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Dealing with Cilantro Pests

Ladybugs helping to prevent pests on cilantro plant

Ladybugs helping to prevent pests on cilantro plant

Fortunately, cilantro’s strong scent serves as a pest repellent. Nevertheless, pests like aphids on your cilantro, left unchecked, can damage and destroy your beautiful plants. Keeping a close watch on your plants during regular daily inspections will help you spot any pests before they can do irreparable harm. Healthy cilantro can bounce back from pest damage if you catch the pests quickly.

Spot the symptoms of cilantro pests

Check leaves for these symptoms that come from pests on the prowl.

On Cilantro Leaves

Symptoms Pest Treatment
Yellowing leaves; clusters of small “bumps” on underside of leaves Aphids Import ladybugs or plants that attract them; apply insecticidal soap
Foliage loss Army worms Pick off and drop in soapy water or apply Bacillus thuringiensis
Thin, spindly plants; yellowed flowers; dry-looking plants Leaf hoppers Apply neem oil, insecticidal soap, or pyrethrum

How to treat pests on cilantro

Here are some proven ways to get rid of pests on your cilantro. Choose the best treatment for the type of pests invading your plants.

  • Pick off the pests. Use your garden gloves to remove the pests by hand. After removal, destroy pests by drowning them in a bucket of soapy water or crushing them with your foot. Handpicking isn’t efficient or practical for very small pests but works well with larger pests.
  • Apply insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soap is organic. The potassium salts in insecticidal soap help remove an insect’s protective waxes, causing destruction of insect membranes and killing them. Mix the soap with water to create your solution and apply directly to insects on any plants. While insecticidal soap is less apt to affect other organisms, certain plants might be sensitive to the soap and can suffer leaf burn.
  • Apply horticultural oils. Combine plant- or petroleum-based oils with water to produce horticultural sprays. Neem oil, for instance, is derived from seed extracts of the neem plant. Oil-based sprays block an insect’s air holes, interfere with an insect’s metabolism, disrupt insect feeding, and inhibit insect growth. Like insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils can cause plant injury if not properly diluted.
  • Make your own pest spray. You can make your own pest spray with benign materials. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of a mild dish detergent, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a gallon of water to make a solution that will repel all kinds of bugs, as well as a fungicide for mildew on cilantro plant leaves. Shake it well in your bottle before spraying and repeat every week for it to be continuously effective.
  • If your plant is infested, act quickly. If you discover that your cilantro is infested with anything, you need to apply the treatment methods recommended above as soon as possible.

Do pests attack your cilantro every year? How do you handle removing them—and even preventing them in the first place? Please tell us how you treat your cilantro to avoid pests.

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