Summertime offers plenty of warm weather, sunshine, and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, however, the same conditions that bring people outside also give biting, crawling, and flying insects what they need to increase their populations and become a problem. If you are concerned about troublesome insects and would like find ways to discourage them from your home and lawn, it may be time to consider adding plants with natural insect repellent qualities.
The science behind plants capable of repelling insects
Some insects, especially the ones that love to feast on humans and pets are able to detect odors and scents and use this ability to find their next meal or avoid danger. Odors that emanate from the body, including sweat are particularly inviting to insects like mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and some types of stinging insects, such as hornets and sweat bees.
This is why introducing other scents into the area can deter many of these troublesome insects, especially when the new scent masks the human smells, effectively discouraging insect activity. While insect sprays containing deet use this type of quality to deter insects, those who prefer a more natural method can opt to grow certain plants in their yards, on porches and patios, and inside the home.
Three easy-to-grow plants that repel insects
Although plants that repel insects work hard, most still make beautiful, wonderfully scented additions to the home and lawn. Some good examples and the types of insects they are known to repel are included here:
Good for you, but bad for mosquitoes and their lavae, this delicious herb can be grown easily in containers or window boxes, or sown directly into flowerbeds near porches, patios, and outdoor living areas.
Mint, including peppermint and spearmint
Strongly scented mints, such as peppermint and spearmint naturally repel many types of biting and flying insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas. Even better, cuttings from these mint varieties can be steeped into a tea for use as a non-chemical insect repellent spray.
Peppermint can also be used in an oil form that can be applied to cracks and crevices where spiders may enter the home, effectively warding them away. Although the scent can last for several days, it is best to reapply it regularly for the best repellent effect. Because any variety of mint can create a burning feeling when applied to bare skin, always use protective gloves when working with large quantities of the mint or any mint oils you make.
A powerhouse with insect repellent properties for several of most common pests, lavender is an easy-to-grow flower that offers tall stems full of beautiful – and pleasingly scented – blossoms. Simply crushing a few lavender plants in your hand and then rubbing them on exposed skin will release the plant's oils and help to repel many types of flying pests, especially house flies, moths, and mosquitoes.
To make an economical, naturally repellent spray that can be used indoors or out, or even lightly spritzed onto a pet's fur, crush several stems of lavender flowers in a large saucepan, cover with boiling water, and allow to steep overnight. Apply as a light mist, using a small household spray bottle, for best results.
To keep houseflies from gathering on kitchen window screens, mist the screen thoroughly each day with the lavender tea.
While many types of plants offer insect repellent qualities, they are best used for occasional pest control. Pest infestations that are large or those that do not respond to other home pest control attempts should always be directed to a reputable pest control specialist in your area. In addition to traditional pest control treatments, many now offer more natural options to cure pest infestations and continue repelling them from your home or yard. If the natural methods aren't working for you, however, visit a site like http://www.albemarlepestsolutions.com to get more information.