Plants That Repel Pests, Bugs, and Insects Naturally (2022)

Srikanth is passionate about helping people stay healthy. He believes that consuming nutritious food is the key to a long and healthy life.

Plants That Repel Pests, Bugs, and Insects Naturally (1)

Natural Repellents

Pests, insects, and bugs are part of nature—insect pests come in many forms and can do varying degrees of damage.

  • For example, house flies are not only annoying, but they may also carry disease-causing germs.
  • Termites can destroy property.
  • Mosquitoes and bed bugs cause discomfort by sucking people's blood and spoiling their sleep.
  • Thunder flies and corn borers destroy crops.

Many commercial repellents are available in the market. Unfortunately, they are loaded with chemicals that can harm human beings. It is advisable to find alternative ways to repel harmful insects, bugs, and pests.

Plants That Naturally Repel Bugs, Insects, and Other Pests

  • Neem repels locusts. Extracts of neem leaves and neem fruits repel more than 200 species of mites, worms, and insects.
  • Oregano repels cabbage butterflies.
  • Parsley keeps carrot flies and rose beetles at bay.
  • Lemongrass is an excellent natural mosquito repellent.
  • Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. It is considered sacred by Hindus. This fragrant plant grows in many climates. Fresh basil is delicious in salads. It is a good idea to plant basil next to the doors. You may also plant basil in containers and keep them by your picnic table or on your patio. Basil repels mosquitoes, flies, whiteflies, aphids, and hornworms.
  • Mint is well-known for its amazing aroma. It repels fleas, flies, rats, white cabbage moths, ants, and mice. Mountain mint keeps ticks and chiggers away. Disceranda frutescens, a type of mint, is very effective against many insects. It is advisable to plant mint around the foundation of the house as it protects your house from mice and ants. Catnip and pennyroyal also have a similar effect. It is advisable to place shallow bowls of dried mint leaves in the pantry. This keeps mice away.
  • Wormwood repels intestinal worms, moths, earwigs, mice, flies, and slugs. It is advisable to grow wormwood near cabbage. It deters cabbage moths. Wormwood also repels fruit tree moths. Boughs of wormwood between rows of carrots and onions deter flies.
  • Pennyroyal is hated by fleas, flies, ants, mice, gnats, and mosquitoes. You may consider placing dried pennyroyal on your pantry shelves. This repels ants. Pennyroyal has proved its effectiveness as an insect repellant. Nicotiana is an excellent trap for gnats, aphids, and whiteflies.
  • Bay leaves repel pantry insects like moths, weevils, cockroaches, ants, and flies. They hate the fragrance emanating from bay leaves. Bay leaves also keep caterpillars and grubs at bay. It is advisable to place bay leaves in containers of rice, flour, and other dry materials. In fact, one bay leaf in 50 pounds of wheat berries effectively keeps weevils away. Bay leaves protect barley, cornmeal, oatmeal, quinoa, and rice. You may tape bay leaves inside cupboards and shelves, or you may scatter a few leaves on the pantry shelves. This has proved effective in many homes all over the world. However, the leaves have to be replaced every few months. It is a good idea to use dry bay leaves instead of mothballs. Dried leaves can be folded into clothing. Bay leaf can be grown outside in the summer. However, you will need to bring them indoors during winter. Otherwise, they will perish. Dried bay leaves are available in the market.
  • Geraniums repel a wide variety of insects like Japanese beetles and mosquitoes. Their flowers also add color to your garden.
  • Catnip keeps mosquitoes and flies at bay. It is 10 times more effective than DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET is used in many insect repellents.
  • Pyrethrum chrysanthemums repel lice, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, and silverfish.
  • Rue keeps fleas and Japanese beetles away.
  • Tansy repels mosquitoes, moths, flies, mice, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, and mice. It is advisable to grow tansy around doorways. The flowers of this herb resemble marigolds.
  • Feverfew is an excellent insect repellent. This is due to pyrethrin in feverfew.
  • Lavender is well-known all over the world for its wonderful aroma. It repels moths, silverfish, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies. It is advisable to keep lavender sachets in the wardrobe. You may grind it into powder and sprinkle the power on your pet’s bedding. It is a good idea to hang a bundle of lavender in your closet. Grow lavender in containers on your patio. People grow lavender in their kitchen garden as it protects spinach and lettuce from rabbits. Santolina (commonly known as cotton lavender) is the best insect repellent among lavenders. It is usually mixed with English lavender. It is advisable to use lavender buds in cooking. Savory deters bean beetles.
  • Creeping lemon thyme repels mosquitoes and other insects and pests. It also prevents musty odors. Sage repels many garden bugs like moths, ants, slugs, sticks, carrot flies, and cabbage moths that are known to destroy vegetable gardens.
  • Rosemary repels lice, moths, carrot flies, mosquitoes, silverfish, and bean beetles. Both fresh and dried rosemary is effective. It is advisable to plant rosemary around your patio. It keeps the air fresh.
  • Sweet woodruff repels moths and carpet beetles. It is a good idea to place it beneath carpets. It emits a sweet aroma and also keeps ants at bay.
  • Chives repel garden pests like aphids, flea beetles, and ants. It prevents apple scabs and black spots in roses. It is an excellent trap plant for aphids. It also controls Japanese beetles. It is easy to grow and maintain chives.
  • Onions repel ants, aphids, flea beetles, carrot flies, and mosquitoes.
  • Garlic is a powerful and natural insect repellent that repels many flying and crawling insects like mosquitoes, onion flies, Japanese beetles, grubs, black flies, weevils, aphids, and red spider mites.
  • Borage repels insects that feed on tomatoes.
  • Radish repels cucumber beetles.
  • Celery is found to be effective against garden pests like white cabbage moths.
  • Potatoes repel Mexican bean beetles and beans repel Colorado potato beetles. It is advisable to grow beans and potatoes close together. But they should not be interplanted.
  • Marigolds repel many garden pests like tomato hornworms, whiteflies, cucumber beetles, bean beetles, asparagus beetles, and nematodes. They are easy to grow and maintain and add to the beauty of your garden.
  • Nasturtium is an annual edible flower. It repels whiteflies and squash bugs.
  • Anise repels slugs, snails, and aphids. A mixture of two tablespoons of red pepper and six drops of dishwashing soap keep ants away from the kitchen. Sprinkle this mixture at entry points and on ant trails.
  • Coriander repels red spider mites, moths, and aphids.
  • Dill keeps carrot fly and cabbage moth at bay.
  • Eucalyptus keeps cockroaches away.
  • Lemon verbena repels flies and midges.
  • Nettle controls black flies.
  • Yarrow repels pests like ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes.
  • Fennel controls aphids, slugs, snails, and spider mites.
  • Marjoram repels whiteflies.
  • Tomatoes keep cabbage worms away.
  • Nicandra traps aphids, gnats, and whiteflies.
  • Flax repels Colorado potato beetles.

