Top 15 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes, Flies, Mice And Other Pests

Tara Dodrill - Author

Mar. 13 2017, Updated 7:51 a.m. ET

Spring and summer bring warm days, cookouts, outdoor fun — and lots of flies, mosquitoes, and other unwanted pests. A mild winter often causes the population of the bothersome insects to explode. Reducing the presence of the pests from the backyard can be done both naturally and beautifully by adding plants which naturally repels them around places where water pools on the property, where children play and the family congregates.

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Top 15 Mosquito, Fly, and Pest Repelling Plants

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  1. Citronella – The plant’s scent masks other smells in its vicinity and is known to prevent mosquitoes and common backyard pests from being attracted to the other things in the area, such as food, standing water, and potential human hosts. Citronella is a perennial plant with a grass-like appearance. It is typically easy to grow in most areas and reaches up to six feet high. It can be planted into the ground and allowed to flourish or grown in pots.
  2. Basil – Basil planted around the porch or the foundation of a home can repel mosquitoes, flies, mice, and other bothersome insects. The herb can be grown in containers and placed strategically around the home and outdoor gathering spots. Cut a handful of basil and place it on a table or blanket to deter flies and ants during picnics. Some gardening experts recommend using lemon basil or cinnamon basil to garner the best insect repellent results, Natural Living Ideas notes.
  3. Pennyroyal – The plant commonly attracts butterflies while repelling unwanted insects. Pennyroyal makes an attractive and fast-growing ground cover in addition to its pest control attributes.
  4. Lemon Balm – The plant, also known as horsemint and beebalm, is easy to grow even for folks without much of a green thumb. This member of the mint family even does well during drought conditions. It is also known for growing aggressively and taking over the area in which it is planted. Growing lemon balm in a pot instead of the ground might be advisable.
  5. Rosemary – The flowering plant is a delicious herb often added to fish and lamb recipes. While deterring mosquitoes, flies, and other pests, it will also attract butterflies to the backyard.
  6. Bay Leaf – The herb is best grown in a pot that can be taken inside during the winter months unless planted in a region where it stays basically warm year around. If growing bay leaf proves to be too difficult, dried leaves can be purchased in the spice section at the grocery store and merely sprinkled around the patio, porch, or backyard recreation areas to repel flies and other unwanted insects, How Stuff Works notes.
  7. Lavender – The plant grows wonderfully both indoors and out. It can be planted directly into the ground or in containers. Lavender is known to repel a host of flying and crawling insects and often works very well deterring spiders when planted near an entrance to the home.
  8. Catnip – Cats love this plant, but mice, mosquitoes, fleas, and ants hate it. The pests find the smell of catnip extremely repugnant. Dried catnip can be placed in shallow bowls or pans and placed around the exterior of the home or on pantry shelves to deter unwelcome pests.
  9. Dill – the herb is known to deter squash bugs, tomato horn worms, aphids, slugs, and spider mites. Plant dill in a container and place where needed to repel pests and harvest as desired for use in recipes.
  10. Sweet Woodruff – Both beetles and moths prefer to stay far away from this plant. Sweet woodruff has also been successfully used to repel ants. When leaves from the plant are placed beneath a throw rug to deter insects a sweet aroma is released when the rug is walked upon until the cuttings are completely dried out.
  11. Marigolds – The plant boasts a hearty helping of Pyrethrum – a common ingredient found in many insect repellent sprays. Bugs of most varieties find the scent of the plant completely distasteful. Mosquitoes and flies prefer not to fly near or past, marigold plants.
  12. Peppermint – Most humans enjoy the sweet taste and smell of peppermint, but pests do not. If a bug does happen to bite while outdoors, simply pinch off a peppermint leaf and rub it onto the skin to alleviate itching and swelling.
  13. Garlic – Mosquitoes loathe the smell of growing garlic. Plant some garlic in a container and set it right on your picnic table or around the patio to deter unwanted insects from invading during a gathering.
  14. Lemon Thyme – The herb is has shown great success at repelling mosquitoes. According to a Mother Nature Network report, the herb is hardy enough to grow in even dry, shallow, or rocky soil. The leaves of the lemon thyme plant must be “bruised” to release the scent which deters pests. Cut off a few stems from the plant and rub onto the skin to prevent mosquitoes from landing and biting. Crush just a few small leaves to rub onto the skin before regular use to determine if the herb irritates your skin, while not common, use of the bruised leaves might spark an irritating effect on the skin of some users.
  15. Tansy – The herb deters ants, fleas, moths, mice, and flying insects of most varieties. It boasts attractive yellow flowers. Plant tansy into the ground or containers and place them around entrances to the home and its foundation to avoid unwanted bugs and rodents.

Know of any other plants and herbs that help deter pests? Sound off in the comments section below and share your natural gardening tips!

[Featured Image by khlungcenter/Shutterstock]


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