As the temperatures warm, insects come out, sometimes showing themselves when you prefer they didn’t – for instance when you’re cooking on the grill or working outside.

It’s good to remember that many insects are “good bugs,” says RoseLake Estate management, such as butterflies and bumble bees, helping to pollinate flowers, vegetables, and trees. Others provide food for birds and bats, and still others, such as the preying mantis, control pest insects that can gobble up your veggie garden.

Many biting and stinging insects are attracted to human sweat and food smells. So, if you’re spending a lot of time outside on a hot day, you can expect to attract quite a few.

Here are eight healthy, organic and natural herbal and plant alternatives to expensive chemical bug sprays that can keep bugs at bay without harming all insects, or using chemicals that can harm health, not to mention the environment.

To get the maximum effect using these remedies, crush the leaves in your hands to release their perfume, and then rub the leaves and their oils over your skin. Plant pots can also on a deck or porch, near a door, or anywhere else you plan to be outside.

  • Lemon Balm

This member of the mint family has a gentle lemony scent, and is particularly good at keeping biting insects away.

  • Catnip

This fragrant mint cousin contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which is both a feline attractant and a useful insect repellant.

  • Basil

A 2009 study showed that the essential oil from this common and easy to grow herb is toxic to mosquito larvae.

  • Lavender

Not only is lavender potent and beautiful, but it repels mosquitoes, moths and flies. The flower’s perfume is well-known, and while it will scent the air, it’s still most effective when actually rubbed on skin.

  • Peppermint

Great as an insect repellent on skin and has been shown to also kill insect larvae.

  • Citrosum

This perennial is actually marketed as “mosquito plant,” primarily due to its strong citronella-like smell, but it’s only mildly effective. Still, there’s some benefits to be had from rubbing it on your skin and keeping the plant around.

  • Sage + Rosemary

Try burning a little dried sage or rosemary. The incense these plants give off when they burn not only smells good, but will keep critters away.

Keep biting bugs at bay safely and non-chemically, and protect yourself, family, friends and neighbors this month and into the summer.



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