Nobody ever put mosquitoes on the list of beneficial insects and this year there seem to be more than ever. We were encouraged by the recent studies that have shown that some herbs have another aspect to them, repelling mosquitoes! This is awesome news, by adding some to the patio or balcony pots you can entertain with a few less flying around. Planting some mixed into the garden bed discourages them from breeding in your yard.
Catnip: Growing as an attractive perennial in a sunny spot it's also very easy to grow. Cats may find catnip irresistible, but with mosquitoes, it's quite the opposite - they avoid it at all costs. The oil in the leaves has been found to be very effective to repel them when crushed and applied to the skin.
Basil: One of the most popular green leafy herbs is one plant you don't need green fingers to grow. They grow in semi-shade to sun and will grow in almost any soil conditions. The more you harvest the more compact it grows!Studies have shown basil extract to be highly toxic to mosquito larvae. Consider planting some near your water features to potentially deter adults from laying eggs there.
Citronella Grass: If you've heard of or used citronella oil, this is the plant it's derived from. Citronella oil is very effective as a repellent. Grow it along a pathway where one can brush up against it to release the fragrance. It can also safely be reapplied to your skin or clothing to enjoy extended pest-free time outdoors.
Lemon Balm: Grow some in a sun to half sun spot near the patio. The natural compounds in lemon balm can also be used to repel mosquitoes. Interestingly, researchers have found an extract containing both lemon balm and basil to be extremely toxic to adult mosquitoes; they would die whether they inhaled it or came into direct contact with it.
Rosemary: It may be a great herb to cook with but mosquitoes would rather avoid it. Rosemary can be tossed in a campfire or the braai for an aromatic insect repellent. If you don't mind smelling like a lamb chop :-) its oils can be applied to the skin.
Try these and let us now
The list continues with some of our most popular herbs. Fragrance seems to be the common denominator. Here are some of the others that we want to try:
- Bay Leaf