9 Plants that Naturally Repel Bugs


Summer is finally here, and what’s not to love? The days are longer, the sun is warmer, the tea is sweeter, and the best berries are in season. However, it’s hard to ignore one aspect of summer that’s not quite so delightful: there are bugs everywhere.

But, don’t throw in the towel yet! There are actually some herbs and flowers that will repel bugs naturally through their scent. So, before you smother your yard with insecticides, Clark Exterminating has compiled a list of 9 plants that can do the job for you.

1. Lavender This plant is well known for its sweet, calming aroma. A lesser known fact about lavender, though, is its ability to repel insects like fleas, moths, flies, and mosquitos. Plant it in your garden or place bouquets around your entryways to keep those areas free of unwanted pests. Lavender also has an added bonus: by rubbing the plant on your skin to release its oils, it can act as an effective skin protectant.

2. Lemongrass Lemongrass contains an ingredient commonly seen in bug-repellant candles: citronella. While these candles are frequently laden with other harsh chemicals, lemongrass is a natural source of repellent oil. The plant can grow up to 4 feet tall and requires a good amount of sun, so be sure to keep it in one of your garden’s more sunny areas.

3. Mint
It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t like the smell and taste of mint. But, while we love it, insects hate it. Scatter some around your patio or yard and insects are sure to steer clear. One precautionary tip: this plant tends to spread aggressively and is difficult to remove once established, so it is best to keep it confined to pots.

4. Rosemary
If you’re a fan of home cooking, rosemary is the plant for you. Not only are its oils a delicious addition to a steak or grilled chicken, but it is also a highly effective insect repellent in the garden. Rosemary is also fairly versatile: it can be grown in containers around your patio or freely in your herb garden.

5. Basil
Similar to rosemary, basil is both a delicious addition to your home-cooked meals and an effective repellent in your garden. Place a couple of pots around your outdoor tables to keep flies and mosquitos at bay at your next patio party.

6. Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums are more than just a pretty addition to your garden: they contain pyrethrum, one of the most effective insect-repellent ingredients. Pyrethrum is commonly used in the home and is in garden insecticides, sprays, and pet shampoos to ward off flying and jumping insects.

7. Marigolds
Marigolds are another pretty, colorful addition that doubles as an effective insect repellent. Their distinctive scent repels a variety of pests, from mosquitoes and aphids to squash bugs and tomato worms. Marigolds thrive in sunny environments, making them an easy addition to your summer garden.

8. Petunias
With their beautiful bright colors and easy maintenance, it’s no wonder petunias are one of the most popular flowers. While they effectively repel insects through their sweet, licorice scent, a fairly recent study found that their repellent nature might go a step further. A review in 2009 suggests that petunias could even be considered carnivorous: their sticky hairs can trap and kill insects, providing them with nutrients as the insects break down.

9. Catnip
Your feline friends will appreciate our last plant on the list: catnip. Conveniently, the same ingredient that drives them wild, nepetalactone, is considered one of the most effective natural insect repellents. In fact, catnip is so effective that studies have found the herb works 10 times better at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. One point for nature!

If these plants don’t quite get the job done, the professionals at Clark Exterminating are here to help. Don’t forget: we offer FREE in-home estimates, so call us today to set up an appointment. Remember, the bug stops here!

Little Rock: 501-228-0322
North Little Rock: 501-758-0322
Conway: 501-329-0396
Benton: 501-776-1388
Bryant: 501-847-1388
Jacksonville/Cabot: 501-843-1322
Hot Springs: 501-623-2335

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