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6 Plants That Help Control PestsApril 2nd, 2018 by
Spring is an exciting time of year. The end of the school year is in sight, barbeque and boil season begins, and winter clothes are put away. We get to spend more time enjoying the outdoors, but that also means more time around annoying and potentially harmful insects.
If you’re looking for natural pest control methods to deal with nuisance bugs, consider using plants in conjunction with other environmentally friendly methods and treatments.
Some plants are said to have bug-repellent qualities while other plants attract creatures that eat the nuisance insects. Keep reading to learn more about six common plants you can use to help battle your pest problems—some have additional uses, too!
Common Plants for Controlling Pests
Some people claim that basil can repel mosquitoes and flies, so place basil in containers near your patio or by your back and front doors to help keep those party crashers at bay. As a bonus, you’ll have plenty of fresh basil for the kitchen.
Grow basil either in a container with good drainage or in your garden, and place it in a sunny spot. If you live in a cold climate, cover your outdoor basil when temperatures get low, or bring your basil containers inside.
Known for its calming scent, lavender attracts good bugs such as butterflies and bees, and it deters fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, flies, and moths. Some people apply lavender oil to their skin as a natural mosquito repellent. If you have extreme reactions to mosquito bites, though, stick to EPA-registered insect repellents.
Lavender thrives in well-drained soil and full sun, and it can grow in most parts of the US. Don’t overwater these drought-resistant plants. To insulate them from cold winters, put a pile of mulch on lavender plants after a freeze and remove the mulch when temperatures rise in the spring.
Studies have shown oil from catnip to be an efficient mosquito repellent, but this plant also keeps away all sorts of garden pests. You can put dried catnip sachets around your kitchen if the ants come marching in.
Like most other herbs, catnip prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It will tolerate shade and grows well in most of the continental US. Be careful not to overwater.
4. Lemon Thyme
Keep this plant handy in containers near your backyard seating, and you’ll be ready at all times. The oils inside the plant deter pests such as mosquitoes, so it’s key to crush the leaves to get the most benefit.
Thyme likes full sun and dry, hot conditions. It can grow well indoors, if it gets enough sunshine. Make sure your lemon thyme doesn’t sit in damp soil, or else mold and rot will ruin your plant.
Marigolds are said to repel mosquitoes and aphids, and they also attract predatory bugs and butterflies. The Lemon Gem variety is recommended for its ability to attract the good pests.
For best results—the most flowers—plant marigolds in full sun. These flowers are low-maintenance and easy to start from seeds, which make them a fun gardening project for kids, or for adults who lack green thumbs.
6. Native Plants
Native plants attract native and migratory birds, many of which eat harmful insects such as mosquitoes. Native plants also attract beneficial insects. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a great online resource for finding native plants for your area.
Growing these bug-repellent plants in your yard will not guarantee a pest-free space, but you can use them as part of a comprehensive pest control management strategy. Plus, they’ll make your yard look and smell good.
Other DIY, Eco-Friendly Pest Control Strategies
- Remove all sources of standing or slow-moving water. This will prevent mosquitoes from breeding and hanging around your yard.
- Install screens at your front and back entryways and on your windows. Leaving windows and doors open during nice days is refreshing and can improve indoor air quality, but you don’t want to invite pests inside. If any of your existing screens are torn, make sure to replace the screen or patch the hole.
- Install bird feeders and bat houses in your yard to attract these bug-eating creatures.
Call a Pest Control Expert
Keep in mind that DIY methods don’t always resolve a pest problem completely. Pests can be serious business, and your family’s health and safety is important. Contact a pest control professional about environmentally friendly pest control products and treatments. Work with a pest control expert to explore the wide range of options and find solutions that are right for you and your family.