The Best Wasp Repellent PlantsThere are quite a few aromatic plants that will repel wasps because of their aroma or because other insects that wasps feed on are deterred. Using plants to deter wasps is healthier for your family and the environment than using chemicals and toxic sprays. I’ve mentioned before how we actually do need wasps, as mean as they are. They eat pests that munch on our crops when no other bug will. I’d much rather have wasps do the job than pesticides, don’t you agree? But we sure don’t want the wasps flying around when we are eating outside or playing with our kids. They are especially scary for those allergic to wasps.
Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly.For plants and flowers, wasps are beneficial insects that aid in pollination. Wasps also feed on insects that harm plants. Since they protect our crops, make ecosystems thrive, sustain fruit and flowers, and might help us fight disease, wasps are actually beneficial and crucial to this world but that doesn’t mean we have to welcome them into our yards!
What plants repel wasps and bees?Wasps are attracted to certain kinds of plants, so keeping these plants out of your yard is a good way to keep these insects away. Some plants that repel wasps are those that are very aromatic as described below. Photo credit: Flickr
Wormwood Herb as a Wasp RepellentWormwood contains absinthe, a substance that is toxic to insects. Its pungent scent alerts bees and wasps of the potential danger so they usually stay away. Wormwood has silvery green leaves and has a pale yellow flower and is easy to incorporate into any flower bed. Wormwood is an herb and the above-ground plant parts and oil are used for medicine. Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is a Healing Herb Besides repelling wasps, wormwood is an amazing herb that is known to help heal cancer! It can also be used to treat anorexia, insomnia, anemia, a lack of appetite, flatulence, stomach aches, jaundice and indigestion. So it has so many benefits you can’t go wrong growing this herb. To make wormwood tea, steep 1 tsp of dried wormwood herb (let it dry upside down) in boiling water for 5-15 minutes.
Spearmint to Keep Wasps AwayAccording to Jordan Foster, a certified pest technician for 10 years at Fantastic Pest Control in UK, “[mint] is one of the most known plants that repels almost any insect and bug including wasps. The reason behind this is because mint vapors a strong scent which is not appreciated by the wasps. You can plant the mint in pots and leave them in your garden close to your home.” This is one of my favorite wasp repellent plants that repel wasps because it smells good and it’s so easy to grow. But be advised to grow it away from other plants or grow it in a pot due to its invasive, spreading rhizomes. You can also dig a hole in the ground and put the pot with the bottom cut out in the ground to keep the herb from spreading. Spearmint prefers partial shade, but can flourish in full sun to mostly shade with well-draining, rich, moist soil and a pH of 6.5 to 7. Mint is easiest to grow from plants, but you can sow seed once the ground has warmed in the spring.
Wasps Hate ThymeThyme is a perennial that pretty much grows itself and one of the best wasp deterrent plants. In fact, the more you fuss with it, the less hardy it will be. Thyme is most fragrant and flavorful when grown in dry, lean soil in full sun. Too much moisture will rot the plants. Allow soil to go completely dry between watering, then soak thoroughly. Thyme is an evergreen shrub that has been used in medicinal and culinary applications for thousands of years. Thyme can relieve stress, reduce respiratory issues, improve heart health, boost the strength of the immune system, protect against chronic diseases, stimulate blood flow, and prevent fungal infections.
EucalyptusPlant eucalyptus in mid to late spring or fall, depending on your location and climate. Be sure to water the tree both before and after planting. Dig the hole slightly larger than the root ball, and take care with the tree’s roots during planting, as they do not like being disturbed. There’s no need to spread out the roots while planting, as this could damage their sensitive root system. Back fill the area and lightly tamp the soil to remove any air pockets.
Eucalyptus is an effective insect repellent and insecticide. In 1948, the United States officially registered eucalyptus oil as an insecticide and miticide, for killing mites and ticks.Oil of lemon eucalyptus is recommended by some as an insect repellant; it is effective at keeping mosquitoes away.
