Sure, there are beneficial bugs for your garden, but there are plenty of bugs you want to be rid of. Pesticides are dangerous – especially if you have children or pets – and aren’t always one-hundred percent effective. They’re also a bit on the expensive side, and need to be reapplied on a consistent basis to keep the pests away. Plants, on the other hand, are renewable, not dangerous to your loved ones, and can be just as effective as pesticides without the nasty, environmentally harmful side effects. Here are six plants that are great for pest control, and the little buggers they will be effective against.
The workhorse of pest-control plants
A number of varieties of mint are effective against different pests – spearmint, lemon mint, and peppermint can all repel bugs and mammals you want to stay away from your garden. Lemon mint is probably the best bet – it will ward off mosquitoes, with no grinding necessary. Ants and mice can also be driven off by mint oils, applied around the house. Best of all, it makes a great additive to teas.
It’s hard to imagine that a plant that is so ornamental and so attractive to the nose of humans can also be so effective at driving bugs away from your home and garden. Fleas, moths, and mosquitoes all dislike this flower greatly, while humans enjoy their scent. They can also be used in essential oils for cleaning and cooking.
A highly aromatic, shrubby plant, southernwood’s uses have been noted for centuries. The french call is garde robe, as having sprigs of it within a wardrobe will repel moths. It can be used elsewhere to repel other pest and bugs, such as flies and mosquitoes. On top of its insect-repellent properties, it is also an ingredient in vinegars and potpourri.
We know of the many benefits this herb has for humans when consumed – along with its great taste. While it might not be the best thing to chow down on before a date, the good news is that the object of your affection might not be the only thing deterred by the plant. Aphids, Japanese beetles, plum curculios and mites are all put off by garlic, so if you love your Italian cooking as much as your garden, this would be a great choice to plant.
These pretty flowers go beyond simply repelling insects, they can be outright deadly – the earliest pesticides were made of crushed, dried mums. Chemicals in mums attack the nervous systems of insects, and they can inhibit female mosquitoes to keep them from biting. In whole flower form, these act simply as repellent, keeping away a vast number of species from roaches, to Japanese beetles, to ants. They are a true all-purpose garden repellent, as well as being an attractive decorative flower.