by Dr. Steve Newdell
A Series on Natural Pest Repelling Plants
We call them pests because they pester us, eat our crops, leave holes in vegetables and fruit, and often are vectors of diseases. The mosquito has been called, “The world’s most dangerous animal” because it carries Malaria and Dengue Fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Chikungunya virus. I suspect a few others too.
If you want a quick and effective solution, spraying insecticides might be a good idea but generally spraying is harmful to us and other life forms we like, and it can be washed away with the rain.
There are healthier solutions and this series will include many attractive plants which repel bugs. They might not be as effective as insecticides. But, if you don’t want to harm your health as well as the environment, you should consider these bug fighting plants.
Today I’ll list a few plants that will work for your purposes.
HOW do they do it? Plants commonly produce “green leaf volatiles” when leaves are damaged in order to deter herbivores. The scent they produce irritates the “nose” of these insects. They use their ability to smell to follow their kind on paths to food (ants are easy to see doing this) and scent receptors help them find food even when hunting alone. Thus, these irritants chase inspects away. Several authors have shown strong responses of mosquito odor receptors to this class of volatiles including geranyl acetate and citronellal , 6-methyl-5- hepten-2-one and geranylacetone
Whether you’re in Singapore (the population to whom I write) or elsewhere all of this information can be helpful for you. I plan a bit of it daily for a while and some other health information from a book series I’ve lately published.
It’s the unpleasant smell that keeps the bugs at bay… out! Out of your kitchen off your porch and patio, out of your bedroom, out of your garden, and they’re pretty to see too.
Most repellents contain a powerful ingredient called Pyrethrum, which is generally found in Marigold. It has a very distinct smell that helps repel mosquitoes, aphids, and also the cute little rabbits. These flowers cost less, perhaps do more, and make the landscape look more attractive.
The roots of marigold plants are popular among farmers for repelling nematodes, but it might take about a year to show any positive effect. Moreover, they release a compound called limonene that is known to deter or slow down white flies usually found hovering around tomato plants. So, if you want to grow fresh tomatoes, don’t hesitate to plant a few marigolds around.
Plus, you can place the potted marigolds somewhere near the mosquito-entry points, such as windows and doors, or anywhere in the outdoors where you generally spend time.
These flowers might not repel mosquitoes as much, but they help in keeping away a host of other bugs and insects like ticks, aphids, roaches, spider mites, fleas, etc. Chrysanthemums are useful as an insect repellent. That’s why you’ll find it to be an essential ingredient in several pet shampoos, aerosol bombs, and indoor sprays.
It might be quite comforting when you’re assured that you don’t need to engage in any chemical warfare for fighting back against those insects. Because you just need to place these insect-repelling plants outside or inside your house strategically. This way, you can enjoy the outdoor areas or even keep the windows open without having insects buzzing around.
Chrysanthemums contain a compound called pyrethrum that can kill jumping and flying insects. The bonus is they look pretty against any background, making a lovely addition to any home or garden.
The dramatic Allium giganteum is a member of the strong-smelling Allium family. It comes with dramatically round flower heads, which adorn stalks of up to 6 feet height.
Alliums hold the reputation of repelling many different kinds of insects, be it the rust fly in your carrot patch or aphids on the rose bushes. Plant these and enjoy a thriving garden that is free from pests or unwanted insects.
These flowers release a strong fragrance, which is generally disliked by mosquitoes, so you’ll never find them around such plants. As mentioned above, they also repel numerous insects, which are known to destroy vegetable gardens such as cabbage worms, slugs, carrot flies, and aphids.
The plants that generally benefit from having this flowering plant around are potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi, and carrots.
Petunias make a beautiful addition to any garden; thanks to their lovely purple hue, which adds a burst of color to your vegetable bed. It also helps repel some of the insects and pests that might bite your vegetables. Moreover, petunias can repel aphids, tomato hornworms, squash bugs, leafhoppers, and asparagus beetles.
Most farmers use petunia as a staple in every vegetable farm because it’s considered to be one of the best natural pesticides. They are popular mainly because they are available everywhere, and its bright hues make any space look beautiful.
Petunias require very little maintenance. Plant them in sunny areas, to have them standing tall in your garden beds, containers, or even hanging baskets.
Planting nasturtiums with your cucumber and tomato plants is an effective way to fight off squash bugs, wooly aphids, cucumber beetles and white flies. Moreover, the flowers, especially the ones that belong to the yellow blooming categories act as a trap for aphids.
THIS is one of the plant varieties that benefit all the vegetables around. Nasturtiums release an airborne chemical, which repels predaceous insects that might otherwise plague vegetables like – cucumbers, tomatoes, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, collards, radishes, and cabbage. If you’re selling these items at the local market sell a few of the plants too. Sitting at the market the vendor protects the produce and sells the plants for a little more profit. That benefits everyone.
Nasturtiums are ideal along the edges of your vegetable gardens. Whether you plant nasturtiums in containers around the patio, along flower beds, or the vegetable garden, this easy-to-grow flower will protect the surrounding plants from unwanted visitors.
There will be more of this tomorrow. Please visit THE popular and growing magazine for Singapore shoppers, and new friends who like reading entertaining, dining out, and much more as the magazine develops. Take a look today and be sure to see information about how to live a longer and healthier life. It’s all in my newest book series. Life-Long Good Health Guide here: https://sgshopper2030.com/llgh-letter/
Thanks for reading today. More tomorrow!
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