Shoo, Fly!

By Julia Price

February 16, 2019 5 min read

A tired-looking wall or a dull bedroom can be instantly transformed into a colorful oasis just by adding plant life. But looking good isn't the only gift these green gods have to offer. In fact, there are specific plants that keep pests out of your home. And if that wasn't impressive enough, some serve another function as well -- adding great flavor to your cooking!

*Herbs

Basil, lavender and rosemary are wonderful herbs that not only taste great but also will keep the flies away. Basil specifically works to prevent flies and mosquitoes from inhabiting your living quarters and should be planted close to your house doors or outside in areas where you host frequent gatherings.

Lavender bushels can be placed in vases throughout your home because while we tend to find the scent of lavender calming, it has the opposite effect on mosquitoes, moths, fleas and flies.

Rosemary works to warn off mosquitoes and other insects that tend to feast on vegetable plants. If you have an indoor garden or small patio lot, adding some rosemary, as well.

*Flowers

Although many flowers are only available seasonally, try a rotating assortment of flowers that can add pops of colors, attract human eyes and deter unwanted pesky guests.

Chrysanthemums are reasonably priced, come in a variation of bright colors, and their protective range is quite extensive, naturally repelling fleas, bedbugs, roaches, ticks, lice, spider mites and more. You can plants them in spaces where natural filtered bright light (avoid direct light) hits, like a window, and keep the temperature between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. As an added bonus, they also help filter the air by removing toxins.

Marigolds produce an odor that repels rodents, flies and worms. When planting them indoors, they require at least 10 hours of light per day. Placing them by a window that gets sunlight most of the day is ideal. While they generally survive best in a greenhouse, if you keep your home's temperature between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, they'll have a good chance at a long plant life.

*Houseplants

The following botanical specimens are multifaceted wonders because they improve indoor air quality as they guard your home against bugs.

The talent of the Venus' flytrap is given away by the name itself. As soon as a fly or mosquito lands on it, the "mouth" of the flytrap will snap shut, killing the gnat or other insect by trapping it inside. Place these plants in bright indirect sunlight such as a windowsill. They tend to be bright green with a reddish pink hue to differentiate the trap, or mouth, of the plant.

Sage is commonly known to cleanse bad energy and, as many cultures believe, to get rid of unwanted spirits or ghosts. Whether you believe in that or not, scientific evidence informs us that sage bushes can absolutely cleanse your home of insects. Place your sage plant near indirect light, either near a window or glass door, and if you want to burn leaves to exacerbate the scent of the plant, keep in mind that the leaves must be dried out first to effectively work.

Catnip may be heaven for cats, and it can also make you happy by protecting your home against insect activity. In fact, the American Chemical Society's studies have shown that "nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET -- the compound used in most commercial insect repellents." Your cats will be thrilled to have these new additions to your household. Plant the catnip in any area you'd like, but keep in mind that these plants will grow between three to four feet and most often will require a fluorescent lamp several feet above the plant to assist its growth (unless it's planted outdoors in direct sunlight).

Before you head out to the store and purchase any chemical-filled, human-made bug spray or deterrent, keep in mind that nature often offers better solutions. Your reward will be healthier lungs and pretty plants to look after instead.

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