Plants That Repel Pests, Bugs, and Insects Naturally

Updated on April 6, 2016

Basil

Basil
Basil | Source

Natural repellents

Pests, insects and bugs are part of nature. Some of them like house flies and mosquitoes carry disease causing germs. Some like termites destroy property. Some like mosquitoes and bed bugs annoy people, suck their blood and spoil their sleep. Some like thunderflies and corn borer destroy crops.

Many commercial repellants are available in the market. Unfortunately they are loaded with chemicals that can harm to human beings. It is advisable to find ways to repel harmful insects, bugs and pests.

Here is a brief overview of some plants that repel bugs, insects and pests.

Neem repels locusts. Extracts of neem leaves and neem fruits repel more than 200 species of mites, worms and insects. Oregano repels cabbage butterflies. Parsley keeps carrot flies and rose beetles at bay.

Lemongrass is an excellent natural mosquito repellent. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. It is considered sacred by Hindus. This fragrant plant grows in many climates. Fresh basil is delicious in salads.

It is a good idea to plant basil next to the doors. You may also plant basil in containers and keep them by your picnic table or on your patio. Mosquitoes and flies hate basil to the core. Basil also repels whiteflies, aphids and hornworms.

Mint is well-known for its amazing aroma. It repels fleas, flies, rats, white cabbage moths, ants and mice. Mountain mint keeps ticks and chiggers away. Disceranda frutescens, a type of mint, is very effective against many insects.

It is advisable to plant mint around the foundation of the house as it protects your house from mice and ants. Catnip and pennyroyal also have similar effect. It is advisable to place shallow bowls of dried mint leaves in the pantry. This keeps mice away.

Wormwood repels intestinal worm, moths, earwigs, mice, flies and slugs. It is advisable to grow wormwood near cabbage. It deters cabbage moth. Wormwood also repels fruit tree moth. Boughs of wormwood between rows of carrots and onions deter flies.

Fleas, flies, ants, mice, gnats and mosquitoes hate pennyroyal. You may consider placing dried pennyroyal on your pantry shelves. This repels ants. Pennyroyal has proved its effectiveness as an insect repellant. Nicotiana is an excellent trap for gnats, aphids and white flies.

Bay leaves repel pantry insects like moths, weevils, cockroaches, ants and flies. They hate the fragrance emanating from bay leaves. Bay leaves also keep caterpillars and grubs at bay.

It is advisable to place bay leaves in contains of rice, flour and other dry materials. In fact one bay leaf in 50 pounds of wheat berries effectively keeps weevils away. Bay leaves protect barley, cornmeal, oatmeal, quinoa and rice.

You may tape bay leaves inside cupboards and shelves; or you may scatter a few leaves on the pantry shelves. This has proved effective in many homes all over the world. However, the leaves have to be replaced every few months. It is a good idea to use dry bay leaves instead of moth balls. Dried leaves can be folded into clothing.

Bay leaf can be grown outside in the summer. However, you will need to bring them indoors during winter. Otherwise they will perish. Dried bay leaves are available in the market.

Geraniums repel a wide variety of insects like Japanese beetles and mosquiteos. Their flowers also add color to your garden. Catnip keeps mosquitoes and flies at bay. It is 10 times more effective than DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET is used in many insect repellents. Pyrethrum chrysanthemums repel lice, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants and silverfish.

Rue keeps fleas and Japanese beetles away. Tansy repels mosquitoes, moths, flies, mice, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs and mice. It is advisable to grow tansy around doorways. Flowers of this herb resemble marigold. Feverfew is an excellent insect repellent. This is due to pyrethrin in feverfew.

Lavender is well-known all over the world for its wonderful aroma. It repels moths, silverfish, mosquitoes, fleas and flies. It is advisable to keep lavender sachets in the wardrobe. You may grind it into powder and sprinkle the power on your pet’s bedding.

It is a good idea to hang a bundle of lavender in your closet. Grow lavender in containers on your patio. People grow lavender in their kitchen garden as it protects spinach and lettuce from rabbits.

Santolina (commonly known as cotton lavender) is the best insect repellent among lavenders. It is usually mixed with English lavender. It is advisable to use lavender buds in cooking. Savory deters bean beetles.

Creeping lemon thyme repels mosquitoes and other insects and pests. It also prevents musty odors. Sage repels many garden bugs like moths, ants, slugs, sticks, carrot flies and cabbage moths that are known to destroy vegetable garden.

Rosemary repels lice, moths, carrot flies, mosquitoes, sliver fish and bean beetles. Both fresh and dried rosemary are effective. It is advisable to plant rosemary around your patio. It keeps the air fresh.

Sweet woodruff repels moths and carpet beetles. It is a good idea to place it beneath carpets. It emits sweet aroma and also keeps ants at bay. Chives repel garden pests like aphids, flea beetles and ants. It prevents apple scab and black spot in roses. It is an excellent trap plant for aphids. It also controls Japanese beetles. It is easy to grow and maintain chives.

Onions repel ants, aphids, flea beetles, carrot flies and mosquitoes. Garlic is a powerful and natural insect repellent that repels many flying and crawling insects like mosquitoes, onion flies, Japanese beetles, grubs, black flies, weevils, aphids and red spider mites. Borage repels insects that feed on tomatoes. Radish repels cucumber beetles.

