Thrive II Preview

12 Plants that Repel Unwanted Insects

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Environment, Wildlife with 0 Comments

By: Tom Oder | Mother Nature Network

Lavender is among the plants that act as natural insect repellents. (Photo: Limbo Poet/flickr)

Lavender is among the plants that act as natural insect repellents. (Photo: Limbo Poet/flickr)

Are you an insect magnet? If you aren’t, you probably know one. Insect magnets attract annoying insects the second they walk outdoors — or so it seems.
If this describes you, take comfort in knowing that one of the ways you can fight back against mosquitoes, gnats, flies, no-see-ums and other pesky bugs doesn’t have to involve covering yourself with a sticky spray or engaging in chemical warfare. To help you enjoy going outdoors, try strategically placing insect-repelling plants in your garden or on your patio.
Essential oils in these plants act as nature’s bug repellent. Insects tend to avoid them. You can even use some of these plants to make your own natural bug repellent.
But know that simply including insect-repelling plants in your landscape will not in itself ensure your garden is insect free.
“There’s not enough research in this area to support that,” says Dr. Bodie Pennisi, an associate professor and extension landscape specialist at the University of Georgia’s Griffin campus. “The concentration of oils is not there to offer that kind of protection.”
There may be fewer insects, but no one’s done the research into how many plants, planted how close together, would be effective in repelling insects to any great extent, says Pennisi. One of the best things people can do to hold down mosquito populations, she advises, is to eliminate any standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed.
Globules on rosemary leavesFor those who would like to give the natural route a try, we’ve described six easy-to-find herbs readily available at most nurseries that are said to repel mosquitoes and other annoying insects. The smell from fragrant herbs is the result of the distribution of tiny globules that contain oils. High temperatures, for example, can cause the globules to become volatile, evaporating the essential oils and turning them into vapors, Pennisi says. The many globules on the underside of rosemary leaves (seen at right) are one of the best examples of this.
We’ve included our take on five ornamental flowers that can help keep plant-attacking insects at bay. Keeping your growing areas as insect free as possible will help your vegetable garden stay productive and your ornamental beds attractive. In addition, we’ve included a carnivorous plant that eats insects which you can also include in your eco-friendly insect barrier.
What plants are you growing that reduce your insect populations? Please share your results in the comments section. Here’s our list of 12 plants.

Herbs

Basil
Basil repels housefliesRepels house flies and mosquitoes. Plant basil in containers by your house doors and in outdoor areas where you like to relax or entertain. Basil is delicious in salads, in many pork and chicken recipes and with a variety of soups. You also can use fresh basil to make an insect repellent spray. A simple recipe calls for pouring 4 ounces of boiling water into a container holding 4 to 6 ounces of clean, fresh basil leaves (stems can be attached), letting the leaves steep for several hours, removing the leaves and squeezing all of the leaves’ moisture into the mixture. Then thoroughly mix 4 ounces of (cheap!) vodka with the basil-water mixture. Store in the refrigerator and apply as a spray when going outdoors. Be sure to keep the spray away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
Lavender
Lavender bouquets repel fleas, flies and other biting insectsRepels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes. Lavender has been used for centuries to add a pleasantly sweet fragrance to homes and clothes drawers. Although people love the smell of lavender, mosquitoes, flies and other unwanted insects hate it. Place tied bouquets in your home to help keep flies outdoors. Plant it in sunny areas of the garden or near entryways to your house to help keep those areas pest free. You can also use oil extracted from the flowers as a mosquito repellent you can apply to exposed skin when going into the garden or patio. The Everything Lavender website has a guide for extracting the oil and making a lavender-infused body oil. Added benefits are that lavender oil nourishes the skin and has a calming effect that induces sleep.
Lemongrass
Lemongrass repels insects like mosquitoesRepels mosquitoes. You’ve no doubt seen citronella candles in stores during the summer and read how citronella will keep mosquitoes away. Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass, an ornamental that can grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide in one season. This grass with wonderful culinary uses is hardy only in South Florida (Zone 10), so almost everyone will have to grow it as an annual. It does well in a pot or in the ground in a sunny, well-drained location. Use its fragrant, narrow leaves in chicken and pork dishes and to flavor soups and salad dressing. Many Asian recipes call for lemongrass.
Lemon thyme
Lemon thyme repels mosquitoesRepels mosquitoes. This hardy herb can adapt to dry or rocky, shallow soil and will thrive in your herb garden, a rock garden or a front border as long as these are in sunny locations. The plant itself will not repel pesky mosquitoes. To release its chemicals, you must first bruise the leaves. To do this, simply cut off a few stems and rub them between your hands. Before you do that, though, it’s advisable to make sure the plant’s natural properties will not adversely affect you. Determine your tolerance by rubbing crushed leaves on a small area on your forearm for several days.
Mint
Mint repels mosquitoesRepels mosquitoes. Mint is best grown in pots rather than the ground because it spreads aggressively. Once established in the garden, it can be difficult to remove. The leaves are commonly used to flavor iced tea. The aromatic properties found in the leaves are also present in the stems and flowers. With a little work, the plant’s aromatic oils can be extracted and combined with apple cider vinegar and cheap vodka (or witch hazel) to make a mosquito repellent. Containers of mint strategically placed in the garden or on the patio will help keep nearby plants insect free.

Tags: , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top
Send this to a friend