This year my backyard is full of bugs!  I don’t know if it was the wet spring, the warmer winter, or something else but the bugs have officially taken over.  As a result I’ve done a lot of research on how to naturally get rid of most of these creatures.  I hate the idea of spraying poison all over my property because that cannot be good for my kids and dog so I’ve found some natural, good-smelling, and beautiful ways to control the bug population.  I’m happy report that there are less pests in my backyard and zero bugs in my home after just a couple months of using some of these methods:

  1.  First and foremost clean and declutter your house and yard!  Bugs need places to live and breed so if you take those away you will have less bugs.  I moved our wood pile away from the house and was shocked to see how many bugs had their residence in there (cockroaches, scorpions and crickets love a good wood/brush pile!).  I’ve also been diligent about getting rid of all standing water.  Mosquitos and other flies LOVE nasty stagnant water so places like bird baths, puddles, buckets, and watering can that have standing water for more than a few days at a time will be mosquito paradise.
  2. Grow some mosquito repellent plants.  I have a personal vendetta against my backyard mosquitos so I went a bit crazy and planted all of the following plants:
  • Catnip:  Cats love it, mosquitos do not.  You can also just buy catnip oil to rub on your skin, but I’ve found that catnip grows really well in a planter on my back porch so I just do that.
  • Basil:  Great in food, amazing smelling, and repels bugs!  Basil grows quickly and you can use a big chunk of the plant without it dying.  Just grow a big basil plant, chop off a piece and hang it to dry.  Once it’s dry you can make a tea out of it just like you would with any other tea.  Add some cetyl alcohol to make a lotion that will repel mosquitos and keep your skin soft.  Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
  • Citronella:  I’m sure you’ve seen citronella candles in the store, but you can also just grow your own.  It’s a grass so it’s not the most pretty thing in the world but it is super effective at keeping mosquitos at bay.  I have a planter in my little reading nook on my back porch with both catnip and citronella.  I walk outside, brush my hand through the grasses and enjoy the great smell and mosquito free zone.
  • Lavender:  This should be in every yard, it has such a beautiful fragrance and it keeps bugs at bay!
  • Lemon Balm:  Another great smelling plant that is easy to grow.  I have a big patch of this growing along my raised garden bed.  I love pinching a leaf and smelling it, but it’s also great to keep mosquitoes away and other pests off my other plants.
  • Rosemary:  This is another plant that every home should have.  It’s easy to grow, is used in many recipes, and looks nice year round.  Oh, and it is another bug repellent as a bonus.
  • Peppermint:  I LOVE mint plants so I’ve always had them taking over parts of my garden.  I just let them spread and plant around them.  I didn’t even know that they’re a good pest repellent.  Add some to your basil tea for an even more potent bug lotion.

3.  Now that we know how to get rid of mosquitoes just by planting a bunch of great-smelling and pretty plants, what about the rest of the bugs?  Here are a few things that worked for me.  I use these things inside and out of the house and have seen a real improvement in the number of pests entering our home.

  • Use cedar for moths:  We have a big moth problem in the early summer.  They crowd all over the windows trying to get to the lights and we’ve had problems with them eating holes in our stored cloths.  Putting a cedar block on each shelf in your closet and in any drawers containing clothes should take care of the problem, and your closet will smell great.  I also tried burning cedar incense on the back porch and it does seem to keep most of the moths away from the window.
  • Citrus for spiders:  Spiders hate the smell of citrus but I love it!  Just soak some lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit peels in water in the fridge for a few days.  Then pour the water into a spray bottle and go to town in spider infested areas.  It really works!
  • White vinegar for ants:  Spraying white vinegar around the kitchen will quickly get rid of ants.  I’m not a big fan of the smell so I make a citrus solution with it just like the spider spray above.  Don’t spray vinegar on fabric though!
  • Cinnamon for travelling bugs:  If you know an area where bugs usually travel you can just sprinkle some cinnamon and they’ll stop in their tracks.
  • Herbs:  All the herbs and grasses that we talked about in the mosquito repellent section will also keep many other pests away.  I like having small decorative bowls with various herbs throughout the house.  It looks nice, smells nice, and has the added effect of keeping out those pests.

I know it’s easier to just get a bottle of chemical spray from the hardware store and spray everything, but I’m confident you’ll find the natural solutions a lot more pleasant.  Most of the above items have many uses and smell great and natural.  I love having the fresh smell of citrus and fragrant herbs randomly throughout my house and I seriously have seen zero bugs since I’ve done all this.  Let me know how it goes for you down in the comment section!