11 Magical Plants that Will Protect You from Those Evil Summer Bugs

Now I know these bugs aren’t really evil, and they all serve a purpose (though I don’t see the purpose of mosquitoes–those guys are horrid). But when they start crawling on us, biting us, making webs in our houses, they must be stopped.


I am not one to kill a bug if I can help it, so stopping them before they land on me or get inside my house is the best way for me to endure these creepy-crawlers, while trying to let them live for their purpose. Maybe you feel the same if so. If so, then let me reassure you: there are tons of plants that will protect you from bugs.


Read on for more information about plants (and, in some cases, essential oils) that are hugely successful at repelling all sorts of bugs!


PEPPERMINT–Spiders, spiders everywhere in the good ol’ summertime.  Thanks to my husband and his big heart, I’m the first person (OK, maybe the second or third) to catch a spider in the house and set it free outside instead of killing it. But, I would so much rather not have to deal with it in the first place! That’s why peppermint is my herb of choice. Here’s my go-to peppermint oil spider-deterrent spray:

  • Step 1: Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1.5 cups of water.
  • Step 2: Add 20-25 drops of peppermint oil.
  • Step 3: Mix well and pour into a spray bottle.
  • Step 4: Thoroughly spray your windowsills, doorways, and dusty corners with this spray.

CEDARWOOD–Wood and oil from the cedar tree have been proven to repel a range of arthropods, including mosquitoes, ticks, and ants (including those dastardly fire ants). In other words, cedarwood is one of the best plants that will protect you from bugs! Cedarwood oil is also a great scent to add to a homemade deodorant (especially men’s)–love the double duty!

THYME–This amazing herb provides great protection against  the common house mosquito. You can also throw some thyme into a fire and get relief for 60-90 minutes.

CINNAMON—Thanks to cinnamon’s strong smell, it can  keep many bugs away , including silverfish, earwigs, bed bugs, wasps, and spiders. And for a bonus–it actually kills mosquito larvae!

LAVENDER–Repels spiders and flies. I’ve used this to repel mosquitoes too–I made a lavender topical (grab the recipe here) and made it through dusk unscathed. And believe me, mosquitoes (all bugs, really) love me!

LEMONGRASS–Protection against mosquitoes. Repellent compounds contained in this plant include alpha-pinene, citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. If you grow this yourself, you’ll also benefit by making delicious tea!

MEXICAN MARIGOLD–Protection against mosquitoes that carry malaria. These flowers are lovely and come with potential medicinal benefits as well.

ROSEMARY–It has a very intense smell and is toxic to insects due to the many compounds from its leaves and flowers. Lucky for you, this intense smell pairs nicely with roasted pork or poultry, so it can serve double-duty as a deterrent for pests in your garden and a delicious herb to use in cooking!

CATNIP—Repels the house fly and northern house mosquitoes. Catnip oil has been proven to be more effective than DEET, and it’s chemical-free! You can break off a leaf, crumble it, and rub the oil from it onto your body–simple as that! And if you have a feline friend, he’ll love the smell so much he won’t leave your side.

OREGANORepels bed bugs and ticks. This dual purpose plant will keep you safe from the bites and diseases of these bugs, while providing you with herbaceous meals that have their own health benefits to you.

LEMON EUCALYPTUS–Provides protection against mosquitoes for about 2 hours. The synthesized version of this plant is called p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD, which is recommended by the CDC as an insect repellent. PMD also showed better protection against ticks than DEET, by keeping the ticks associated with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever from attaching to the skin.

Other noteworthy oils you can use include eucalyptus, chrysanthemum, geranium/rose, clove, tea tree, vanilla, and neem.


Check out our Gardening Recipes for some different bug sprays and repellents. The great thing about the bug spray ingredients is that the essential oils can really be whatever bug-repelling scent you prefer. You are not tied down to the ones listed–feel free to shake it up!




Here is a round-up of products mentioned for your shopping convenience!

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