If you live in a warm, moist area that contains lots of swamps and other small, non-moving bodies of water then you know how annoying it can be to live with mosquitoes. They cause red, itchy bumps to form wherever they bite you, and are also one of the main contributors to the spread of deadly diseases.
To keep mosquitoes at bay, many people use DEET-based insect repellents and, although these repellents are effective at keep mosquitoes away, they come with a variety of harmful and even deadly side effects. Thankfully, there are a variety of readily available mosquito repelling plants that you can use to keep those pests away just by having them in your house!
Health Risks of Mosquito Repellents
Most mainstream insect repellents contain an active ingredient called DEET, which has the chemical name N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. DEET was first used by the U.S. army as a pesticide for jungle warfare during World War II and the Vietnam War due to its effectiveness at killing plant matter. It was registered for public use in 1957 and is used in hundreds of products throughout North America.
DEET is known to cause minor side effects such as rashes and other irritation of the skin and eyes. However, there have also been many reports of more harmful and sometimes even deadly side effects caused by the use of DEET.
A 2013 analysis of 4000 calls to poison control centers that were related to DEET exposure found that 450 people required medical treatment after applying DEET. Two of them died. Most of the side effects reported to be caused by DEET in this situation include seizures, slurred speech and comas. Many experts have urged children, seniors and those with weak immune systems to use DEET with extra caution, if not avoid it completely.
Although these DEET-based insect repellents may be effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay, they can cause a variety of health problems that are likely worse than anything the average mosquito will give you.
Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Naturally
Plants have proven to be an effective replacement for mosquito repellents, whether they are DEET-based or not. This is because even natural repellents wear off between half an hour to an hour after they are applied. If you keep plants around that give off scents that naturally repel mosquitoes, you don’t have to worry about reapplying repellent ten times a day. Here are the best plants that repel mosquitoes naturally:
Marigolds. A very popular and common flower, marigolds can be usually found in flower beds during the summer months. Although they are not well-known for their mosquito repelling capabilities, many gardeners plant them to repel mosquitoes while they work as well as other pesty-insects.
Citronella grass. This is a plant that is commonly used in natural insect repellents for its essential oil. Citronella grass can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions if it comes in contact with skin, so make sure to always wear protective gloves when handling it. It can also grow up to six feet tall, so it is recommended that you plant it outside near the front porch or in your backyard.
Lavender. Lavender is well-known for producing a scent that repels mosquitoes and attracts humans. It is also very aesthetically pleasing, making it a great ornament that can be easily grown indoors.
Lemon Balm. This plant also goes by the name of horsemint and gives off an incredibly strong, incense-like odor that is similar to citronella grass. However, unlike citronella grass, it can be grown indoors and does not repel insects such as bees or butterflies.
Basil. Basil is an herb that is already well-known for being able to repel mosquitoes and can give off an incredibly strong smell without its leaves having to be crushed or rubbed. There are many different varieties of basil that have mosquitoe repelling properties, however the most effective ones are lemon basil and cinnamon basil.
You can plant these natural insect repellers in or around your home for permanent and safe protection from those pesky mosquitoes. Let us know in the comments if these plants helped you keep your bug problem at bay, or if there are any plants we missed that have worked for you in the past.