Is Cicada Infested Mint Edible?

Mints (Mentha) belong to the mint family (Lamiaceae). Sometimes they are infested by cicadas that suck on the leaves. Find out if mint leaves are still edible in the following article.

To the point

  • White to yellow, dot-like spots and speckles as a sign of cicadas.
  • Mint still edible in case of cicada infestation
  • Fighting the pests only with natural home remedies

Appearance


Cicadas are sucking flying insects that can look white, green or colorful. The cicada species that infest mint and other herbs is usually less than 2 mm in size. At rest, their wings are roof-shaped on the back. The hind legs are formed into jumping organs, so they can quickly jump from one leaf to another.

Damage pattern

  • bright dot-like mottling and spots on the leaves
  • whitish larvae on the underside of the leaves
  • sometimes curled leaves at the shoot tips
  • brown leaves as the infestation progresses


Tip: To be absolutely sure that it really is cicadas, you can shake the plants a little. Then the tiny animals will quickly jump or fly away. If necessary, use a magnifying glass to spot them.

Causes


The causes of a cicada infestation can be very diverse:

  • Monoculture
  • Climate change
  • too little potassium
  • irregular watering
  • overfertilized with nitrogen
  • location too warm
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Mint edible


The mint leaves can still be eaten despite the infestation of the pests, even if they no longer look so beautiful and are usually a little drier. However, you should prevent the plants from dying completely.

Zikadenbefall bei Minze

Combat


It is not absolutely necessary that you fight the cicadas. But if the animals bother you or if they become rampant, you can drive them away with natural home remedies.

Neem oil

Neem oil is a purely ecological remedy and suppresses the reproduction of insect pests. It is extracted from the seeds of the Indian neem tree. You can get it in health food stores and organic food stores.

  • 1 teaspoon of the neem oil to 1 liter of water
  • mix well
  • pour the mixture into a spray bottle
  • always shake well before use
  • spray affected plants several times a day


Tip: You can use rimulgan (made from castor oil) as an emulsifier to help the water mix with the oil.

Frequently asked questions


Is it possible to rinse cicadas from mint with water?


Yes, this is also possible. It is best to use the water from the garden hose and rinse the mint plant with it. However, so that the water jet does not harm the fine mint leaves, it should not be too powerful. You should repeat the process as many times a day as possible.

Do mint leaves still taste as aromatic when infested with cicadas?


Unfortunately not, as the insect pests suck the sap from the leaves. In the process, some of the mint flavor is lost. That means the leaves taste like mint, just not as strong.

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How can I prevent an infestation?


You can prevent an infestation of cicadas by establishing natural predators of the sucking insects in your garden, such as predatory mites, ichneumon wasps, lacewings, earth wasps, spiders and birds. Insect hotels, nesting boxes, deadwood piles, flower meadows and native woody plants will help.

Does a field horsetail cold water extract benefit prevention?


Yes, a field horsetail cold water extract can help as a preventative. Horsetail contains a lot of silica, which the mint plant uses to strengthen its cell walls. This makes it harder for pests to bite into the leaves. To prepare the cold water extract, 200 grams of field horsetail to 2 liters of water is sufficient. Let everything stand for 24 hours and then strain it. Then pour it into a spray bottle and spray the mint plant with it regularly. In addition, add the cold water extract to the water for watering.

Author

  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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