Outdoor entertaining is one of the best parts of summer, but nothing puts a damper on a backyard barbecue like swarms of mosquitoes biting your ankles. These tiny bugs aren’t just a nuisance—they can carry harmful illnesses, as well, and many people suffer from significant allergic reactions when bitten. To keep these unwanted visitors from crashing your next party, consider mosquito-proofing your yard with these tried and true techniques:
Fill Your Garden with Plants that Keep Mosquitoes Away
While aerosol mosquito repellents work fairly well, they’re loaded with harsh chemicals like DEET, and coating your skin with it repeatedly isn’t exactly good for your health. Instead, you can plant a garden full of anti-mosquito plants that produce fragrances we love, but which skeeters can’t stand. Here are our top picks for mosquito repellant plants:
Marigolds: This sunny golden blossom seems to be the enemy of all our least-favorite garden dwelling pests. The Lemon Gem variety is particularly good at keeping biting bugs at bay because, as you can probably guess, the lemon smell is not their fave. Marigolds contain a natural compound called pyrethrum which is often extracted and used in natural bug repellent sprays.
Catnip: This herb is commonly known for making cats a little loopy, but it turns out that the active ingredient nepetalactone, which gives it its signature scent, is a highly effective all natural mosquito repellent. Grind up some catnip and sprinkle it all around the perimeter of your yard for protection against the bugs, but don’t be surprised if some feline visitors drop by! You can even mix catnip into a solution with isopropyl alcohol or vinegar and use that as a natural bug spray.
Basil: This delicious herb isn’t just great for Italian cooking— it’s a spectacular pest repellant, too! It contains four different natural compounds that mosquitoes can’t stand, so plant a bunch of these fragrant herbs in the garden for a summer full of Margherita pizzas and Caprese salads, with no mosquitoes to spoil the night.
Peppermint: Like basil, the scent of this tasty herb isn’t appealing the mosquitoes and many other garden pests. An added bonus is it can soothe bug bites in the event that you do sustain a few. Just crush up a leaf and rub it on the bite for some cooling itch-relief.
Lavender: The dreamy, calming scent of lavender has made it a popular medicinal herb, and its tall clusters of purple blossoms are absolutely gorgeous in any garden. Line some lavender along borders and fences, and mosquitoes won’t be inclined to stop by.
Extra Tips for Keeping Mosquitoes Out:
- Avoid keeping small pools of water outside. Decorative ponds or even shallow kiddie pools full of water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Try to eliminate any stagnant water sitting in your yard, and mosquito populations will dwindle. Replace birdbath water at least once a week.
- Grab some citronella products. Candles, coils, and even pet collars can be infused with that pungent lemony oil that sends mosquitoes packing.
- Attract mosquito predators. Lots of birds love to feast on mosquitoes. Set up some birdhouses to make them feel welcome, and they’ll return the favor by feasting on pesky bugs.
- Add bat boxes to your garden. The nighttime visitors love to feast on those buzzing pests!
With such a gorgeous variety of flowers, plants, and herbs that repel mosquitoes, a garden full of these natural bug repellents is just as beautiful as it would be functional. Visit our garden center today to stock up on some of these fabulous fragrant plants for a bite-free backyard!