Basil pest, ornamental crabapple wilt, and beetle

Asked July 1, 2019, 3:52 PM EDT

Hi, You advised me last fall that the mountain laurel in my back yard along the woods was OK since it had a severe leaf spot. It has come back fine this year. You were right! Thanks. Now for my current plant problems: 1) I planted three basil plants in the ground around 20 days ago. They are growing OK but the leaves are getting eaten by something. Any recommendations for what can help? Of course I want to eat the basil leaves. 2) I have a mature crabapple (7" cal.) that was pruned over a year ago. I blooms fine but during the season the leaves at many branch ends die on much of the tree. Any idea what the problem is? ...and one non-plant question that you may know the answer to: 3) Do you know the type of beetle shown on the attached photo? Thank you

Anne Arundel County Maryland

3 Responses

1) You might have Japanese beetles or oriental beetles feeding on your basil plants. They are active in the landscape now. Oriental beetles typically feed at night. Management options for both are similar.

2) It sounds like your crabapple tree has symptoms of rust disease, a common fungal disease that can girdle the branch twigs. Rust diseases are difficult to control in the landscape. Cedar plants (junipers) are an alternate host for the fungus and any located within 1-2 can serve as a source of infection.

3) The insect is a female Hercules Beetle.
This is a good article about them.


Thank you -- very helpful. If I want to purchase "Neem and pyrethrum sprays" for my basil -- will a garden center have them or should I purchase online?

There has been a recent recall of neem products that were found to be contaminated.

You should have no problem finding a pyrethrum spray. Either garden center or online is fine.