With spring just around the corner, people are anxious to fold up their thick blankets, store away their long coats and spend some good quality time outside enjoying the warmer weather. Not many things can ruin the joy and comfort of a perfect spring day more than bugs buzzing and biting.
Don't let the bugs bring you down, though. You can get into the spirit of spring with some old-fashioned, DIY gardening and grow plants that will help keep the bugs away...or can you?
Are There Plants that Help Repel Mosquitoes?
A mosquito's life mission may not actually be to make your planned night outside an itchy and annoying event, but it sure can seem like it. So homeowners look for all kinds of ways to help repel these pests, including plants that deter bugs.
Citrosa, popularly given the name "mosquito plant," is often thought of by gardeners as a natural mosquito repellent. Citrosa contains citronella oil, which is widely used as a mosquito repellent. However, Citrosa only contains a trace of the oil, which is not enough for it to be an effective repellent.
Lemon thyme is another plant that contains citronella oil.
Are There Plants that Help Repel Beetles?
Beetles may attempt to invade your home in search of food and shelter. These insects, which can vary in size and appearance depending on species, can be a nuisance for homeowners. Some can cause damage to wood or fabric, while others can infest grain products. So it's no wonder why you'd want help keeping these bugs away from your home.
In the world of home gardening, marigolds have been planted by homeowners for decades to help repel insects like beetles. However, there is little to no documentation that supports this plant's success at doing so.
What About Other Plants that Deter Bugs?
There are additional plants that gardeners believe help repel insects, like basil, lavender and chrysanthemums, just to name a few. However, these spices and flowers may only have minimal effectiveness in helping repel insects. They should not be relied on for pest control because they'll probably fall short on the job. And in many cases, like with basil and lavender, it's the oil in the plant that helps keep pests away, rather than the plant itself.
Helpful Insects Are Good to Have Around
This spring when you're outside enjoying the weather and beauty the season brings, remember that though some of these small insects can be big pests, not all of them are bad. In fact, some of them are actually very beneficial to the environment.
There are some bugs that prey on and eat harmful pests, like:
- Ladybugs, who eat several pests that can damage your garden, like aphids and mites.
- Spined solider bugs, who also prey on garden pests, like aphids, as well as moths and spider mites.
- Praying Mantises, who eat pests like mosquitoes, flies and moths.
There are also bugs who are pollinators that fertilize flowers, like:
- Bees, who are said to be responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat.
- Pollen wasps, who look similar to other types of wasps, but are more solitary and prefer to pollinate flowers and plants rather than feed on other insects.
You want to be careful to not deter these insects from your garden.
While gardening is a fun and beneficial hobby that should be encouraged this spring, it should probably not be done as a reliable method to help keep pests away. Instead, garden to grow your own food and show off all of your beautiful flowers to your friends, but leave the pest control to more proven methods.