Summertime in St. Louis means pool parties, barbecues, and lots of fun in the sun. After being cooped up all winter, most of us wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to spend more time outdoors enjoying our backyards. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and other pesky insects enjoy it as well. And because of viruses such as Zika and West Nile, mosquitoes aren’t just irritating, they’re a real concern. Fortunately, there are many varieties of plants and flowers that naturally fend off mosquitoes and other pests. Before drowning yourself in bug spray this summer, try adding some of these insect-repelling plants to your St. Louis landscaping.
Not only do marigolds make a colorful addition to any backyard, but they also have a very distinct smell that repels mosquitoes and other insects. Try planting some near doors and windows where mosquitoes might be tempted to enter your home. Marigolds also make an excellent addition to any garden, as they deter pests that prey on tomatoes, squash, and other fruits and vegetables.
Cats may be attracted to catnip, but mosquitoes most definitely are not. In fact, some studies have shown that nepetalactone, the chemical in catnip that makes it so irresistible to felines, is a more effective insect repellent than DEET. Keep in mind that catnip spreads very rapidly, so it’s best to grow it in pots to prevent a complete takeover.
Everyone knows that basil is great for cooking, but many people don’t know that it’s also excellent for repelling flies and mosquitoes. While all varieties help to deter unwanted pests, lemon basil and cinnamon basil are generally the most effective. Unlike most herbs, you don’t need to crush basil to take advantage of its benefits. Try rubbing a few leaves on your skin in place of harsh chemicals the next time you spend an evening outdoors.
While most people love the relaxing scent of lavender, bugs hate it. For this reason, lavender is one of the best choices when it comes to pest control. Try planting some in your landscaping beds or in pots near your doors, windows, and entertaining areas. The purple blooms are beautiful and will help keep mosquitoes at bay. Just keep in mind that unlike most insects, bees are attracted to lavender so if anyone in the household has allergies, you may want to skip this one.
According to popular folklore, garlic can be used to ward off blood-sucking vampires and werewolves. But did you know that it can be used to deter blood-sucking mosquitoes as well? If you don’t want to plant garlic, try spraying some extract around your landscaping and outdoor spaces. It’s harmless to plants, but it will keep mosquitoes and other pests away!
6) Lemon Grass
The leaves and stems of lemon grass produce citronella, an essential oil commonly found in insect-repelling products such as bug spray, candles, and torches. Citronella oil has a very strong, distinct citrus scent that mosquitoes and other pests despise. Lemon grass can’t withstand frost, so it’s best planted in large containers that can be brought inside in the winter.
Like most bugs, mosquitoes hate the taste and smell of peppermint and will do their best to avoid it. In addition, if you do happen to get a bug bite, peppermint leaves can be rubbed directly on the skin to help soothe the itch. Like catnip, peppermint can be very invasive so it’s best to keep it confined in a pot or other container.
For more information on landscape installation or maintenance services for your own St. Louis backyard, call Flora at 636-728-1520 or fill out our online contact form.