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Growing Good Food at Home

What to Do About Pests that Can Harm Your Thyme Plants

Thyme colonized by aphids

Thyme colonized by aphids

Pests in your thyme garden, left unchecked, can damage and destroy your precious thyme plants. Fortunately, few pests attack thyme. Keeping a close watch on your plants during regular daily inspections will help you spot any pests before they can do irreparable harm. Healthy thyme plants can bounce back from pest damage if you catch the pests quickly.

Spot the symptoms of thyme plant pests

Check leaves and stems for these symptoms that come from pests on the prowl!

On Thyme Leaves and Stems

Symptom</strong Pest Treatment
Distortion Aphids
  • release predators (ladybug larvae)
  • spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil
Fine webbing Spider mites
  • release predators (ladybugs, lacewings)
  • apply neem oil on eggs
  • remove affected foliage or plants

How to treat pests on thyme plants

Keep thyme healthy by treating for pests when necessary

Keep thyme healthy by treating for pests when necessary

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

  • 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. Insecticidal soaps are particularly effective on smaller pests such as aphids and spider mites. 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 one 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 blight and mildew on the thyme plant leaves. Shake it well in your bottle before spraying and repeat every week for it to be continuously effective.

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

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