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Because a lavender plant smells a whole lot nicer than a bottle of bug spray.
Mosquitoes are a real pain in the… well, wherever they bite you. And if they’re showing up in droves, they can ruin a
barbecue or make your gardening plans downright impossible. It’s tempting to throw everything you can at them, from store-bought bug sprays to having your lawn treated. But what about the actual plants you’re tending? Can those affect which creatures come buzzing? They can—in a way.
Mosquitoes, like all creatures, are attracted to environments that contain the things they need to live. And that includes certain plants! Believe it or not, mosquitoes don’t live on the blood they take from animals (only the females bite, and they feed the blood to their eggs). As adults, mosquitoes eat the nectar of certain plants, such as taro, papyrus, water lilies, and water hyacinths. So removing those plants from your yard may help.
However, there are other parts of an environment, such as pools of standing water, that make a far bigger difference in whether you have a mosquito problem. So here are 28 ways you can cut down on mosquitoes, including tips for making your yard less of a haven for the little beasts.
And, believe it or not, there are some plants that will repel mosquitoes—in a way. Mosquitoes find people and other animals to bite in part by sensing their body heat and movement, but mostly by "smelling" the carbon dioxide that is emitted from our pores. While traditional sprays containing DEET and other mosquito repellants work by making your skin uncomfortable to land on, some plants actually smell strong enough that they can mask your scent, and/or confuse the mosquitoes. But these mosquito repellent plants don’t just waft that smell over the yard!
If you want the mosquito-repelling benefit, you typically need to take a few of the leaves, crush them up a little, and then rub them on your arms and legs. For folks who may be sensitive or have skin allergies, this is a bit of a nonstarter. And for others who find themselves especially attractive to bites, this may not work well enough to make a difference. But for many people who are searching for more natural mosquito remedies, and don’t have allergies, these plants make a noticeable difference—and they’ll leave you smelling good! What’s not to like about that?
Here are a dozen mosquito repellent plants worth having in your yard, that are not only pretty, but that can help in the constant war against bug bites.
Not all geraniums will repel mosquitoes, but this particular kind (formally known as Pelargonium citrosum), which produces and smells like a citronella oil, can ward off bugs.
The strong lemon scent of this plant contains high levels of the bug-repelling compound—but in a more appetizing way. (It’s an invasive species, however, so it’s best to grow it in containers.)
While they’re not the most powerful repellent, these purple beauties (Ageratum houstounianum) produce an aroma mosquitoes aren’t fond of, according to SFGate. Butterflies and hummingbirds, however, love their fragrant blooms.
Originally used as a perfume, essential oils and extracts from Cintronella plants are so effective at keeping mosquitos away that they’re now a go-to ingredient for many commercial repellents.
It may sound hard to believe since the scent is so heavenly to us humans, but mosquitoes can’t stand the smell of this herb. Keep bugs at bay by planting the lavandin variety, which has a high concentration of camphor. Bonus: It also keeps moths and flies away!
Not only do they look pretty, these colorful and heady flowers will repel mosquitoes. They also repel other insects, since they contain pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents.
Placing a pot of basil on your picnic table is helpful for giving your food a flavorful update—but it will also keep the bugs away, since it’s one of the few plants that offer a strong-enough bug-repelling scent that you may not even have to crush the leaves! A 2009 study showed that basil essential oil is toxic to mosquito larvae.
Gathering around the bonfire to roast some s’mores? You might want to toss a little sage into the fire—the scented smoke will keep those pesky critters away. (Rosemary works, too.)
Mint leaves can aid in keeping mosquitoes away. Bonus: Mint essential oils can also help soothe bug bites.
Also known as "Mosquito Repellant Plant," this perennial is heavily marketed as a useful insect repellant. While some research suggests that this plant may not be so great at keeping biting insects away, it can’t hurt to plant some near your porch, right?
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At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.