mosquito stop sign

Controlling “Pests” while Protecting our Planet


First, I put “pests” in quotations for a reason. People often consider bugs and certain animals “pests”. While some are surely pests, such as mosquitoes, ticks, aphids, and japanese beetles, they do still serve a vital role in the ecosystem. Which is a bummer, honestly. Our frogs, spiders, mantises, mice, and many more need these pesky little creatures as food. I listed mice and some may even be thinking “uhhh… I don’t want those either” but guess what; snakes need those and owls (among others) need those. I could keep this list going forever but I’ll end it there! All of these organisms live in the wild and if we are planting, playing, or relaxing in their environment, we need to accept that we are guests in their home and they are simply doing what animals and bugs do.

With all that said, we also work hard on our lawns, gardens, farms, and plots. We also want safe places for our children, four legged furry friends, and ourselves to go outside. It’s not at all unreasonable to want a little space! So, if you’re looking for some effective yet safe ways to keep some of these bugs and animals at bay with plants and other plant based remedies; keep on reading!

Let’s start with a common and extremely annoying bug… Mosquitoes. I think everyone can agree that being covered in itchy, red, bumpy, bites is less than ideal and we’d like to go outside without having to be bothered by them and spend the rest of our day smelling like bug spray. While these plants may not be a total fix, these combined with some bug spray should leave you fairly well protected from those buzzing little bugs. Plus, your yard will smell amazing! Many people have heard of citronella but what some may not know is that instead of getting that candle, you could actually get a rather pretty and potent plant. The smell of citronella is quite pleasant to humans but the scent is so strong for mosquitoes that they struggle to find their target (aka you) and therefore continue on their way to find something, or someone, else to snack on. Lavender  and mint also help to repel mosquitoes and have a recognizable smell that many love. Now you  have fresh mint and lavender to make a nice mint lavender tea!

Next we will talk about a rather gross pest; ticks.

I think we can all agree that ticks are just about the worst. If you want a rather costly, but fun, investment you could go with chickens, peacocks, or guinea fowl!

However, these are a bit of a big investment that may not be for everyone. So something easier that’s less costly and less time consuming, you could try diatomaceous earth. For plants to deter ticks, you can try planting some garlic, beautyberries, or the aforementioned mint and lavender. Beautyberries (img. to the left) also definitely live up to their name and have a bit of a spicy-sweet taste!

Our third little creature is going to be slugs. This is another one people tend to dislike, especially if you enjoy walking around barefoot. You can actually have a lot of fun, garden wise, with keeping slugs at bay! You can pick from beautiful flowers like hydrangeas and foxgloves  or you could pick some edible plants like garlic, rosemary, and lettuce. If you have space to cover, you could also plant some stonecrop or bugleweed.

While planting to deal with bugs isn’t too hard, planting to deal with larger forest friends can be difficult. It can often cost a lot to seem awfully pointless. So a better approach may be urines. Coyote, bobcat, and fox urine are all popular choices to keep deer, rabbits, skunks, and other animals a bit further from your yard. These are natural methods that while quite unpleasant to ingest and definitely not recommended, wouldn’t cause too much damage. Personally, I recommend a spray as opposed to granules. Both are great choices but the spray lowers the chance of someone accidentally ingesting it.

To learn more about planting for safe pest control, follow the links below!

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(this blog is courtesy of writer Jerrika Latham)


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