If you are a mosquito or insect magnet, take comfort in knowing that fighting back against gnats, flies, no-see-ums and other pesky bugs doesn’t have to involve covering yourself with bug spray, or engaging in chemical warfare every time you walk out your back door. There are many different plants you can incorporate into your yard that have compounds to repel biting bugs, like mosquitoes and fire ants. Who wouldn’t want that? To help you enjoy going outdoors, try strategically placing insect-repelling plants in your home, garden or on your patio.
To give the natural route a try, consider this list of six easy-to-find plants at your local nursery that repel annoying insects. While research has not been done to define how many plants are needed, or how close they must be planted to generate the best results, we do know that the smell of fragrant herbs and plants is one way to send pesky insects on their way.
Not only does lavender smell great, but it also repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes, both inside and outside your home. This plant can be grown in containers, and prefers sunny and dry areas. Once the plant blooms, you can cut lavender to make a beautiful bouquet for your kitchen or dining room table. Even as the flowers dry, they can be used as decoration, and they still repel bugs.
This can be planted in abundance; it serves as a great filler in a garden, or as landscaping. Lemongrass needs a lot of sun, making it an enjoyable annual in the summertime, and a successful mosquito repellant.
This herb often is used in recipes and has the added bonus of repelling pests. Plant rosemary in containers near doors and windows to ward off pesky mosquitoes, and add sprigs of the plant to your clothes drawers to repel both moths and silverfish.
These brightly colored flowers are not only aesthetically pleasing in your garden, but they also are known to repel beetles and aphids. They flourish in the sun, making them a great choice for window boxes.
A versatile herb in the kitchen, oregano also is known for its ability to ward off the cabbage moth, which is harmful to any vegetable garden. These plants enjoy sun with occasional shade, so plant oregano in a spot that receives abundant sunshine during parts of the day, and shade at other times.
In the early 20th century, farmers crushed the leaves of the beautyberry bush and placed them in between their horse and its harness to keep mosquitoes and ticks away. Perhaps they learned this from early Native Americans, who found many medicinal uses for this plant. Crushed beautyberry leaves have been used to keep mosquitoes from biting, and research has shown that the leaves contain compounds that have the potential to be as effective as DEET in preventing mosquito bites.
Whatever your gardening needs are, Cherokee County Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are here to help you find answers to all your gardening questions.
Visit https://cherokeemastergardenersinc.wildapricot.org to register for upcoming gardening seminars.
– Barbara Schirmer is a resident of Woodstock and a UGA Master Gardener Extension Volunteer of Cherokee County.