Many things come to mind when we think of growing and using herbs. For example, the delightful fragrance of an aromatic bath with lavender, a scrumptious dish with basil, and the piney scent of rosemary when you're barbecuing. These easy-to-grow plants provide fragrance, flavors to our favorite dishes, look great in our yards, attract pollinators -- the list goes on and on. Turns out these beloved plants can also keep the bugs at bay. Yep, there's a handful of herbs with strong scents that we find pleasant but not the mosquitos and other insects. Try pairing these herbs together in a container near a door or where you gather outdoors. When you're outdoors, to get the maximum effect, simply crush some of the herbs in your hands to release their perfume into the air. It also will help to rub the oils on your skin. Plant these naturally insect-repelling herbs so you can enjoy your outdoors without all the buzz!
Lavender. This gorgeous purple flowering plant provides a soothing, calming scent to humans, but mosquitoes and many other insects don’t like the smell and will stay away.
Basil. Basil is one of the few herbs that give off a scent without the leaves having to be crushed. For a quick, natural repellant take a few leaves and rub them on your skin.
Rosemary. Planning on gathering fireside? Try burning a little rosemary. The fragrant smoke it puts off will smell good to you, but the bugs won't think so.
Catnip. Studies suggest that catnip may be even more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the ingredient used in most commercial bug repellents, which is highly toxic.
Lemon Balm. It contains high levels of a compound called citronellal, which gives it its lemony aroma and flavor that bugs find so unpleasant.
Peppermint. Biting bugs don’t like the scent of peppermint, so you can crush up the leaves and rub it on your skin. This herb provides double-duty too as it acts as itch relief if you do get bitten.
TIP: We also recommend surrounding your patio or deck with containers of lemony-scented geraniums, called Citronella Geraniums. These perennials are often called the "mosquito plant" due to it's strong citronella-like smell.