It is always advisable to use the above-mentioned plants to repel insects, pests, and bugs. It is a natural way and a safe way to keep them at bay.

Plants That Repel Pests, Bugs, and Insects Naturally (2)


Plants That Repel Pests, Bugs, and Insects Naturally (3)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do marigolds need sunlight?

Answer: Even though they do grow in full sun to partial shade, I suggest that you plant them in a sunny area. Shading may have a negative impact on flowering.

Question: What repels mice?

Answer: Try peppermint.

Question: Does neem grow all year round?

Answer: It becomes a huge tree.

Scroll to Continue

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Question: What herb or plant repels bedbugs?

Answer: Eucalyptus.

Question: What repels scabies?

Answer: Neem.

Srikanth R (author) on March 11, 2018:

To the best of my knowledge, termites hate catnip and vetiver grass.

Gary Danjou on March 10, 2018:

What plant fragrance is good to stop termites??

Cinfy on October 29, 2017:

I raise Monarchs in the summer and want to keep predators off the milkweed.

What can you recommend that won't also repel the adult female from laying eggs on the milkweed?

Srikanth R (author) on July 18, 2017:


tay gray on July 18, 2017:

Very helpful information. Thank you.

Srikanth R (author) on April 25, 2017:

Tomato leaf spray and garlic oil spray are effective against aphids.

Colin Peckham on April 25, 2017:

I have two problems in my very narrow shaded garden beds.

1. I get lots of aphids on my climbers, and ants travel up to get and harvest them. I would like to plant something underneath the climbers that would deter them, but its very shady at ground level, and the aphids are often at high level. Most plant deterrents appear to be sun loving herbs, so is there anything else I could use.

2. Ants: I am using diatamaceous earth which they dont like as well as taping the base of things and putting vaseline on it, and this seems the best way to stop them climbing up plants and structures.

Srikanth R (author) on February 23, 2017:

Yes. Also try camphor plant, sweet pea, lavender, daffodils and catnip.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 22, 2017:

I was happy to have seen this hub. I plant mint and basil and love them in food but did not realize they are good for repelling insects. Do you have to put a lot of mint to repel mice?

Srikanth R (author) on February 06, 2017:

Hi Joyce! If none of the remedies I have mentioned work, it is advisable to contact an expert locally.

Joyce on January 30, 2017:

I fail in my attempt at organic gardening for the past two years. This is due to the fact, I have a infestation of Japanese beetles and aphids and spider mites. I have used milky spore for 2 years straight with only a small different with population of beetles. The aphids and spider mites have been resistance to even chemical pesticides. How can I get rid or keep these pest at bay?

Srikanth R (author) on October 14, 2016:


Alicia on October 11, 2016:

Great info, thanks for sharing!

Srikanth R (author) on September 16, 2016:

Put up chicken wire.

Srikanth R (author) on September 16, 2016:

Put up chicken wire.

Srikanth R (author) on September 16, 2016:

Put up chicken wire.

Hlalani on September 09, 2016:

how do i keep my neighbors's chickens away from my garden. how do i get dogs to stop relieving themselves in my garden. are there natural herbs that can be used?

Srikanth R (author) on August 25, 2016:

If you can manage to grow them indoors, if you have space, light, etc, nothing like it. You just need to ensure their good health.

CLD on June 10, 2016:

I have raised beds for my garden, do I have to grow these things inside or can I place additional pots around the boxes or sprinkle the herbs on the garden? What is best?

Srikanth R (author) on May 12, 2016:

Well, the fact is carpet beetles hate sweet woodruff. They run away from this flowering perennial plant.

Donna on May 12, 2016:

I've just seen a site showing carpet beetles feeding off the sweet woodruff plant, with statements by other people saying they've found this also. Your site says sweet woodruff repels them though! I'm not sure what's correct now - please help. Thanks.

Srikanth R (author) on July 19, 2015:

Basil is effective against most of these.

Howard on July 17, 2015:

In your introductory paragraph Srirad you mention Thunderflies (in the UK) but not which plant is the best deterrent. Can you offer more advice please? I have a problem with them crawling into my large computer monitor behind the clear and then dying inside to remain there forever...! Very annoying...! So I will need to place around the monitor whatever plant you suggest, is that practical?

Srikanth R (author) on June 12, 2014:

I am glad that the hub was useful.

Lizolivia from Central USA on June 12, 2014:

Very useful information. I grow many of these plants in the garden such as coriander, marigold, thyme, basil, rosemary, nasturtium, chives and mint. I didn't know about bay leaves repelling weevils in dry grains and the red pepper with dish liquid mixture to repel ants. Thanks for the helpful tips.

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