These 8 herbs work great in consort and can be kept in pots on a porch, near a door, or anywhere else you plan to gather together out-of-doors.
Catnip This fragrant mint “cousin” contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which is both a feline attractant and a useful insect repellant.
Lemon balm: This member of the mint family has white flowers and a gentle lemony scent, as well as some healing properties. It is particularly good at keeping biting insects away, but it is also an invasive species, so be careful when growing it.
Basil: A 2009 study showed that the essential oil from this delicious herb is toxic to mosquito larvae.
Lavender: This beautiful potent plant with one of the freshest odors, not only repels mosquitoes, but also keeps moths and flies away. The flower’s perfume is well-known, and while it will scent the air, it is still most effective when actually rubbed onto the skin.
Peppermint: This plant in its concentrated form is sometimes used as an insect repellent, and its essential oil has been shown to keep away the adult species of several insects as well as their larvae.
Citrosum: This perennial is actually marketed as “mosquito plant,” primarily due to its strong citronella-like smell. Unfortunately, though it is most busily advertised, there is some research that suggests it is also the least effective at keeping away mosquitos! Still, there are some benefits to be gained from rubbing it on your skin, and if there is nothing else around, it will provide certain protection.
Rosemary: If you’re planning to gather around a fire, try burning a little rosemary.
Sage: The incense of both sage and rosemary when they burn not only smells good, but it is also unpleasant enough for the little critters and will keep them away—provided you are near the smoke!
So, you can’t just plant and be done, however. The aroma needs to be in the air around you, at the very least, and ideally on your skin. To get the maximum effect, crush herb leaves in your hands to release their perfume, and then gently rub the leaves and their oils over your skin.
On the other hand, when you are away from your garden – hopefully full of natural mosquito repellents – you may still need an organic bug repellant.
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