Mints are always in demand for making many delicious dishes and drinks. Growers are always making sure that the mints stay green and fresh. But when mint leaves start showing holes, one must wonder ” what is eating holes in my mint leaves ?’
Mints are used for many different things, but if your mint leaves get eaten, you won’t be able to use them. If you know the right reasons for these damaged leaves then it will be easier for you to fix them.
There are 3 reasons that cause holes in mints including Insects and bugs, Fungal problems, and other Animals.
In this article, I’m going to discuss these problems and how to fix them.
So, without further ado, let’s get started-
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Causes & Solution of Holes in Mint Leaves
1.Insect Attack On Mints
Mints are very susceptible to pests. Spider mites, Loopers, Beetles, Aphids, and Thrips eat the leaves and make small holes in them.
Spider mites are a serious pest of mints. They pierce and make small holes in the mint leaves. They are very tiny insects and hardly seen by naked eyes. But they discolor the leaves and make webs on them.
Loopers are actually leaf-eating caterpillars. They are easily detectable because they are about 1-2 inches in length and green in color. Cabbage Looper attacks and makes holes in both mint and basil plants very often. They eat up the mint leaves which causes large holes.
Japanese beetles and flea beetles are most likely to be the bugs that are creating holes in your mints. They are easily spotted as they are very shiny and metallic blue-black in color. These bugs attack mostly during late spring and early summer. They chew on the leaves and make round and small holes in clusters.
How do you know these bugs are eating your mints?
These beetles only chew the soft leaves. They don’t eat the veins. So after their attack, you’ll see only the veins are left and the whole leaf is gone.
Aphids and thrips are two very common garden pests. They are very hard to notice because they are very small and they fly from plant to plant. These bugs puncture the leaves to suck plant sap and create dot-like holes on mints and basils. They also cause yellowing and curling of leaves.
Slugs and snails also eat up the mint leaves and make big holes around.
If the infestation is small then give a strong spray of water. But this won’t be effective once their attack is severe. Getting rid of aphids and thrips is even more important because they transmit many other diseases.
You need a good insecticide to get rid of these bugs. Since mints are used in cooking, you need to pick an insecticide that is chemically safe for leaf consumption (our pick: Monterey Garden Insect Spray). Do not use insecticides during high temperatures because this can burn some of the leaves.
Generally, Slugs and snails cannot be killed by regular insecticides. To kill them, apply Slug and Snail Killer (our pick: Ortho Bug-Geta Snail and Slug Killer)
When it comes to loopers you can handpick them if they are few in number. You need to keep the soil moist because spider mites attack when the soil is dry.
The mint seedlings are easily attacked by beetles so try to keep them covered by a thin cloth until they have fully established. You can introduce beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings that prey on these harmful bugs.
I have enlisted some easy homemade insecticide recipes below for you for organic control of pests:
#Recipe 1:- Neem oil Recipe
- 3 teaspoons of pure neem oil
- 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap
- 2 liter of water
- Add everything into a mixing bowl
- Stir slowly. Pour it into the spray bottle
- Spray this mixture on the affected leaves.
- It is very effective against pests and safe for application.
- You can repeat this spray every 2-3 days as long as you see the pests on your mint plants.
#Recipe 2:- Garlic and Hot Pepper Spray Recipe
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 large chili peppers
- 2 liter of water
- Put the garlic cloves and chili peppers in an electric blender and make a paste.
- Strain this paste very well with a fine cheesecloth
- Now mix them with water
- Pour the solution into the spray bottle.
- Spray this solution twice a week as long as you see bugs on your mint plants
- Do not let the solution come in contact with your skin or eyes. Because the pepper in this solution can irritate the skin and eye.
#Recipe 3:- Tomato Leaf Spray Recipe
- 2 cups of chopped tomato leaves
- 1 liter of water
- Few drops of liquid dish soap
- Chop the tomato leaves and let them soak overnight in one liter of water
- Then pick out all the leaves
- Now add another liter of water to dilute the mixture
- Lastly, add the liquid dish soap. It helps to improve the solution.
