So over the past couple of weeks, I have been waging a war against the insect world on two fronts. The cats aquired fleas from somewhere - oh, joy! I tend to react badly to insect bites (some even leave a scar), so I noticed that something was nibbling me pretty quickly. As some appeared to be in rows of three, I thought for a while it might be bed-bugs and went on a room-cleaning-panic to eradicate whatever there was. Then my mother called and told me she had bites all over her feet and ankles (like mine) from fleas on her cat. Aha, thought I, and spoke to the cats' owners. Several fleabombs and much hoovering later, we are still finding small black things jumping over our legs in front of the tv. We think we might have cracked it now, however, through the liberal application of baking soda (all hail!)
Meanwhile, upstairs, my basil plant (acquired some two weeks ago) was being nibbled. Closer inspection revealed small black flies. Cue hours of googling. Initially, I thought it was something similar to soil grubs due to overwatering, but watering less just makes the plant wilt. After more googling, I think I have identified the problem as aphids. Still not entirely sure, though. I've made a pesticide from garlic and peppercorns, and it seems to be improving the situation. If anyone who stumbles across this page knows anything about flies on basil, please let me know!