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Keep Liberty County Beautiful: It’s time to prepare for the battle of the bugs
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

By Dr. Karen Bell, Keep Liberty Beautiful.

There always comes a time when you have to say goodbye. It could be to a family member leaving after a visit. It could be to a friend after spending time together, or it could be to a coworker who is starting the next chapter in his or her life.

Well, Team KLB has had to say goodbye to Mrs. Theresa Rapolla, the program assistant. Theresa was a great asset to Keep Liberty Beautiful and our community. Her skills and professionalism helped KLB succeed in our events, social media, and programs. 

We will miss her at KLB, but she did not go far, and we hope she will still have the opportunity to volunteer with us, along with her family, who adopted a road. Good Luck, Theresa, and much success at your new job. 

Also, as we say goodbye to the cold weather and welcome some warmer days, it comes with a price. As the weather gets warmer, the bugs come out to play.

 As we plan to plant trees in the coming weeks, you may want to start thinking about what to grow in your garden to say goodbye to the bugs. I know it’s February, but it is time to take action now, because who knows what the bug life will be like when it really is spring and summer?

 If you want to control mosquitos and other flying pests, it might be time to start digging in the dirt! There are a variety of plants that you can add to your landscape as natural bug repellents. Several can even be used to whip up your own little bug spray! And on top of that, the herbs are edible. These are some versatile plants, and they look pretty, too. And here is one more selling point: Most of them are very easy to grow.

As you choose which plants are right for you, consider where you want to place them. If possible, put them where they will make the most impact, like at doorways, near windows, and near outdoor seating. Now is a great time to plant many of these.

• Basil is an excellent plant for cooking and making your own bug repellent. I will let you pick your own recipes, but a quick natural mosquito repellent is made with dried basil.

Steep a cup of dried basil in ½ cup of filtered boiling water, sort of like you would to make tea. In fact, you can actually use a tea ball for steeping the basil. Then add in a bit of basil essential oil and about ½ cup of alcohol that is safe for the skin.

• Citronella is a great plant that can save you money. Why buy citronella candles when you can pot a few of these plants in outdoor seating areas?

• Garlic plants are also a possibility. You can actually blend the bulbs with water and water other plants with the mixture to help repel insects.

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

• Rosemary is also a fragrant cooking herb that can be grown as a bush in your yard. For bug repellent, you can boil a cup of dried rosemary in a quart of filtered water for 20 minutes. Then just strain it into another quart of filtered water. Pour into individual spray bottles to use when going outside where mosquitoes lurk. Be sure to store unused portions in the fridge.

• Geraniums, lavender and marigolds, which are flowering plants, are unpleasant for bugs. They make an excellent choice for patio and deck gardens.

• Mint plants are not only delicious and fragrant dessert garnishes, but they can also be excellent mosquito repellent. Bugs hate the smell and the flavor of them. Mint is easy to grow. Make sure that you plant it in a container or confined area because it grows and spreads rapidly.

This is a great time to start prepping your patio or deck area with plants that will work for you in the ongoing fight against flying pests. For more information, give Keep Liberty Beautiful a call at (912) 880-4888 or email us at klcb@

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