- Put this mixture into the spray bottle
- Spray on the mint leaves twice a week.
Note: When trying a new homemade recipe always put a small amount of spray solution in a small leaf. Wait to see the reaction. If the leaf burns or discolors then add some water to dilute the spray solution.
Do not over-fertilize your mints. Keep the soil moist to prevent spider mite attacks. You can check the water of the soil with a moisture meter (Our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden)
If you are thinking about how to keep bugs from eating mint then you can try placing Aluminum foil under the mint plant. Because it reflects sunlight that wards off the aphids and thrips. You can get insect traps or row covers to protect the bugs from eating your mint leaves.
2. Fungal Diseases on Mint
Fungal infections like shot-hole disease can make small holes in your mint and basil leaves. The symptoms start with small reddish or brownish spots. As the disease progresses the damaged areas become dry and fall away making irregular holes in the leaves.
When you notice holes with yellow or brown spots on mint leaves you should quickly take some action because the fungal problems can spread very fast to your other plants
At first, It is best to remove the diseased leaves with spots and holes to stop the spreading. Then apply a good and non-toxic fungicide that will not have any long-lasting residual effect on your sweet mints (our pick: Bonide Copper Fungicide)
Here are some very effective home remedies you can give a try for fungal problems:
#Recipe 1:- Baking Soda Mixture
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap
- 1 teaspoon of any cooking oil
- 2 liters of water
- Combine baking soda and cooking oil together and stir slowly
- Then add the liquid dish soap
- Lastly add water gently and mix well
- Pour it into the spray bottle and spray it on your mint plant
#Recipe 2:- Copper Spray Recipe
- 1 gallon of water
- 3 tablespoons of copper sulfate
- 5 tablespoons of hydrated lime
- First mix water and hydrated lime in a plastic container. Never use a metal container because all these ingredients react with metal.
- Stir the mixture with a plastic spoon. This mixture sits out easily.
- While stirring add the copper sulfate to that container.
- Shake the mixture thoroughly before spraying. Since this mixture settles down easily so, keep shaking it once in a while.
- After spraying, wash the sprayer very well because this mixture is very corrosive.
- While spraying wear gloves to avoid skin contact
- Always use this as a freshly prepared mixture. Do not store for future use.
#Recipe 3:- Vinegar Spray Recipe
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 gallon of water
- Few drops of liquid soap
- Mix the ingredients very well and spray on the infected leaves twice a week until the fungal problem solves
Avoid over-watering and overfertilization. Water your mint plants in the morning. Because this gives them time to dry out in the sun. In the case of potted mints, change the potting mixture if you suspect any fungal attack. Replant them in fresh soil.
Fungal problems happen mostly in damp and humid conditions. So keep proper planting space between plants for better air circulation. If the plant is getting too bushy, prune off some old leaves.
3. Activity of Animals
If you see no pest infestation and no fungal attack then something else is eating your mint leaves. Sometimes animals like squirrels, wild rats, moles, and even birds can eat the leaves. They move very quickly when they see humans, so we don’t usually notice them.
To repel some of these animals you can sprinkle some ground cinnamon or coffee grounds on the soil.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it safe to eat Mints with holes in them?
If the insects have created the holes, then you can eat those mint leaves. But you must wash them properly before eating.
If the holes are due to a fungal problem or rats and other animals then you should not eat them.
How do I keep bugs from eating my Mints?
Some plants can help to keep the bugs away. The scent of Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Chives, Petunias repel bugs. So you can plant them with your mints to keep the bugs away. You can also try Bug Repellent Spray to prevent the pests from making holes on your mints (our pick)
In this article, I’ve tried to clarify why the mints have holes in them with their control measures. I hope this writing helped you to treat them. You can try the same measures for your basil leaves too.
Don’t forget to share with us your experience with the delicious mints. If you have any further questions ask away in the comment section below and share this article with your friends if they have this same problem.