I love to garden, but this year was a challenge when it comes to finding natural ways to repel bugs. We're picky about what types of products we use in our home and our yard. I won't use anything that isn't natural because I don't want to be exposed to chemicals in my home, in foods that we eat, or in the water that we drink.
Natural Ways to Repel Bugs
There are some different natural ways to repel bugs in the garden and your home. You can begin with a product you purchase from your local natural coop or you can make your solutions by combining different ingredients together that bugs don't like. Here are a few natural ways to repel bugs that I've used in my home. Keep in mind that different solutions will work differently depending on the type of bugs you're trying to deal with.
As much as I love the smell of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit, insects dislike it. There are different ways that you can use citrus oils to repel bugs. You can use the peels to rub down an area in your home that spiders are frequently seen to discourage them. Spiders dislike the scent of citrus and will not return to that area. I find that this method works quite well on my bookcase.
The oils in your citrus peel will help keep your wooden furniture shiny as well. If you'd like to use citrus oils to keep bugs from annoying you while you're outside, add a few drops of your favorite citrus essential oil to a bottle of distilled water. Spray that on your arms like you would a bug spray to discourage mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also dislike lemongrass so planting a few patches of this in your garden will help keep them away from you while you work. Even easier, grab a handful of lemon balm or lemon thyme and rub it on your arms for the same results.
A few years ago, we had a horrible problem with ants in the kitchen. I just couldn't get rid of them and almost resorted to trying something toxic until I read about using vinegar. Just add white vinegar to a spray bottle. Take everything out of your kitchen cupboards and wipe down the tops, sides, and backs of your cabinets completely. You can use this solution in other areas of your home as well. But, be sure that you don't use it on fabric without checking to see if it will stain. White vinegar can have a bleaching effect on material in some cases. Test it on a small inconspicuous spot first.
I'm sure that you've seen citronella candles in your local stores for keeping bugs away. Citronella is a plant that is a member of the geranium family. Citronella is also called the mosquito plant in some areas because mosquitoes dislike the scent so much. The plants themselves don't discourage mosquitoes, but if you crush the leaves and rub them on your arms, the oils will be released which will discourage them. You can also purchase citronella essential oils and add them to your homemade bath products, soaps, and candles to discourage mosquitoes from bothering you.
If you'd like to add one plant to your garden and landscaping that is disliked by bugs in general, marigolds are an excellent choice. Not only are they colorful and attractive, bugs (and other pests) cannot stand the scent. You can plant a border of marigolds around the edge of your garden, and add them to the landscaping around your house to discourage them from visiting.
To discourage bugs from visiting your clothes and linen closets, add a small muslin bag filled with lavender buds. Bugs dislike the scent of lavender and will stay away. You can add a few small bags to your clothes dress, your clothes closet, your linen closet or even your blanket box. The scent of lavender is very relaxing and one that I enjoy.
Add Cedar Blocks
Most home stores sell a variety of hanging cedar blocks that can be added to your closets to dispel moths. Bugs do not enjoy the smell of the cedar oil and will stay away from your favorite clothes. You should also be able to find blocks of cedar you can add to drawers and blanket boxes. Alternately, if you prefer, you can add cedar oil to a cotton ball and store that near your clothes. Just be sure that the oil doesn't come in contact with any of your clothes because it may leave a stain.
Garlic and Onions
Bugs, in general, dislike the scent of garlic and onions. You can add these plants to your garden to keep bugs away from your vegetables, or plant a few patches in your flower garden to dispel Japanese beetles. You'll be able to harvest your crop after the first hard frost when the bugs stop being a problem. Then, you can enjoy them year round until spring arrives again and it's time to plant more.
I hope that a few of these suggestions will help you get rid of any bugs that are bothering you this year. Do you have a favorite solution that I've missed?