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Natural Insect Repellent Plants – Keep the Bugs Away from Your House and Garden

Updated on September 20, 2014

The list of natural insect repellent plant is long and includes:

  • Mint
  • Peppermint
  • Catnip
  • Citronella
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Lemon grass
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Basil

Many Have Studies to Back Their Effectiveness

Catnip, mint and peppermint all repel a variety of insects. In a study conducted at Iowa State University, catnip proved to be a good cockroach repellent.

In a study published in the Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health,peppermint (Menta piperita), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oils were mixed with ethyl alcohol and used against houseflies. All formulas killed the houseflies within 24 hours.

When Camping

Some campers will put bundles of sage or rosemary in the campfire to repel mosquitos.

How to Use Natural Insect Repellent Plants

There are several ways to use plants and herbs to keep insects away. You can make an essential oil formula at home, mixing a few drops of oil with water or alcohol. You can make a tea where you boil the herb in water. Once the tea has cooled, you can spray the tea in the area you need to repel insects. You can also keep live herb plants around the house and garden. When planting herbs to repel insects in the garden, you want to mix it up. Instead of clumping all your herbs into one pot or area, plant them around your vegetables and flowers you want to protect.

Plant and Herb Insect Repellents You Can Buy

The popularity of using herbs and essential oils instead of chemicals has led to more choices in what insect repellents you can buy.

This EcoSMART Ant & Roach killer will kill the bugs on contact, but can also be sprayed around the perimeter of your home to repel the bugs. Active ingredients include peppermint oil and rosemary oil. It does have a strong scent, some will like it, but others in your household may find it too strong. As with other oil insect products, the effect is not long lasting. You will need to reapply the spray frequently or the ants, roaches, and other bugs will move right back in.

Safety Concerns

Just because these plants are natural, does not mean they are 100% safe and risk-free for humans. They repel or kill insects because they have a toxic component. You should use herb insect repellents with the same care you would any chemical repellent. Do not put it on your skin as it may cause an allergic reaction, and do not use where children or pets may play and could accidently ingest it.


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