From the Desk of Ed Hume: Planting Herbs to Help Control Insects

June 13, 2011 at 8:57 AM Leave a comment

Ever think of planting herbs to help control insects?

Grandma and grandpa told us that marigolds and nasturtiums were plants that repel insects, so you should always plant them in the vegetable garden to help control some insects.  Well, how’s that working for you?  Do they cut down on the infestations of slugs, white flies, mites, or the aphid…the very insect they are supposed to help control?  I don’t think so!  In fact, they tend to draw these creatures to the vegetable garden!  Does that make sense?  It doesn’t make sense to me.

But what about herbs?  Here are a dozen of them that I think merit attention because of their ability to help deter certain insects:

Basil (Holy Ocimum sancturn) – Helps repel mosquitoes and flies.

Catnip – Repels flea beetles and aphid.

Chives – Helps control aphid.

Horseradish – Helps repel potato bugs.

Mint – Repels cabbageworms, butterflies, flea beetles, ants, and mosquitoes.

Lavender – Repels mosquitoes and gnats.

Onion – Discourages rose chafer beetles and mites.

Rosemary – Helps deter carrot flies, cabbage moths, and bean beetles.

Sage – Repels Carrot fly and cabbage moth.

Santolina – One of the best herbs for repelling moths and many other insects.

Savory – Helps deter bean beetles.

Thyme – Repels cabbage worms.

The effectiveness of these herbs as insect repellents is apt to vary by varieties.

It is also suggested that you rub against or brush the leaves on occasion to release the fragrances.  This makes the plants more effective in discouraging insects.

In addition, you can occasionally find herb books that provide formulas for making insect sprays using the leaves of the various types of herbs.

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