Top Health Tools
Top Health Tools

Top Reports
Top Reports
Top Articles
Top Articles

Top Reviews
Top Reviews


May 10, 2012
How To Naturally Deter Insects With Herbs Instead of Chemicals

Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides dominate agricultural practices for killing just about anything that is unwanted or interfering with the healthy growth of plants and crops. However, lower scale operations should never resort this poisoning of nature. Some of the earliest written documents on gardening discuss the relationships between herbs and companion plants. When selecting your companion plants you will need to consider more than which pests are deterred. Think about what each plant adds or takes away from the soil and what effect the proximity of strong herbs may have on the flavor of your vegetables.

In nature, there is only balance. When there is unbalance, nature quickly shifts course to maintain and regulate its environment so that all organisms may live and reproduce as required by a given ecosystem.

The important thing to remember when you are trying to get rid of the "bad" pests is that there are many good insects, such as lady bugs, bees and butterflies, which may be killed by commercial poisons - even if it was not your intention.

There is always a way to deter pests. For example, ants hate cucumbers, especially cucumber peels. You'll especially appreciate that fact if you want to get rid of them. Just spreading some cucumber peels (the more bitter, the better) where ants enter your garden or home will repel them. Consider cucumber the "anti-welcome" mat for ants. Cucumbers are one example of natural pest control.

Another thing to bear in mind is that even though a pesticide may be organic, it still might harm beneficial insects. The happy balance is attained when you use natural pest control using herbs and companion plants to together to deter only the specific pests and lets the beneficial insects live.

An important note when planting any of the below is to try to avoid placing two heavy feeders or two shallow rooted plant types near each other.

Herb Companions Pests Repelled
Basil Tomatoes
Dislikes Rue
Flies, Mosquitoes
Borage Tomatoes, Squash, Strawberries Tomato Worm
Caraway Plant throughout the garden to loosen the soil.
Avoid Dill
Catnip Eggplant Flea Beetle, Ants
Chamomile Cabbage, Onion  
Coriander   Aphids
Chervil Radish  
Chives Carrots  
Dead Nettle Potatoes Potato Bug
Dill Cabbage
Dislikes Carrots and Caraway
Fennel Most plants dislike this herb  
Feverfew roses attracts aphids away from roses
Flax Carrots, Potatoes Potato Bug
Garlic Roses, Raspberries Japanese Beetle, Aphids
Horseradish Potatoes Potato Bug
Henbit   General Insect Repellent
Hyssop Cabbage, Grapes
Dislikes Radishes
Cabbage Moth
Lavender   Moths — combine with southernwood, wormwood and rosemary in an anti-moth sachet
Marigolds Plant throughout the garden Mexican Bean Beetles, Nematodes, others
Mint Cabbage, Tomatoes White Cabbage Moth, aphids, flea beetles
Mole Plant   Moles and Mice
Nasturtium Radishes, Cabbage, Cucurbits, fruit trees Aphids, Squash Bugs, Striped Pumpkin Beetle
Pennyroyal Roses Flies, Mosquitoes, Fleas, others
Petunia Beans  
Pot Marigold Tomatoes Tomato Worm, Asparagus Beetles, others
Pyrethrums   Use dried flower heads as a general insect repellent.
Rosemary Cabbage, Beans Carrots, Sage Cabbage Moth, Bean Beetle, Carrot Fly
Rue Roses and Raspberries
Dislikes Sweet Basil
Japanese Beetles
Sage Rosemary, Cabbage, Carrots
Dislikes Cucumbers
Cabbage Moth, Carrot Fly, Flea Beetle, Slugs
Southernwood Cabbages Cabbage Moth
Sowthistle Tomatoes, Onion, Corn
Plant in moderation
Summer Savory Beans Bean Beetles
Tansy Fruit Trees, Roses, Raspberries Flying Insects, Japanese Beetles, Striped Cucumber Beetles, Squash Bugs, Ants, Flies
Thyme Cabbage Cabbage Worm
Wormwood   Plant as a border to keep animals out of the garden.
Yarrow Plant near aromatic herbs to enhance production of essential oils.  

Natural Insect Repellent Recipe

Need a natural insect repellent without DEET? you'll get a more effective repellent if you combine a few different insect-repelling natural oils. If you are making large amounts of insect repellent, a good rule of thumb is to mix the repellent so it's 5-10% essential oil, so mix 1 part essential oil with 10-20 parts carrier oil or alcohol. For a smaller batch use:

  • 10-25 drops (total) of essential oils
  • 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil or alcohol

The essential oils that work well against biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas) are:

  • cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)
  • lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)
  • citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies)
  • castor oil (mosquitoes)
  • orange oil (fleas)
  • rose geranium (ticks and lice)

Safe carrier oils and alcohols include:

  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • any other cooking oil
  • witch hazel
  • vodka

Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil or alcohol. Rub or spray the natural insect repellent onto skin or clothing, using care to avoid the sensitive eye area. You'll need to re-apply the natural product after about an hour or after swimming or exercise. Unused natural insect repellent may be stored in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight. If you wish, you may combine the oil with aloe vera gel to change the consistency of the product.

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.



STAY CONNECTEDNewsletter | RSS | Twitter | YouTube |
This site is owned and operated by 1999-2018. All Rights Reserved. All content on this site may be copied, without permission, whether reproduced digitally or in print, provided copyright, reference and source information are intact and use is strictly for not-for-profit purposes. Please review our copyright policy for full details.
volunteerDonateWrite For Us
Stay Connected With Our Newsletter