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Plants for Pest Repellent That Actually Work!

It’s summer and the bugs are out! Sure, we’ve all heard of using cedar for moths and citronella for mosquitoes, but what other natural remedies out there actually WORK? Here is a list of common pests and their all-natural, plant-based repellents. Natural plant-based repellents are safe to use around kids and pets, and can be a handy addition in a flower shop where pesticides can damage flowers.


It can be impossible to get rid of fleas. If your inside animal gets into them, they’re pretty much everywhere, but here are some natural repellents to get fleas under control.

fleabaneCitrus – for natural flea control. Slice a lemon into 4 pieces. Score the skin to release more essential oil. Pour a cup of boiling water over your lemon and allow to sit overnight. Sponge onto your dog and spritz around your house. Sponge yourself before leaving the house to prevent bites.

Cedar – Cedar and cedar oil are natural flea deterrents. Create sachets or use oil to keep fleas away. Commercially made cedar dog beds are also available.

Fleabane – One of my favorite wildflowers, fleabane is a weed you may want to keep around for flea control. (Pictured right)

Eucalyptus – Use the scent of eucalyptus leaves to repel fleas.

Tansy – a colorful flower to grow in your garden, the tansy also works for flea control.

Lemon Grass or Citronella – also good for mosquitoes, growing this plant will keep your fleas away.


The south is definitely mosquito country, and the FSN headquarters just so happens to be very near the Rice Capitol of the World. This means we are near many… mannnnny fields of standing water. Which also means mosquito central, we understand the need for this type of pest control!

Rosemary – burning rosemary is a great way to combat mosquitoes. Throw a few springs onto your BBQ grill and enjoy the delicious flavor and a bug free environment!

Sage – works the same as rosemary. (see above)

Marigolds – planting these in your flowerbeds and around your entrances to keep mosquitoes at bay. They don’t like the smell.

Thai Citronella – considered more potent against mosquitoes than true citronella.

Other Plant Oils to Consider – Cinnamon Oil, Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Cinnamon Oil, Rosemary Oil, Garlic Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Cedar Oil, Peppermint Oil, Clove Oil and Geranium Oil.


Ants can be a tough pest to get rid of, they seem to be everywhere!! Try these safe, all-natural repellents and worry no more!

Mint – Ants don’t like mint. Place a few springs at their points of entry.

Bitter Cucumber – Ants have a natural aversion to cucumber, bitter works best.

Citrus – spray across their points of entry. You can also soak string in citrus oil and ‘rope’ off your ants.

Garlic – slip a few pieces of crushed garlic into their crooks and crannies. They will not be going there anymore!

Pepper – black or cayenne will work. Sprinkle near their gathering places to send ants packing!

Cinnamon – works same as pepper. (see above)


CatnipCatnip – A natural repellent to cockroaches, catnip can be a lifesaver. Make a sachet of dried catnip and place in the roaches favorite gathering places. You can also boil fresh catnip in hot water to make a tea to spray. Use with caution if you have cats who are highly affected by catnip.

Hedgeapple – The fruit of the Osage orange tree is an amazing repellent to cockroaches. The tree is native to America and grows naturally in Texas and Oklahoma. I have not tried this one, but they say simply setting a hedgeapple in your room is enough to deter roaches for 2 months.

Bay leaves – Bay leaves can easily be tucked into cracks and other tiny hiding places to keep roaches OUT!

Garlic – works the same as bay leaves. (see above)

Cucumbers – works same as bay leaves. (see above)


Mint – the smell of mint is enough to keep flies away. Make small sachets of mint and hide all over your house, for great smell and a fly-free home.

Eucalyptus – works same as mint (see above)

Basil – Not only does it smell amazing and taste great, it naturally keeps flies away. This is a great herb to plant near entrances and in your yard. Sweet basil may work best.

As you can see, there are many plants and natural repellents that can help with the summer bugs and pests. Before you start spraying chemicals around your home, kids, and pets, try out some a few of these organic methods. You probably already have most of these plants around your home!

Do you have any natural remedies you know to work? Leave a comment below and we will add it to the list!

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  1. Thanks for the nice article!

  2. will it never end? years ago we happened to rent a house with cockroaches below the sink . having heard many times hedge apples would chase them away i decided,instead of just setting them in there whole,i sliced them up for full effect of what ever magical properties they had within.later that night i flung open the door below the sink only to find the roaches crawling on the hedge apple slices. stop repeating this old wives tale!

  3. Ahhhh… Every so often you’ll run into the proverbial non-conformist bug that NOBODY seems to be able to drive off; but, just because this remedy didn’t perform for you in this instance doesn’t negate the positive outcomes that others have attested to. If you DO find some remedy that IS useful for you, and is generally non-toxic to those we love, PLEASE post it! One more proven weapon against one more especially belligerant bug is greatly welcome ! Who knows how many are, right now, in exactly that same predicament. I, for one, am anxious for a positive outcome. Just my humble opinion. . .

  4. I have to say, that my ants in the garden do not mind mint at all, and they actually climb up the cucumber vines and farm aphids on them… They are Argentinian type of ants, that Los Angeles is full of. I used borax with sugar, and that seemed to reduce them, but not hundred percent sure as it became colder too.

  5. Sorry, but garlic does not work

  6. hi- if you want to see if you have roaches around and catch them – one thing i found works (the hard way) is to put out a glass of port. Those pests just crawl up the side and fall in dying drunk…. I found this out the hard way – drinking port one night in the dark – needless to say i know port attracts and drowns cockroaches personally —- and they are crunchy!!!!!

  7. Omar von Gimbel says:

    Talcum powder repeals ants.

    At Wat Metta, a Buddhist monastery in Valley Center, CA, they surround the buildings and huts with about a 2″ wide unbroken pile of talcum powder. The ants hate that stuff, and will not cross the line.

    I suppose it only works when the ants originate from outside the building, but that’s a lot of ants. Plus, if your house has a crawl space under it, you could put a layer down on the ground under the house too.

  8. This isn’t natural but there is something in pine sol that kills and deters ants from going into an area that has been cleaned or sprayed with it. I found it b by accident after cleaning some sugar up that had ants crawling in it. I went back to find the stragglers keeling over. They never came back.

  9. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Debra,
    The scent of Pine Sol is known to deter ants and other insects. I don’t know about it killing them, but if it is keeping them away, that’s a bonus!

  10. rebecca grundmeyer says:

    for ants, sprinkle uncooked grits. they will eat it, bloat up and die. moth balls have driven mouse away at my house but don’t believe the tale that dogs will not eat them. I had one that went right for them. fortunately I got to her before she was harmed.

  11. If the hedge apples did not work,use cucumber fruit…It is very effective or scent leaf

  12. Doris Woolverton says:

    Pennyroyal works great to deter fleas, ticks, chiggers and roaches. It is a perennial and can be grown in hanging planters or as a ground cover. Boil the leaves and dilute the ‘tea. I have used it on my cats and dogs for years. I have sprayed it in my home and use the dried leftover leaves from the tea to put it in hard to reach places in my home. My grandmother was Native American and used a lot of natural home remedies. This one has worked on chickens (yeah we had them and it was my job to take care of them), cows and horses.

  13. james craddock says:

    what is a good plant to repel fruit flies

  14. Jamie Woods says:

    Lavender, basil, and mint are all good options to try for repelling fruit flies.

  15. Thanks for sharing insights about repellent that best works. I will try suggestions in this blog. Hope to read more from you.

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