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The Best Herbs That Keep Bugs Away

Explore nature's bug repellents: Basil, lavender, lemongrass, and more protect your home naturally from pesky insects.
The Best Herbs That Keep Bugs Away


Does your home or garden seem like a magnet for pesky bugs and insects? It’s a fact that certain herbs can naturally repel these unwelcome guests. This article will guide you through the best herbs that keep bugs away.

Key Takeaways

  • Basil, lavender, lemongrass, and mint are herbs that naturally repel insects and keep bugs away.
  • These herbs can be grown in gardens or placed in pots on patios and porches for maximum bug-repellent benefits.
  • Other plants like marigolds, petunias, and geraniums also aid in repelling insects.
  • To enhance natural pest control, remove standing water, keep your garden clean, and use natural insect repellents made from essential oils.

Understanding How Herbs Repel Insects

Insects have a survival skill to avoid certain smells that they associate with danger. Herbs, containing essential oils, exhibit these deterring scents. These oils are natural insect repellent due to the volatile compounds they contain.

Each herb has its unique aroma profile that repels specific types of insects and pests. 

The use of bruised plants hung indoors, a millenary technique for insect control, operates on the same principle – releasing scent compounds into the atmosphere to keep the bugs away. This process is significantly beneficial in repelling mosquitoes, gnats, flies and no-see-ums naturally without posing harm to humans or pets.

On applying these plant-derived oil formulations onto skin or clothing serves as an excellent alternative route for avoiding pesky bug bites.

However, it’s important to mention that eliminating standing water in our surroundings can contribute considerably towards reducing mosquito populations as such places serve as breeding grounds for them.

It also should be noted some herbs might be toxic if consumed by pets; therefore considering their safety while choosing compatible plants from the ASPCA’s database becomes vital.

Nevertheless, understanding how herbs repel insects helps us realize nature offers numerous solutions right at our fingertips! Leveraging this knowledge helps protect ourselves reduce chemical exposure and maintain vibrant health all while cohabiting harmoniously with our environment.

Top Herbs That Keep Bugs Away

Basil, lavender, and lemongrass are some of the top herbs that repel insects and keep bugs away.


Basil herb on wooden table

Basil stands as an effective front-line herb in the war against unwanted insects. This wonderful plant serves a dual purpose of not only adding flavor to your dishes but also keeping pests like mosquitoes and flea beetles at bay

Housing volatile compounds, basil naturally repels these pesky bugs. Homesteaders can grow this versatile herb in their vegetable gardens or place pots on patios and porches for amplified bug-repelling benefits.

Basil doesn’t stop showing its usefulness there – its leaves can be put to work too! A DIY repellent spray is easy to create: simply boil the leaves and mix them with vodka. This results in a strong, natural insect repellent that keeps away everything from aphids to squash bugs without any harm from harsh chemical insect sprays.


Lavender herb on wooden table

Lavender, known for its delightful scent and purple blooms, is more than just a pretty addition to your garden. It’s an enemy of unwanted insects like mosquitoes, moths, and fleas.

This popular herb contains essential oils that bugs find unpleasant, making it a natural bug repellent. Lavender thrives in outdoor herb gardens or as ornamental plants near windows and patios, working to naturally repel pesky aphids, carrot flies and ants from invading your home or spoiling your crops while adding beauty to the surroundings.

Moreover, you can easily convert lavender into an essential oil formulation effective in discouraging insect bites.


Lemongrass herb on wooden table

Lemongrass, a staple in many kitchens for its unique citrus flavor, does double duty as an effective natural bug repellent. It’s the citronella content within lemongrass that deters mosquitoes and other annoying insects.

This fragrant herb has shown a 100% repellency effect against certain mosquito species due to its rich citronellal composition. In fact, it ranks high among herbs that excel at keeping bugs away naturally from household areas and gardens.

Beyond being simply functional, lemongrass also adds aesthetic appeal with its lush green leaves and tall stalks, making it a great addition to any homesteader’s garden or patio space.


