While you should welcome some insects to your gardens — remember those pollinators? — there are other pests that are less welcome.
Among those are the scourge of the summer months, the mosquito.
What are Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes cause the most deaths of any other animal taxonomy per year, killing more than 700,000 people annually. Mosquitoes feed on the blood of host animals, including humans, and transfer pathogens from host to host.
Diseases such as malaria, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, dengue fever and others are spread from mosquito bites. In humans, mosquitoes appear to prefer people with type O blood, heavy breathers and pregnant women.
Most mosquitoes feed during dawn or dusk and rest during the heat of the day.
There are a host of mosquito repellents on the market. Candles, bracelets, sprays, zappers, they all work, usually with some chemical help. But there’s also a natural way to go.
Many plants will help keep mosquitoes from invading your space. Here’s a list of plants with mosquito-repellent properties to help keep your garden pest-free this summer.
• Lavender and marigolds. These flowering plants emit a smell that deters mosquitoes. You can grow both of these in pots and they give you gorgeous blooms to boot.
• Citronella. You may be familiar with the citronella candles, but those things get their distinctive smell from the citronella plant. It and other lemon-scented plants repel mosquitoes.
• Rosemary, basil and sage. These kitchen herbs also keep mosquitoes and other pests away from your home. Both do well in containers or in the ground.
• Bee balm. This pollinator-friendly plant also keeps mosquitoes away. Crush the leaves to release the repellent oils.
• Allium. These bulbs are the family that brings you garlic and onions. They release a strong smell that mosquitoes don’t like.
What Else Can You Do?
While making the environment inhospitable to mosquitoes is a great way to keep them away, you also need to make sure you aren’t doing them any favors. Eliminate standing water as much as possible and treat pools and ponds to keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs there.