Insect Repellents — not just in a bottle!

It’s only a matter of time.
Mosquitoes are in the news and there is reason for concern.

That’s right, cases of mosquito borne viruses are already documented in this country.  But even without that concern, mosquitoes are just pesky critters that we don’t need around.

There are plenty of repellents on the market, but if you’re concerned about putting pesticides on your body, look to make sure DEET is not one of the ingredients.

In an effort to offer some alternatives, we’re going to focus on plants and things that you can do to reduce the mosquito population and keep them off you!

First…

Mosquitoes LOVE standing water, you know, the kind that just collects? Eliminate Any stagnant water (old tires, buckets, cans, anything that holds water without drainage). This is where they breed.

Second …

Put out the NOT WELCOME mat.  You can do this with plants, believe it or not.  Your landscape or patio doesn’t have to be ugly, nor does it need to smell bad.

Here are some ideas:

Lemon Grass
Ever heard of Citronella? It’s an oil derived from lemon grass.   Treat it as an annual plant – makes a great tall plant for your patio planters.  Great for Asian dishes, too!

Lemon Thyme
Hardy little plant, loves rock gardens. The plant alone won’t repel mosquitoes, but crushing the leaves and rubbing on your hands and forearms will.  (don’t go overboard on this one until you’re sure you won’t have an allergic reaction!)

Marigolds
The smellier the better!  Add some color to those flower beds and containers by tucking a marigold plant here and there.

Basil
Repels flies, too!  Keep a pot by the door to keep the pesky critters outside and a wonderful culinary herb within easy reach for making your favorite summer dishes.

Lavender
Repels a variety of insects, but is best used in essential oil form for repelling mosquitoes.

Peppermint
It’s a mint. (Plant it in a pot so it doesn’t take over the neighborhood!) Its essential oil is also awesome to have on hand.

Rosemary
Mosquitoes HATE Rosemary! Who knew?  Be sure to throw some on the barbeque grill next time, and then toss some more on the hot coals to discourage them from visiting your patio.

Mosquito Plant
(It’s a citronella geranium.)  The blooms are small, pastel in color, and seemingly insignificant.  The fragrance when you crush or rub a leaf, however, is awesome.  These plants are also great in containers around the patio.

Make your own bug spray!

Click here for some recipes that I think are really helpful for homemade sprays that smell wonderful.

For all the sprays and such that you might make or purchase, remember, too, that the simple act of grabbing a few leaves of rosemary, basil, peppermint, or the citronella geranium, bruising them to release the fragrance, and then putting them in your gardening hat as you go about your chores will also help.  (I only use basil like this when there’s fresh mozzarella, a vine ripe tomato, and some virgin olive oil around for a salad after greenhouse chores! Makes me hungry thinking about it!)

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