Mint herb on wooden table

Mint is a powerful herb that naturally repels a wide variety of insects. Its aromatic properties make it an effective mosquito repellent, as well as a deterrent for flies, gnats, and other pesky bugs.

For centuries, people have hung bruised mint plants inside their homes to keep them away. Mint can also be used in oil formulations and applied to the skin or clothing to ward off bugs.

Whether you’re dealing with moths, ants, beetles, fleas, mice, or aphids in your homestead, planting some mint around your property can help protect your home and garden from these unwanted pests. 


Rosemary herb on wooden table

Rosemary is a versatile herb that can help keep unwanted insects away from your home. Its oils can be used to make a DIY repellent spray, making it an effective natural insect deterrent.

Rosemary has been found to repel slugs, beetles, mosquitoes, and more. You can plant it in containers or gardens to create an insect-free environment. Not only does rosemary provide pest control benefits, but it also adds a delightful aroma to your surroundings.

Additionally, you can use rosemary in cooking to enhance the flavor of your dishes while keeping insects at bay. Whether planted in gardens or pots on patios or porches, rosemary is a reliable ally for homesteaders looking for natural ways to repel flies and mosquitoes.”.


Catnip herb on wooden table

Catnip is a powerful herb that can naturally repel bugs and protect your home from infestations. This herb contains nepetalactone, which acts as a repellent against mosquitoes, flies, deer ticks, and even cockroaches.

Its strong scent keeps these pesky insects at bay, making it one of the top herbs for keeping bugs away. Catnip’s repellency effect is effective against a variety of insect species, offering you a versatile solution for pest control.

Instead of relying on chemical insect repellents, consider using catnip as a natural alternative to keep bugs out of your home.


Thyme herb on wooden table

Thyme is a powerful herb that can help keep pesky insects away from your garden. It is particularly effective at deterring mosquitoes, earworms, maggots, hornworms, and whiteflies.

When the leaves of thyme are bruised, they release natural chemicals that repel these unwanted bugs. So, by planting thyme in your garden or even using it as a natural repellent around your home, you can create an insect-free environment without the need for harmful chemicals or pesticides.

Thyme is not only a great addition to your culinary recipes but also serves as an excellent defense against insect pests.


Garlic herb on wooden table

Garlic is not only a staple in kitchens but also an effective herb for repelling insects. It has been used for centuries to keep pests away from gardens and homes. Garlic can repel carrot flies, aphids, maggots, snails, moths, and even rabbits.

Adding garlic to your garden or hanging bruised garlic plants inside your house can create a safer and healthier environment by keeping these pesky insects at bay. With its strong odor and natural properties, garlic is a valuable tool for homesteaders looking for natural pest control solutions.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm herb on wooden table

Lemon balm is one of the top herbs that can keep bugs away and protect your home naturally. It has been used for thousands of years to repel insects, with people hanging bruised lemon balm plants inside their houses.

This herb is particularly effective in repelling mosquitoes and can survive even during dry seasons. The secret lies in the essential oils present in lemon balm, which act as natural bug repellents when exposed to high temperatures.

You can use lemon balm by either hanging it or applying it in oil formulations to your skin and clothing. So, harness the power of lemon balm to keep those pesky insects at bay!


Citronella herb on wooden table

Citronella is a herb that contains essential oils known for their ability to repel mosquitoes and other insects. It has been used for centuries as a natural way to keep bugs away from homes.

Hanging bruised citronella plants inside your house can help deter insects, while DIY repellent sprays made with citronella can protect your home naturally. This herb is also commonly found in commercial insect repellents as a natural alternative to chemical sprays like DEET.

With citronella, you can effectively keep pests at bay without relying on harmful chemicals.

Other Plants That Aid in Repelling Insects

Marigolds, petunias, and geraniums are additional plants that provide aid in repelling insects.


Marigolds are a natural and effective way to repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. These vibrant flowers can be grown in flower beds or planters around your home to keep pesky bugs at bay.

In fact, marigolds have been used for thousands of years as a natural insect repellent. Some people even hang bruised marigold plants inside their houses to ward off insects. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of using marigolds in a garden setting is still unclear.

