Summer means it’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends and family over for a barbecue but it also means you’ll probably see some unexpected guests as well those pesky bugs and insects. While you can always cover yourself and your guests in bug spray, you could take a more natural approach by planting insect repelling plants around your yard.
Mike LaFollette is a master gardener and has had plenty of first-hand experience with mosquitos that has taught him the tips and tricks to keeping your yard pest-free.
“My wife actually gets bitten a lot more than I do but we’ve worked hard to keep out yard free of mosquitos, so, you know, making sure there’s no standing water and then investing in some mosquito-repelling plants can really help.", said LaFollette.
There are many plants that naturally repel bugs, even one that was named because of it.
“There are several plants that work well to help keep mosquitos out of your yards. Probably the best would be lemongrass and citronella. There’s also a plant called the mosquito plant which is actually a type of geranium but it also has citronella in it and those would probably be the most effective.” LaFollette said.
“If you’re limited on space, many bug repelling plants like basil, rosemary and mint do well in pots as well as in larger garden spaces.”, said Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks.
It’s not just what plants you’re using that’s important to repel bugs from you and your family but also where these plants are growing.
“if you have bug-repelling plants you really want them to be near where you’re going to be spending time in your yard. So typically, you’re going to be sitting on your patio so you’d want them in pots nearby because they’re not going to be effective if you have them across your yard in a garden somewhere so most likely just keep them nearby where you’re going to spend the most time.”, said LaFollette.
While these plants can be your best defense against unruly pests, some of them, like citronella, can be dangerous if ingested by your pets or kids.
“If you want to ensure that these plants are safe for your pets and children, the best thing to do is to go online and search for a reputable site, typically something that’s from a university or government site, there are plenty out there and they have good information about what’s safe for your yard.” said Lafollette.
If you still don’t know where to start, Angie says to talk to your local nursery or landscaping pro for some tips and advice on how else you can naturally keep bugs at bay and they can also advise you on what plants are safe for your family.