That high pitched buzz like sound a mosquito makes around one’s ears at night can be very irritating and the bites are even worse. Mosquitoes however are not a concern, just a concern to one’s comfort and health. They spread malaria from one person to another and spread the Zika and west Nile virus. Mosquitoes kill more people than any animal or insect per year thereby making them a major concern and as such, they need to be controlled.
With global warming and green living initiatives arising, the use of commercially made bug sprays is elevating environmental problems because of the chemicals used in the sprays. Instead, natural ways such as the use of plants that repel mosquitoes appear to be more admissible. The 11 plants listed below offer protection against mosquitoes without harming the environment or one’s health.
- Lime Basil
Another name for it is hairy basil and the scientific name is ocinum americanum. It is a herbal spicy plant that can be used for culinary purposes and grown in a home garden easily. It does best in sunny climates and soils that are very rich in organic matter.
To repel mosquitoes, just add some sprigs of lime basil in fire. The smoke is what keeps away mosquitoes. When cutting off sprigs from lime basil, some need to be kept so that they can be used for an extended period. It is very effective as a mosquito repellant.
Basil is one of those plants that taste so good in a casserole, but only a few people know that it is an impressive mosquito repellant. The crushed leaves of a basil plant make great repellant and are better rubbed on to your skin before you go to sleep or find yourself in mosquito ridden areas like marshy and damp areas.
Alternatively, for a great mosquito killing bug spray, mix in a bowl a handful of freshly cut basil leaves and half a cup of water. Leave to stand for three hours, squeeze the leaves and put the green water into a spray bottle. You can also blend a mixture of a handful of basil leaves and a quarter cup of water then sieve adding more water. Put the green water in a spray bottle, add half a cup of vodka and shake to mix well. You can apply it by spraying this onto your skin and walls.
The scientific name is citronella winterianus. It is a high reaching clumping grass that is used in making many mosquito repellants. Its scent is so strong that it can effectively mask any mosquito attracting scents in the area. It may be used in many ways such as citronella scented candles but the plant itself has a stronger scent thus more effective.
Usually, it will do well in any non frosted ground but in cold regions of the north, it can be grown in a planter that is kept indoors. It is a low maintenance plant and can be grown in the background behind flowers and herbs. It can also be taken indoors especially the entry points for mosquitoes, but sufficient sunlight is mandatory. This way, it can deter mosquitoes from getting in. If the room is optimally placed to receive sunlight, potted citronella plant can always be placed inside.
Marigolds are actually very versatile in terms of repellant properties because apart from mosquitoes, they keep many bugs away including skeeters. They contain pyrethrum, a compound that repels many bugs and used to make mosquito repellants. They also have an aesthetic beauty as they are used as ornamental border plants.
They just need to be placed in strategic positions around the house like near the doorstep and in the backyard. If you do not have any exposed soil to plant anything, you can plant marigold blooms in small buckets that you can place at your windows and or hang the bucket from the ceiling near the front doorway.
Horsemint can also be called bee balm but the scientific name is Mentha Longifolia. It is a member of the mint family thus has a minty scent. It is this scent that masks the scents of mosquito attractants much like citronella. The reason it is included in this list is its drought resistant properties. It does well in dry and sandy areas and survives salty conditions in the coastal regions.
The added advantage is that it attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden, which can make great herbal tea and as much as great as the tea is for consumption, it can be used as a mosquito repellant spray minus the sugar.
Catnip scientific name is Nepeta cateria. It might come as a surprise that the catnip – the feline friends favor so much, could keep you away from the irritating buzzes and bites of mosquitoes. In fact, it was reported to be about ten times more effective in repelling mosquitoes than DEET which is commercially favored by entomologists at Iowa state university.
The exact reason to its repellant properties is not really known but it is speculated that their scent may be irritating to mosquitoes. Like horsemint, it is a member of the mint family and can grow as a weed in your garden which makes it is easy to grow. It is preferable to crush its leaves and apply them to your skin.
Ageratums are also called floss flowers by some. They produce a chemical called coumarin which is used to make commercial mosquito repellants. In addition, their smell is offensive to mosquito which makes Ageratum a natural mosquito repellant. They are ornamental plants that are easily recognizable by their blue flowers though there are varieties.
Ageratum gives your porch and rock garden aesthetic beauty and can be used indoors as an ornamental plant. They do not require very rich soils and do well both in full and partial sunlight. Ageratum leaves can be crushed to increase the odor emitted but do not try to rub them onto your skin. Instead, the crushed leaves can be put near the bedside or at entry points like the window and doorway at night.
- Lemon Balm
If you have ever smelt the leaves of lemon balm, you will notice that they smell like lemons and mint. Like horsemint and citronella, lemon balm is a member of the mint family and carries the same repellant properties. It is fragrant so it can be kept indoors at entry points to deter entry of mosquitoes.
In the garden, it attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. Note that it can spread fast becoming a weed so it is best to grow it in a pot. Just take a handful of lemon balm leaves, crush them and apply them to your skin to keep mosquitoes off. It is drought resistant and apart from its mosquito repellant properties, it has many healing properties.
Peppermint is yet another member of the mint family included in mosquito repelling. When grown as an indoor potted plant, it gives the home a clean yet minty scent that is pleasant and definitely better than bug spray. It actually does better than most repellants in that it repels mosquitoes and kills their larvae. Larvae exposed to a solution of water and peppermint oil were found to die within twenty four hours of exposure.
One can just crush a few in his or her palm and apply on the exposed parts. The crushing releases the scent and some of the oils. In stagnant pools and ponds which can offer breeding ground, throw in a few crushed peppermint leaves or some peppermint oils. Apart from repelling mosquitoes, peppermint leaves both crushed and fresh can be used in cooking.
Some people just prefer to call them mums. They are great border plants, can be planted in a home garden and look great when potted indoors as long as they get enough sunlight. They have daisy like flowers that are attractive to the eye and make great filler for flowers in vases. They repel a wide range of bugs including mosquitoes, spider mites and ants.
Mosquitoes tend to dislike the smell of mums so they can mask any attractive scents like a human’s to mosquitoes. They are easy to care for, make a great addition to cottage gardens and keep some of the destructive bugs from the plants in the garden.
- Penny royals
By planting penny royals just outside your home, you can easily prevent mosquitoes from breeding and residing in the yard. By keeping a vase of fresh penny royals in your room, you can kill any present mosquitoes and drive off any new coming ones. Crushed stems of penny royals can also be carried in the pockets when one is travelling, off to camping or when one is in mosquito infested areas like woods and ponds to keep them off.