There’s nothing worse than having a relaxing summer evening interrupted by the inevitable buzzing and biting of gnats and midges. Swarming across the UK while temperatures soar, you’ll find them in your garden and even your homes. Many Brits lather themselves in insect repellent to try and keep the bugs at bay, but what if we told you there is in fact a far more environmental and less pungent way to keep the pest outs, and it’s simple as choosing the right houseplants.
Basil has proved an effective solution to pest control since ancient times, with the oil the plant contains and its intense aroma discouraging unwanted flies and mosquitos away. Make Basil a staple of your indoor herb garden to create your own natural insect repellent.
Lavender is a popular scent, so having it around the home is never a bad idea (though it might be worth growing a pot on a windowsill or balcony door if you’re an allergy sufferer). It isn’t just the sweet smell that makes this a great plant, lavender oil is known to take down bugs including flies, beetles and even fleas! If your dining alfresco, pop a pot on your garden table and eat around it; it’s a decorative way to keep bites at bay. These are also loved by bees, so a great way to keep giving our pollinators in need a helping hand too.
Rosemary is an extremely versatile plant, most commonly known for its flavour and adding the finishing touch to a range of culinary recipes. However, its less known quality is as an insect repellent with its strong smell driving unwanted bugs away. Keep an entire plant in your kitchen, readily available to use whilst cooking and to simultaneously ward off those pesky gnats and midges.
With pretty, white flowers and a fresh lemony scent, it may be hard to believe that Lemon Balm can be an insect repellent. However, the plant contains high levels of a compound called citronellal which lucky for us, bugs find extremely unpleasant! Instead of spending money on toxic repellents, purchase a Lemon Balm plant for a natural alternative whenever you need it.
Sage is commonly used to add flavour to culinary dishes, however due to the strong fragrance it emits and oils it produces, the plant is extremely useful in repelling mosquitos and flies. All you need to do is take cuttings from a Sage plant kept in your home, ensure the leaves are dried out then burn them when you’re entertaining outdoors to create your very own, effective insect repellent.
Not only do the vibrant yellow or orange flowers of a Common Marigold plant brighten up your home, they also keep it free from mosquitoes, flies and the like. It’s natural scent successfully repels all gnats and midges, offering a natural and cost-effective alternative to mosquito sprays.
The most famous green carnivore is the Dionaea, or Venus fly trap, but there are plenty of plants who would be happy to munch down on the bugs in your home. Carnivorous plants lure their prey with their scent and colour to catch and digest them. Equal parts creepy and cool, kids will love these plants and they’ll look great in the home.