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Fruit flies love lemon basil?!

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I have a pot full of basil sitting on my window sill (clove, sweet, and lemon) next to a japanese eggplant plant (that seems to hate the full sun it claims to love). A few weeks ago, I noticed a sudden infestation of fruit flies (or at least that's what they look like), not many but all were around the lemon basil. The flies have been steadily increasing little-by-little (I've already got one of those water-soap-vinaigre jars sitting on the sill), but this morning, I woke up to find that there's an entire army of the darned things and they've migrated to the nearby plants (they've pretty much stuck with the lemon basil before) because there's so, so many.

So far, the flies have not flown anywhere, except for the ocassional one or two every few days. However, it makes me feel like I'm keeping a filthy home to have fruit flies (because I'm crazy). Can anyone please, please help with an explanation for my fruit flies problem? Is repotting my only option for getting rid of these critters??

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  1. If they're actually fruit flies, you can make a trap for them- put a little wine in a jar, make a paper cone, tape it in the jar so they have to go down in the small end to get to the wine. Make sure to tape everything so there are no holes for them to escape. Since they will fly up to escape, they will try to go through the glass and be trapped. Then you can either throw the whole thing in the trash, or run soapy water into it and drown them. If they don't go in the trap, they could be fungus gnats, which are about the same size. They breed in the soil... maybe you could spray something on the soil surface? You can also buy sticky yellow traps for the gnats.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ccrow

      Definitely fruit flies for the most part - my little trap has been workind triple-time! (By the way, the trick of adding soap to the liquid to dispell water tension instead of using a cone is one I much prefer.)

      I was hoping someone here would know why my lemon basil would be so attractive to fruit flies, though. I guess maybe I'll just not grow lemon basil next year. The sweet and clove basils don't seem to be nearly as obnoxious in that regard!!

      1. re: Ali

        Over the winter I had a similar problem with my tree basil, it became INFESTED with whiteflies, to the point where spray was uesless, now that its back outside it seems to be recovering (in the sense that the new leaves seem to be largely fly free and the old, infested ones seem to have more or less all fallen off. But I am worried about waht will happen when it comes in this winter.