Going natural is always the best way—even in insect repellents. Mosquitoes are notorious for feasting on unsuspecting humans. As they feed on human blood, a bump usually manifests on the area bitten. But although commercial mosquito repellents are good at keeping mosquitoes at bay, they are often toxic for human health.
Instead, switching to organic and natural repellents found in the environment is a better approach. By taking care of plants and herbs known for their mosquito-repelling attributes, every home should be bug and harm-free before the season’s over.
How Do Plants Repel Mosquitoes?
Insects, including mosquitoes, are creatures drawn to environments that fulfill their daily needs. Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not sip on human blood and treat it as their food. Instead, human blood is only an ideal source of nutrients female mosquitoes need to make eggs.
However, the other half of mosquitoes depend on plants’ nectars, specifically from taro, papyrus, water lilies, and water hyacinths. Therefore, eliminating these plants in your area should contribute to the household’s overall comfort.
Meanwhile, plants do not “repel” mosquitoes away. Instead, some of them exude strong scents that mask human odors or confuse mosquitoes. In effect, the insects ignore people near these plants, thinking that no one is there to suck on.
The use of plants is an alternative for people allergic to using commercial repellents containing DEET—a common ingredient in most insect repellent products. However, the component causes skin irritation and, in more severe cases, seizures.
Plants and Herbs That Repel Mosquitoes
1. Citronella Geranium
Besides being an all-around pest repellent, citronella excels in warding off mosquitoes, thanks to its fruity scent. You can use the leaves immediately after you crush and rub them all over your skin. However, remember that the plant responds best to pruning—make sure to cut some branches into summer bouquets!
2. Lemon Balm
The lemon balm’s signature fruity and lemony scent makes it a great candidate for the best plant that helps repel mosquitoes. As insects hate how the compound smells, they can’t stand people exposed to it. When you crush the leaves and rub them against the arms, ankles, or anywhere a mosquito may bite should ensure no mosquitoes or gnats will bother you throughout the night.
Although cats deserve a good sniff, catnip seems to produce a non-inviting scent for mosquitoes. Nepeta cataria, or the active ingredient found in catnip, triggers a chemical reaction in insects that resembles the sensation of pain or itching. Imagine a mosquito flying by and suddenly feeling pain or irritation without knowing where it originates. Therefore, keep your felines happy and your bugs and insects away with a good sniff of catnip per day.
Lavender is known for its medicinal properties, helpful in treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness. However, despite its heavenly scent, mosquitoes tend to wander away from the herb. The lavandin variety, consisting of a high concentration of camphor, is a practical choice for keeping mosquitoes, moths, and flies away.
Basil is not only good for a batch of fresh pesto—it’s also known for its mosquito repellent attributes. However, compared to prior plants and herbs, basil naturally emits the aroma from its leaves. You don’t have to crush the leaves or rub them on the skin to get the best results. Place a pot of basil where people usually hang out at home and notice how mosquitoes will never fly by again.
Even if mosquitoes balance the ecosystem, they are pests that cause multiple problems risking human health. A simple bite from mosquitoes carrying certain viruses or parasites can cause life-threatening illnesses. Through some plants and herbs, there is no need for commercial insect repellents.
Blossom Broom is an online gardening blog that gives readers nifty tips and tricks about sustaining the best home design. Our goal is to provide people with enough reasons to start their garden at home by stating how essential the addition will be. Check out our past posts related to housekeeping today.