Kitchen Herbs You Didn’t Know Could Repel Insects

The key to banishing those pesky critters could be found in the ingredients of your humble pasta sauce

Photography: Pixabay (Main Photo)

The season of outdoor entertaining is coming up, and it’s our natural instinct to immediately reach for the bug spray. But instead of resorting to a spray with potentially toxic fumes, why not try all-natural repellents instead? You’ll be surprised to find a whole arsenal of bug repellents sitting in your kitchen pantry. Here are a few:


The fragrant leaf we often put in pasta or pizza could also repel mosquitoes and flies with their strong and distinct smell. Plant pots of fresh basil around your lanai or other outdoor areas where you congregate.


This popular flavoring agent for Thai cuisine contains citronella, a natural mosquito repellent, and could banish cockroaches, as well. Tie up lemongrass into tight bundles, and place in corners or areas where roaches may wander. Replace when dry. Like basil, you can also plant citronella in the outdoor areas where you lounge.

Bay leaves

The same leaf you add to your adobo can also drive away a number of pests. Tie up fresh or dry bundles of bay leaves to ward away flies, moths, and earwigs from the corners of your home. A bonus: if you burn bay leaves in a fireproof container (don’t leave it unattended), you can produce a soothing, incense-like scent for your room.


Mint’s strong and sharp odor can repel pests. Locate fresh pots of mint around your front door or kitchen door, and in the garden—the scent can drive away other insects that may infest other potted plants.


Are you finished seasoning your roast chicken? You may want to use those sprigs of rosemary as mosquito repellents by boiling one cup of dried rosemary in one quart of water. For the full recipe, click here.


The pointy leaves of this aromatic plant are often used for “smudging” or space cleansing, but it could be used as an insect repellent as well.  Create an-all natural repellent by combining sage stalks and cider vinegar and clicking on the full recipe here.

 Sources: and

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