LemongrassLemongrass has natural insecticidal properties which causes it to repel mosquitoes and wasps, who hate the smell. Lemongrass will need a lot of nitrogen, so you should fertilize at least monthly with either a standard or high-nitrogen formula. Water your plant regularly and don’t let it completely dry out, especially when the weather is very hot. Once your plant gets to 3 feet or so in height, you may want to keep the tops of the leaves cut down even more than what you are taking for an actual harvest. This can help keep the size of the plant down. While inside, a lemongrass plant needs as much sun as you can offer with a minimum of 6 hours a day. It may thrive as an indoor-only plant but you won’t get as many stalks from it.
PennyroyalPennyroyal features rounded, bushy, purple flowers and small oval-shaped leaves running down brown stems. It deters wasps, chiggers, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks – it’s by far one of the best natural wasp repellent plants. Pennyroyal can be propagated from seed, cuttings or spring division. The seed needs light to germinate but grows quickly once it sprouts. Plant them in prepared seed beds outside after all danger of frost. Sow the seed on the surface of the soil and mist the bed to moisten it. Keep it moist and germination should occur in two weeks. European pennyroyal makes a wonderful trailing plant when grown in a hanging basket or at the edges of mixed color containers. American pennyroyal can be grown indoors in troughs or outside in the kitchen garden. You can actually rub fresh leaves on your skin for a natural insect repellent! If you already have mosquito bites, pennyroyal leaves can be rubbed onto the bites to relieve the itch!
Do marigolds keep wasps away?Wasps don’t enjoy the smell of marigolds, therefore they don’t come near them. Marigold are also beneficial in keeping other insects away like mosquitos. Also, according to Foster, marigolds are “known to repel many flying insects and probably this is the reason why you can barely see wasps around it (as wasps feed on other insects and if there are no insects, no wasps can be spotted). The flower doesn’t need a lot of care. Just plant it directly in your garden, water it and that’s all.”
Ruta Graveolens Can Keep Away WaspsAccording to Elle Meager, founder of Outdoor Happens, one of the best herbs to keep wasps away from your garden, and your home, is Rue (Ruta graveolens). Rue is a small perennial herb, growing around 2 feet tall. It’s covered in oil glands that secrete a very strong odor. Many insects (and other animals) hate the smell of Rue, and it is very effective for keeping wasps away. It also keeps flies away from your bins, fleas from the dogs, and fruit flies from fruit trees. Meager describes rue as easy to propagate from seed, root division, or cuttings so you can grow yourself an arsenal for free. Make a repellent using rue For areas where you need protection but can’t grow a plant, make a Rue repellent by infusing the leaves in boiling water. Use 2-3 tablespoons per cup of boiling water. Infuse for at least 10 minutes. Leave it to cool, then use a spray bottle to spray it where you need it. Please note that Rue applied directly to the skin can cause sensitivity, so don’t spray it on yourself or your pets. As a nice side benefit, hang Rue leaves in your pantry and wardrobes to keep insects like cockroaches, moths, and silverfish away!
Evergreen Shrubs for Wasp ControlThese bushes look great in the garden or yard, especially when they are maintained regularly. “Not only that but wasps hate the shrubs because of the piney scent”, Foster says.
Plants that attract waspsHere are some plants that attract wasps that you wouldn’t want around your home!
- Sweet Fennel
- Queen Anne’s Lace
If you do get stung, try these Home Remedies for Wasp Stings to take that pain away. “These are the tested and proven herbs and flowers you can try to repel wasps. Even though they will minimize the presence of the stingers, it won’t guarantee that wasps will be gone forever. You might still spot one or two here and there as they might have built nest somewhere close to the garden but far from the plants,” says Foster of Fantastic Pest Control. He goes on to say, “This is why we always recommend hiring a professional wasp exterminators as they will detect the nest and treat it properly. This way wasps will not have a reason to be around the garden or your house, and will build their nest somewhere else.”