Celery is found to be effective against garden pests like white cabbage moths. Potatoes repel Mexican bean beetles and beans repel Colorado potato beetles. It is advisable to grow beans and potatoes close together. But they should not be interplanted.

Marigolds repel many garden pests like tomato hornworms, whiteflies, cucumber beetles, bean beetles, asparagus beetles and nematodes. They are easy to grow and maintain and add to the beauty of your garden.

Nasturtium is an annual edible flower. It repels whiteflies and squash bugs. Anise repels slugs, snails and aphids. Mixture of two tablespoons of red pepper and six drops of dishwashing soap keep ants away from the kitchen. Sprinkle this mixture at entry points and on ant trails.

Coriander repels red spider mites, moths and aphids. Dill keeps carrot fly and cabbage moth at bay. Eucalyptus keeps cockroaches away. Lemon verbena repels flies and midges. Nettle controls black flies.

Yarrow repels pests like ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. Fennel controls aphids, slugs, snails and spider mites. Marjoram repels whiteflies. Tomatoes keep cabbage worm away. Nicandra traps aphids, gnats and white flies. Flax repels Colorado potato beetles.

It is always advisable to use the above-mentioned plants to repel insects, pests and bugs. It is a natural way and a safe way to keep them at bay.

French marigold

French marigold
French marigold | Source

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Neem

Neem
Neem | Source

Questions & Answers

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      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        7 months ago

        To the best of my knowledge, termites hate catnip and vetiver grass.

      • profile image

        Gary Danjou 

        7 months ago

        What plant fragrance is good to stop termites??

      • profile image

        Cinfy 

        11 months ago

        I raise Monarchs in the summer and want to keep predators off the milkweed.

        What can you recommend that won't also repel the adult female from laying eggs on the milkweed?

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        15 months ago

        Welcome.

      • profile image

        tay gray 

        15 months ago

        Very helpful information. Thank you.

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        18 months ago

        Tomato leaf spray and garlic oil spray are effective against aphids.

      • profile image

        Colin Peckham 

        18 months ago

        I have two problems in my very narrow shaded garden beds.

        1. I get lots of aphids on my climbers, and ants travel up to get and harvest them. I would like to plant something underneath the climbers that would deter them, but its very shady at ground level, and the aphids are often at high level. Most plant deterrents appear to be sun loving herbs, so is there anything else I could use.

        2. Ants: I am using diatamaceous earth which they dont like as well as taping the base of things and putting vaseline on it, and this seems the best way to stop them climbing up plants and structures.

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        20 months ago

        Yes. Also try camphor plant, sweet pea, lavender, daffodils and catnip.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        20 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        I was happy to have seen this hub. I plant mint and basil and love them in food but did not realize they are good for repelling insects. Do you have to put a lot of mint to repel mice?

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        20 months ago

        Hi Joyce! If none of the remedies I have mentioned work, it is advisable to contact an expert locally.

      • profile image

        Joyce 

        20 months ago

        I fail in my attempt at organic gardening for the past two years. This is due to the fact, I have a infestation of Japanese beetles and aphids and spider mites. I have used milky spore for 2 years straight with only a small different with population of beetles. The aphids and spider mites have been resistance to even chemical pesticides. How can I get rid or keep these pest at bay?

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        2 years ago

        Welcome!

      • profile image

        Alicia 

        2 years ago

        Great info, thanks for sharing!

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        2 years ago

        Put up chicken wire.

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        2 years ago

        Put up chicken wire.

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        2 years ago

        Put up chicken wire.

      • profile image

        Hlalani 

        2 years ago

        how do i keep my neighbors's chickens away from my garden. how do i get dogs to stop relieving themselves in my garden. are there natural herbs that can be used?

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        2 years ago

        If you can manage to grow them indoors, if you have space, light, etc, nothing like it. You just need to ensure their good health.

      • profile image

        CLD 

        2 years ago

        I have raised beds for my garden, do I have to grow these things inside or can I place additional pots around the boxes or sprinkle the herbs on the garden? What is best?

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        2 years ago

        Well, the fact is carpet beetles hate sweet woodruff. They run away from this flowering perennial plant.

      • profile image

        Donna 

        2 years ago

        I've just seen a site showing carpet beetles feeding off the sweet woodruff plant, with statements by other people saying they've found this also. Your site says sweet woodruff repels them though! I'm not sure what's correct now - please help. Thanks.

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        3 years ago

        Basil is effective against most of these.

      • profile image

        Howard 

        3 years ago

        In your introductory paragraph Srirad you mention Thunderflies (in the UK) but not which plant is the best deterrent. Can you offer more advice please? I have a problem with them crawling into my large computer monitor behind the clear and then dying inside to remain there forever...! Very annoying...! So I will need to place around the monitor whatever plant you suggest, is that practical?

      • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

        Srikanth R 

        4 years ago

        I am glad that the hub was useful.

      • Lizolivia profile image

        Lizolivia 

        4 years ago from Central USA

        Very useful information. I grow many of these plants in the garden such as coriander, marigold, thyme, basil, rosemary, nasturtium, chives and mint. I didn't know about bay leaves repelling weevils in dry grains and the red pepper with dish liquid mixture to repel ants. Thanks for the helpful tips.

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