring 0.6 mm (0.02 inch) and the biggest being 15 mm (0.6 inches).

Thrips in the leaf of the plant
Thrips in the leaf of the plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In addition, they can infect plants. Curling or deformation of leaves is a symptom of their existence.

Treatment for Thrips

  • To minimize insect populations, use the Bug Blaster to wash down plants with a vigorous, all-encompassing blast of water.
  • BotaniGard ES is a powerful biological pesticide containing Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic fungus that kills a wide range of pests in the agricultural industry.
  • Spot treatments with spinosad and neem oil can be employed in strongly infected regions.

Home Made Recipe to Kill Thrips

  • Mix five tbsp of liquid soap into a gallon of water. Mix it well and spray it all over the plant.
  • Add one to two tbsp of essential oil into a gallon of water and spray on the infested leaves.
  • Combine one tbsp of Kaolin clay in a gallon of water. Mix it well and spray on the plant.

Are different pests bothering your plant and you are unknown about what they are? Here is a quick detailed guide on How to Identify Insect Eggs on Leaves and Treat Pest Infestation!

Why does my Mint have Bugs?

If a certain infestation is bothering you or continues returning, it’s better to figure out what’s attracting them.

Similarly, it is more important to make modifications to keep them away.

  • Overwatering and inadequate drainage can cause root rot and attract fungus gnats and other pests.
  • High humidity can make it perfect for pests to lay eggs, especially caterpillars like loopers and hairy caterpillars, which do the most harm during the larval stage. However, Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and other insects survive in dry environments.
  • Similarly, your plant and soil will get moist due to insufficient ventilation, which insect infestations will take full advantage of.
  • Placing plants too close together is the most common cause of poor air circulation through the leaves, which draws pests to your plant.

How to Prevent Pest Infestations in Mint Naturally?

A thriving garden is the best way to keep pests at bay.

Rather than waiting for pests to arrive, you may prevent them from appearing by improving your soil, cutting ahead of time, or making small modifications to your watering routines.

1. Maintain the Soil Quality

When cultivated in healthy soil, plants with strong immune systems are better able to combat diseases and pests.

To begin, limit tillage and enrich your soil with compost. Healthy soil allows your plants to compete with weeds.

It also helps plants develop by performing nutrient cycling, biological control of plant pests, and water and air supply management.

2. Proper Watering

Water your plants early in the morning. Plants require water largely to aid in photosynthesis, which happens during the day.

Furthermore, if you water later in the day, the leaves will remain wet during the chilly nighttime, an excellent environment for fungus and other pests to thrive.

When you water, make sure to moisten the roots rather than the leaves. Soaker or drip hoses are an excellent investment.

Watering in the evening with a sprinkler or garden hose might lead to more disease and pests issues because the plant leaves will likely remain moist all night.

Watering the plant
Watering the plant (Source: Unsplash)

3. Proper Fertilization

Pest insects and mites may thrive and multiply quickly if nutrients in plant tissue or sap are high.

High nitrogen fertilizer levels aid aphid multiplication; thus, never use more nitrogen than is necessary.

Instead, use a less soluble kind of nitrogen and spread it out across the season rather than all at once. Slow-release fertilizers are ideal, such as organic or time-release formulas based on urea.

Greater pest populations result in more plant harm, a decrease in crop output, and a loss of aesthetic value – and they necessitate more insecticide or miticide treatments.

4. Use of Mulch

Mulch around green plants and garden areas to maintain soil moisture. It slows evaporation from the soil’s surface and decreases weed competitiveness.

Choosing the appropriate mulch, such as grass clippings, straw, leaves, or bark, is dependent on the properties of your soil and the plants you cultivate.

The depth of the mulch is determined by the type of mulching material used and the location.

The optimal depth varies from 2 to 3 inches for fine materials like grass clippings to 6 to 8 inches for straw in the vegetable garden.

Mulch spread around the soil
Mulch spread around the soil (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

5. Set up Physical Barriers

Creating a physical barrier between plants and insects is another natural pest repellant.

Row covers, often known as gardening textiles, are a great method to keep pests away from your crops. In addition, pheromone traps may be used to detect the presence of moths in your garden.

Covers can be removed or left on during the vulnerable seedling stage for additional insect and bird protection. On the other hand, sticky traps help manage aphids, whiteflies, and thrips in the greenhouse or at home.

Floating row crop cover for the protection from bugs.
Floating row crop cover for the protection from bugs. (Source: Amazon)

To construct a protective, preventive barrier around your mint plant, place them around it.

Flying traps, commonly strung above and around your plant, are particularly efficient against flying pests like moths and aphids.

A cloche is a bell-shaped cover that may be placed over a plant to protect it. Wire versions are ubiquitous, inexpensive, and simple to get by.

Set them on top of developing plants, and animals will find it difficult to access the delicate leaves.

6. Use Natural Repellents

Herbal pesticides can be used in a variety of situations. They can discourage many pests at once, depending on their contents.

Many are scented, which repels insects, while others contain naturally occurring oils, such as Neem, which may kill insects on contact.

Try Spraying Neem oil as it works well as a pesticide against various plant pests in all stages.

Use your leftover coffee grounds to treat areas around your plants where you suspect pests are entering. Many rodents dislike the scent of the grounds and will avoid them.

Another effective solution is using garlic cloves. Garlic may not only be planted in and around vegetable garden beds to keep bugs away but it can also be used as an efficient insecticide spray.

You may buy potent garlic sprays from a garden shop or make your own.

7. Keep the Area Clean and Prune Damaged Leaves

Cleaning your plants regularly will help keep pests away. Water is your greatest bet if your plants have smooth leaves.

Get rid of any dead or yellowing leaves as well. Bug infestations may be avoided by keeping your plants clean and pruned every few weeks.

Remove any dead leaves, stalks, or blossoms from the surface of the soil. Remove weeds and grass from around plant regions, for example, to eliminate other hosts for thrips.

Clean up crop garbage in the garden after harvesting, especially onion leaves.

On the other hand, Flea beetles overwinter in the ground and feed on decomposing plant waste, so clean up your garden properly at the end of the season.

Healthy Mint Leaves
Healthy Mint Leaves

The Bottom Line

Naturally, the mint plant is considered a pest repellent in your garden, and due to its fast growth and hardy nature, it might fall prey to many different pests.

However, the good news is the numerous ways mentioned above will work as a helping hand in eradicating the pests and rejuvenating your mint plant back into its glory!

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