This summer, why not try a new approach that can possibly go a long, as well as an attractive way towards warding off mosquitos and other biting insects in your environment? Since we’re probably going to be spending most of our time in, on and around our backyards, patios, decks and balconies this year, we figured we’d share some ideas on how to make the time we spend outdoors more bug free – while also enhancing your surroundings. As far as we’re concerned, a leisurely afternoon spent in one’s outdoor space shouldn’t involve slapping and swatting at insects. Agreed?
This is not to say bug repellents such as citronella and Deet aren’t very effective, but we felt that a more natural approach might interest some of our readers who are more health conscious when it comes to chemical solutions. Those two products do have their place in the scheme of bug control none-the-less.
Our thought is that while we’re out on, or in, a small space such products can be obtrusive and oppressive and downright nasty.
Aromatic Herbs, Plants & Flowers to the Rescue
There are a number of herbs, plants and flowers which have powerful essential oils and perfumes (scents) that can help repel bugs – not only keeping them away from us, but also discouraging them from bugging our pets and from destroying our other lovely plants.
By placing planters and pots of these anti-pest plants strategically around our outdoor living spaces, or throughout our garden areas, we can reduce the numbers of bugs and pests that spoil our leisurely afternoons or evenings. I mean really, who wants their BBQ parties and cocktail hours to be fraught with biting insects and bugs? We all deserve to enjoy the great outdoors during the summer months.
While not 100% effective, the following herbs and plants can help reduce the nuisance factor certain bugs bring to the party. You can also even plant them in your vegetable patch if you have one.
8 Popular Bug and Pest Reducing Plants You Can Grow
With the Asian nickname “Mosquito Grass”, this aromatic herb is the source from which Citronella oil is derived. Think candles and lotions. Planted in the garden, it can grow to two feet tall and can also be grown in patio containers where it is effective in repelling, as the nickname suggests, mosquitos. It is not winter hardy so simply dig it up and move indoors for the winter.
Placed in strategic spots throughout the garden or in patio pots, mint will help keep mosquitos away from people. You can also, if you feel industrious, make your own bug repellent by crushing the leaves up and making a spray. Personally, I’d rather crush the leaves up and make Mojitos!
3. Rosemary & Thyme
I’ve grouped these two together as they are companion plants. Not only good for seasoning poultry, these two pungent herbs when grown together combine nicely to stave off flies and mozzies. Mother Earth News suggests that the thyme volatiles were as effective as DEET, if not more so according to a recent study done in South Korea. Grown as a companion plant in the veggie patch, its presence means less white fly and cabbage moths, too.
Marigolds are one of the most well-known insect-repelling plants. They have a scent that will keep mosquitoes, nematodes such as cabbage worms, and other pests away, not only in the veggie garden but on the patio. Marigolds also attract beneficial insects to the garden and to our planters that will attack and kill aphids. Ladybugs will be enticed to visit, and, as all of us gardeners know, they are especially fond of aphids.
Apart from the benefits these colourful flowers bring to our hanging baskets and patio planters, they also lend protection to the vegetable garden. Their strong, peppery scent tends to deter aphids, leafhoppers, tomato worms and other pesky pests. Also, if you’re growing roses or those delightful cherry tomatoes in your garden or in pots in your outdoor living space, plant some petunias close by. Your planter box roses will reward you with glorious perfumed aromas and blossoms and the containers of tomatoes will thrive and live to add a taste of summer to your salads.
You may think of your grandmother (I certainly do – one whiff of that hazy soft heat activated scent – and I’m transported back, sitting on her lap whilst being read a book). When you smell lavender, you realize she knew what she was doing. Lavender discourages moths, flies and fleas from the exterior spaces where it is planted or, in the case of the dried product, in dresser drawers, and closets. Once fall arrives, pick your lavender plant’s flowers and leaves and bundle them together with ribbon for use indoors or in a potpourri.
These flowering plants are the supreme Queen of all anti-bug plants. Chrysanthemums will do a great job of repelling the following list of creepy crawlies: ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, fleas, lice, spider mites and more. The flowers contain pyrethrum, often used in manufacturing natural pesticides and other products such as pet shampoos. They are a popular flowering plant that work anywhere in the garden, or in pots or containers on your porch or patio and even indoors.
What a lovely name. They last well into the fall and are readily available from florists throughout the winter months too. And can you think of the other memories the word Mum evokes? I can. Missing mine forever.
Summertime & the Living’s Easy
2020 may not go down as having been the most exciting summer of all time, but at least it could possibly be the most bug free one. Here’s to a leisurely and happy summer doing what we all know how to do best – loafing around on the patio reading a book or perhaps flopping out on the couch and watching a movie!
For some bug titled inspiration, though not necessarily about actual mosquitos, how about picking up a copy of the book, The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux or checking out the 1986 movie by the same name! Or the Apple TV series. And these don’t even scratch the surface of bug related books and films out there.