While there are countless positives that come with the warmer seasons, there’s one huge downside. Yep, mosquitos! These pesky insects can leave us itching all over with unpleasant swollen and scabbed skin.
We try to do everything we can to keep these bugs away, from candles to aerosols and incense. However, the problem with conventional mosquito-fighting options is they’re loaded with nasty additives, harmful fragrances, synthetic compounds, and dangerous chemicals. Not to mention they come in containers that contribute to everlasting plastic waste.
This year, rather than rely on bug repellents to ward off these nasty buggers, as we venture back outside, let’s turn to a better, more natural way to keep the mosquitoes out of the house… plants!
Lemon balm, for instance, promotes a healthy relationship to bugs. It attracts the ones we want—pollinators like bees and butterflies—and deters mosquitoes. Generally, the biting bugs don’t like the smell of lemon balm and so avoid it.
Peppermint has also been proven to effectively stave off mosquitos. One study in which mosquito larvae were exposed to the oil resulted in a 100 percent mortality rate for the larvae. Planting peppermint around the yard will work well, but if you need more immediate backup, you can crush up peppermint leaves in your hands to release a strong scent, and even dab it on your skin.
Besides being a tasty addition to many dishes, basil has been shown to be a natural remedy for many ailments such as acne and headaches. It’s also great at warding off mosquitoes. The chemical estragole found in basil leaves is toxic to mosquito larvae. The most strategic place to plant this is close to a water source—where mosquitos tend to lay their eggs and breed—to deter the population from this area.
Lavender smells lovely. Even better, while it tends to induce calming feelings in humans, it keeps mosquitoes away. Similar to peppermint, you can apply lavender oil from the plant to your skin to ward off the bloodsuckers. Extra benefit, you’ll also find an additional sense of zen walking through your garden.
Perhaps you’ve heard of citronella as a scent of candles and oils that work as a bug repellent. However, these candles can contain chemicals in their smoke that are harmful to pets. Growing citronella in grass form is a highly effective way of repelling mosquitoes. Again, you can even rub crushed leaves on your skin as an extra layer of natural repellent, to send those bugs packing.