Despite this uncertainty, marigolds are worth considering as part of your pest control strategy because they not only repel insects but also add beauty to your outdoor spaces.


Petunias are not only beautiful flowers to have in your garden, but they also act as natural insect repellents. These vibrant blooms can help keep aphids, tomato worms, squash bugs, and certain beetles away from your plants.

The light licorice smell of petunias is known to repel these pests effectively. Whether you plant them in flower beds or hang them in planters on your patio, petunias serve as a natural barrier against insect infestations that could damage your plants or invade your home.

By incorporating petunias into your garden, you can enjoy their colorful display while protecting your plants and keeping pesky bugs at bay.


Geraniums have a pleasant lemon-like fragrance that insects find repulsive, especially leafhoppers. These plants are not only beautiful additions to your garden or pots but also effective at keeping bugs away and protecting your home naturally.

Geraniums are often associated with other plants known for their insect-repelling properties. By planting geraniums in your garden or placing potted geraniums around your home, you can enjoy their bug-repelling benefits and create a more pest-free environment.

Leafhoppers, in particular, are deterred by the presence of geraniums, making them an excellent choice for keeping these pesky bugs at bay.

Extra Tips for Natural Pest Control

To further protect your home from pesky bugs, here are some additional tips for natural pest control:

  • Remove any standing water around your property to eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Plant mosquito – repellent herbs like basil, lavender, lemongrass, and mint near outdoor seating areas.
  • Create a barrier by planting marigolds, petunias, and geraniums around your garden to deter insects.
  • Keep your garden clean and tidy to prevent the buildup of pests such as aphids and beetles.
  • Use natural insect repellents made from essential oils like citronella or rosemary leaves to keep bugs at bay.

Conclusion AND FAQ’S

Discover the power of nature with these herbs that repel bugs and protect your home. From basil to lavender, lemongrass to mint, and rosemary to catnip, incorporating these natural bug repellents into your garden or home can help keep pesky insects at bay.

With their strong scents and essential oils, these herbs are a safe and effective alternative to chemical insect sprays. Say goodbye to unwanted pests and enjoy a bug-free environment naturally!

What are some herbs that can keep bugs away?

Some herbs that can keep bugs away include rosemary, mint, basil, lavender, and citronella.

How do these herbs keep insects away?

These herbs have natural properties that act as deterrents to bugs. They contain compounds that bugs dislike, such as citronella, which repels mosquitoes.

Can I plant these herbs in my garden?

Yes, you can plant these herbs in your garden. They not only repel pests and insects, but they also add beauty and fragrance to your garden.

Are there any specific plants or herbs that repel aphids?

Chives and petunias are known to repel aphids. Planting these in your garden can help protect your vegetable plants from these pesky insects.

Will these herbs also repel mites?

Some of these herbs, like rosemary and lavender, have properties that can help keep mites away. However, it is always best to consult a professional if you have a severe mite infestation.

Are there any other plants and herbs that can repel bugs?

Yes, there are many other plants and herbs that can repel bugs. Some common ones include marigolds, citronella grass, and lemon balm.

Can I use these herbs as a natural insecticide?

These herbs can act as natural insecticides to some extent. However, for more serious insect infestations, it is best to consult a professional or use commercially available insecticides.

How many plants do I need to keep bugs away?

The number of plants needed will depend on the size of the area you want to protect. As a general rule, having at least 10 plants in your garden can help deter bugs.

Can these herbs keep mosquitoes away?

Yes, many of these herbs, such as basil and mint, have properties that repel mosquitoes. Planting them around your patio or outdoor seating area can help keep mosquitoes and flies away.

Can these herbs also keep rodents away?

While these herbs have insect-repelling properties, they might not be as effective in keeping rodents away. It is best to use other methods, like sealing entry points and using traps, to keep rodents out of your property.

Picture of Matt New

Matt New

Living off-grid since 2012 with my wife Amy and dog MJ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Co-creater of the award winning Fusion Home.

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