Ah, mosquitoes: bane of summer evenings. The winged, whining horde. The ubiquitous bloodsuckers.
Whether for fear of diseases such as West Nile or Zika virus or simply because of their infuriatingly itchy bites (set off by the mosquito’s saliva, incidentally), many homeowners want to take the matter into their own hands. Sure, you can try drenching yourself in DEET or some other chemical repellent. It’s not the most pleasant task, however, given the choking odor, heavy feel, and occasional dermatological irritation that can result from such dousing. Larger-scale spraying of insecticides comes with its own environmental and health concerns.
One potential, eco-friendly alternative is to populate your garden or yard with plants containing naturally mosquito-repellent compounds. This way you’re beautifying your property while also handily arming yourself against the flying parasites.
There aren’t many more appealing choices for mosquito-repelling plants than basil. For one thing, some evidence suggests basil planted in containers and placed near doors, windows, and other entryways as well as around outdoor entertaining areas will keep “skeeters” at bay to some extent–even if you’re not crushing the leaves and applying the oil to your skin. But also, and not insignificantly, basil’s a vital anchor to any culinary herb garden: Throw those leaves on some pizza or pasta, and you’ve got some truly lip-smacking pest repellent to take dinner into heavenly territory.
Lavender’s another attractive option, given its aroma manages to be as pleasant to human beings as it is disagreeable to mosquitoes. Besides merely planting the herb, you can also apply extracted lavender to your skin for more front-guard-style mosquito repellent.
Marigolds aren’t just said to turn off mosquitoes: These beloved flowers also apparently ward away a whole rogue’s gallery of other insects offensive to human beings, not to mention rabbits.
Lemongrass provides the source of citronella oil, that popular natural mosquito repellent. Some claim merely planting the grass works as a bulwark against the bloodsuckers, too.
Other garden plants whose oils may offer some protection from mosquitoes include lemon balm, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, and peppermint.
Other Around-the-Yard Mosquito Prevention
Planting herbs and lathering yourself in their oils may or may not keep mosquitoes at bay. But there’s much else you can do around your yard, especially when it comes to ridding it of likely mosquito breeding grounds. Many of the worst offending mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, and it doesn’t take much: the puddle in a bucket, say, or a tire.
Pooled water in gutters makes a notorious mosquito cesspool. Keeping those gutters clear of matted leaves and twig jams can help cut down on those pools, but such maintenance, without question, is a major hassle. Why not go the LeafGuard route, and enjoy maintenance-free gutters that don’t collect the kind of debris that can create perfect skeeter breeding waters?
With LeafGuard gutters and carefully selected plantings, you can make your home that much more unfriendly to those pintsized vampires that bedevil so many otherwise pleasant magic hours out there in the backyard.