Things are heating up in the southern hemisphere and no doubt you’ll be wanting to spend some time enjoy your backyard. But if you thought you’d be alone, think again — bugs just love the warmer weather too.
Mosquitoes are obviously a big concern, what with Ross River and Dengue fevers getting about. However, Zika and West Nile viruses are also reasons why people are wary about those things that go ‘buzzzz’.
There are also those critters that make a meal out of your fruits and vegetables, and other crawlies, like flies, that just drain you of patience.
The good news though is that there are plants, herbs and flowers, that will rid the backyard of bugs and add a touch of beauty for you to enjoy.
Not only does basil taste great, it doubles as a bug repellent. Its strong smell keeps the mosquitoes away, and if you put basil near your outdoor setting you might not have to worry about the flies either.
While cats love it, mossies won’t come near it. Some studies show catnip is 10 times more effective than the chemical found in most commercial insect repellents. If you rub catnip leaves onto your skin you might find the bugs will be kept at bay, but your neighbour’s cat might make it way into your arms.
When you think garlic you probably think of its use to stave off vampires, but another blood-sucker — the mosquito — also detests it. Planting garlic around the garden will also keep other insects and bugs away.
Almost the only insects to like lavender are bees, and even then they’re only interested in the flowers. The subtle scent of lavender comes from the essential oils secreted by the leaves and bugs hate it. If you have an issue with bugs inside the house, try having some lavender in pots indoors and if you want to rid moths from your clothes, have some dried lavender in your drawers and cupboards.
Lemongrass contains citronella, which is a common natural ingredient in many mossie repellents. The plant is even more efficient in deterring mosquitoes than a citronella candle or stick because it has a much stronger smell.
The flowers are a burst of brightness that make your backyard a bloomin’ good place to be, but in addition to looking pretty marigolds also have a distinctive smell that mosquitoes and garden pests really don’t like. Marigolds are companion plants for some vegetables because they can repel bugs, so if you plant it near tomatoes, melons and squash you’ll yield a better crop.
Like basil, mint smells good and makes a good addition to a meal. That said, ants, mice and mosquitoes really don’t like mint. Hate it in fact.
The licorice-like scent of petunias is enough to turn off many an insect including aphids, hornworms and squash bugs. The only downside with petunias is that other garden bugs like slugs and caterpillars are attracted to the funnel-shaped plant.
Not just for cooking, rosemary will drive flies and mosquitoes away. It is also a smell that repels other insects and creepy crawlies including cabbage moths.
Surrounding yourself and your garden with a few of these plants will keep the bugs at bay.