By Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman
Imagine for a moment family and friends are in the back yard getting ready for your Fourth of July picnic. The kids are squealing with delight playing with a sprinkler. The smell of burgers on the grill fill the air. Your friends comment on how great your landscape looks, with just the right blend of color against the verdant lawn. The lawn is an even green, beautifully mowed. There is a nice breeze so that it is warm but not unbearable. Even so, there it is … mosquitos!
What can you do? You could decorate your yard with citronella candles and hand out bug spray to everyone. Or you could go natural. No, not THAT kind of natural!
Plan ahead with some plants that naturally repel mosquitos. Citronella Geranium is a great plant for that morning sun / afternoon shade spot. Given room, it can grow as much as four feet tall and spread out two feet wide. It also works nice as part of a container arrangement.
Lantana is known as a bedding plant and offers a wonderful array of colors. For this reason, it works great in containers. Not only does it repel mosquitos, but is also is not tasty to deer and other critters. Another positive is that it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Lemongrass is another great plant. It is actually an herb used most often in Asian dishes. Here many people grow it as an ornamental plant. It also likes morning sun / afternoon shade and can be planted either in ground or as part of a container arrangement.
Plants are not the only natural repellant. Essential oils are a wonderful way to repell insects. Citronella, clove, patchouli, lavender, and plectranthus oregano are all wonderful oils that can be used either topically or aromatically.
One Bug Repellent recipe I stumbled upon awhile back is:
14 oz. Witch Hazel
12 drops Lavender Oil
15 drops Citronella Oil
15 drops Lemongrass Oil
Mix together well. Try using a spray bottle.
One final suggestion – before I go shopping for our holiday picnic! – is “No Bite Me” by SallyeAnder Soaps. This is an all in one preventative and after bite cream. It is DEET Free and safe for the kids. Its active ingredients are: eugenol, cedar oil, lemongrass oil, geranium oil, mint oil, thyme oil, clove oil, and rosemary oil. Inert ingredients include: purified water, soy and canola oils, beeswax, lecithin, and rosemary needle. I got my 2 fl. oz. container from Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill for $12.99. I have also found the same product on Amazon for less.
No matter which option you choose, have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday.
© Therapeutic Thymes, 2016