Mosquitoes are perhaps one of the most detestable pests in the insect world. Even worse than the mosquitoes themselves are the toxic bug sprays that are commonly used to combat them. However, there are more natural remedies that can be used to deter mosquitoes, most of which that you can grow at home. Bugs typically dislike strong scents, so you may find that some of your favorite fragrant plants are hated by mosquitoes and other pests. Here are just a few of the plants that may be used to repel mosquitoes and other unwanted bugs.
Basil – Basil is one of the few herbs that gives off a scent without needing to crush the leaves first. The strong scent will help repel mosquitoes from your yard, but to fully take advantage of its natural bug repellent properties, you’ll still want to crush the leaves to release the oils when rubbing it on your skin.
Catnip – While cats may love Catnip, mosquitoes don’t care for it at all. Studies suggest that Catnip may be even more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, which is a highly toxic active ingredient in most commercial bug sprays. Like Lemon Balm, you can crush and rub the leaves directly on the skin. However, if you have cats, expect to find them rolling around, playing with, and eating your Catnip plants.
Citronella Geranium – Many bug repelling candles, lotions, and sprays contain Citronella. This cheerful plant has a strong, distinctive odor and repels mosquitoes by masking the scents that the bugs are attracted to, like your skin. The oil that exists in the leaves of the Citronella Geranium is what deters mosquitoes, so rubbing a few of the leaves on your skin will help keep you bug-free.
Garlic – While it is something most people are more inclined to use in a recipe rather than in a bug spray, Garlic does have mosquito repelling properties. The strong odor of the oil hides any other scents that may attract mosquitoes. You can either sprinkle cut garlic around outdoor spaces that you wish to keep free of mosquitoes or mix it with other aromatic oils in an all-natural body spray.
Lemon Balm – Lemon Balm contains high levels of the compound citronellal, which is what gives it that lemony scent and flavor that bugs find so distasteful. You can plant it near any outdoor area where you spend a lot of time or pick a few leaves, crush them up, and then rub them onto your skin to repel mosquitoes. Related to mint, it has similar fuzzy leaves and rapid spreading habits, so it is a good idea to keep it confined to a pot.
Lemongrass – Lemongrass is a tropical herb that has a strong citrus flavor. The lemon taste is a favorite ingredient used in Asian teas, sauces, and soups. Lemongrass is also known as an excellent mosquito repellent. When planted near walkways or around outdoor seating areas, it works well with helping to keep mosquitoes away.
Marigolds – You may know that these lovely orange flowers keep slugs away, but you probably didn’t know that they can also deter mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, a compound used in many store-bought insect repellents. Potted marigolds placed near the entrances or windows of your home may help to keep mosquitoes from crossing this natural barrier.
Rosemary – An herb loved by Italian cooks, Rosemary has a distinctive odor that permeates the air when leaves are crushed. This plant can work double-duty as a mosquito repellent and a tasty ingredient in your summer recipes. Rosemary will overgrow into a fairly large shrub but can be aggressively pruned back without worrying about stunting its growth.