By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Grow your own insect repellent
Keep Liberty Beautiful
Keep Liberty Beautiful logo

I had three bug run-ins this week. Today I was attacked by fire ants and my foot is swollen. A couple of days ago, I was attacked by sand gnats in our yard. Last night I was attacked by mosquitoes while walking my dog, Munson.

It is February! What are these bugs thinking? Could they at least wait until spring?

Anyway, it’s time for action because who knows what the bugs will be like this spring.

I have a number of health problems that are exacerbated by chemicals and other toxins. I try to avoid any chemicals and artificial ingredients. So, I use as many natural options as I can for cleaning, yard work and bug sprays.

First: counterattack flying creatures. To control mosquitos and other flying pests start digging. There are a number of plants that are natural bug repellents. Several can be used to whip up bug spray. And the herbs are edible. These are some versatile plants and they look pretty, too. Another selling point: most of them are easy to grow.

As you choose plants, consider where you want them. If possible, put them where they will make the most impact — at doorways, near windows and near outdoor seating.

Basil is a great plant for cooking and for making bug repellent. Here’s one recipe for a quick mosquito repellent made with dried basil: Steep a cup of dried basil in 1/2 cup of filtered boiling water. You can use a tea ball to steep the basil. Add in a little basil essential oil and about ½ cup of alcohol that is safe for the skin.

Catnip is also considered a mosquito repellent. I have never tried it. I was afraid I might start meowing and licking my paws.

Citronella is another option. Why buy citronella candles when you can pot a few of these plants in outdoor seating areas.

Garlic is also a possibility. You can actually blend the bulbs with water, and then water other plants with it to help repel insects.

Lemon balm is a wonderfully fragrant plant that can keep mosquitoes away. It is also, of course, much more appealing than garlic and citronella.

Rosemary, another fragrant cooking herb, will grow as a bush. You can boil a cup of dried rosemary in a quart of filtered water for 20 minutes. Then strain it into another quart of filtered water. Pour into individual spray bottles to use when going outside where mosquitoes lurk. Store unused portions in the fridge.

Several flowering plants, like geraniums, lavender, and marigolds are evidently not pleasant for bugs. They make a great choice for patio and deck gardens. Bug fighters and pretty, too.

Mint plants are not only delicious dessert garnishes, they also repel mosquitoes. Bugs hate the smell and flavor of mint. Now, that I think of it, so does my husband. Thankfully, mint is easy to grow. So you can also use it for mojitos.

Make sure you plant it in a container or confined area because it spreads rapidly.

This is a great time to start prepping your patio or deck with plants that will work for you in the fight against pests. Now I need to work on a plan for those ants.

For more information on natural gardening, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880 4888 or

Sign up for our e-newsletters