There are some insects - like bees - that you're happy to see in the garden, but if you want to keep your house and garden free of insect pests there are alternatives to chemical sprays. Here is a list of some of plants that are relatively easy to grow, can be used in cooking and home remedies, and can also be used to help keep away unwanted bugs. I have most of these in pots or in the garden around my house
Basil - Plant basil near the doorway to help keep flies out of the house. Dried stalks can be burnt to repel mosquitoes. Most insects hate the smell of basil. Mix 10 drops of basil essential oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on door frames and windowsills.
Catnip is a favourite with cats, but will help keep beetles out of the garden
Chervil - freshly crushed leaves can be rubbed on windowsills and kitchen benches to keep flies away.
Chives - plant chives in the vegetable garden to keep it free of carrot flies, some beetles and aphids.
Coriander is another plant with excellent insect repelling properties. Coriander is easy to grow and does well planted in a large pot. To make a simple, but effective, insect repelling spray half fill a bucket or large jug with the leaves and flowers of coriander, basil, rosemary, oregano, tansy or thyme. Fill the jug or bucket with boiling water and leave to stand and steep overnight. Strain, pour into a spray bottle and use as required. A squirt of dishwashing liquid can be added to the spray bottle to help make the spray "stick", but it's not essential as the spray works just as well with or without.
Citronella - is well-known for its ability to keep insects away.
Elder - an infusion of elder leaves rubbed on to arms and legs can repel mosquitoes.
Feverfew is probably best known for treating headaches, but also has insect repelling properties
Garlic - plant near your roses to keep greenfly away.
Lavender - hang a bag of dried lavender and lightly crushed cloves in cupboards to keep silverfish away. Lavender will also help to repel moths.
Lemon Balm - Fresh leaves can help to relieve the itching of insect bites. Bundles of lemon balm leaves placed in a wardrobe or cupboard are supposed to keep moths away.
Mint is another plant that repels mosquitoes. A pot placed in the garden will help keep the surrounding plants insect free. Don't plant mint directly into the garden or it will take over.
Oregano is another useful ingredient in homemade bug spray as, like basil, many insects are repelled by its scent.
Pennyroyal - place a few dried leaves in kitchen cupboards to keep away ants or a pot by the back door to keep out flies and mosquitoes.
Rosemary is a useful addition to the vegetable garden as it repels carrot fly and attracts bees. A simple insecticide spray can be made by mixing 5mls of rosemary essential oil and 300mls of flat beer. This can be sprayed onto plants and the surrounding area where insects are a problem.
Tansy has quite a strong smell that many insects don't seem to like. When dried the leaves can be sprinkled in areas where unwanted insects are a problem.
Thyme will bring bees into the garden, but will help deter moths and some flying insects
Wormwood can be planted near cabbages to keep cabbage butterflies away from your crop, near the hen house to protect against lice. It may also help to keep fruit trees free of fruit tree moth.
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