CPR First Aid

Houseplants that Keep Bugs Away

Let’s face it, bugs exist and they are living organisms that also need food and shelter. Both of these may be available in our homes which is why they may visit us often or even become our housemates. Unfortunately, these uninvited guests secretly eat a share of our food, are annoying, scary, and even bite. The bites of these bugs may cause redness, swelling, itchiness, and irritation to the skin.

In worst cases, their bites may trigger severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, which may be lethal, especially if not applied with a proper first aid treatment. Furthermore, these bugs may also transmit diseases that may be deadly through their bodies and their bites. Such undesired effects may be avoided if these bugs cannot enter our homes in the first place. Fortunately, this may be possible with the help of the below house plants that are said to be effective in repelling bugs.

List of Houseplants that Repel Bugs

Multiple resources like Electodry list the following houseplants that may help in repelling bugs. It is possible since these contain certain substances and compounds. One of their effects is the possibility of affecting the sensors of the bugs. As a result, the bugs are unable to detect their target, making them stay away from them. These plants may be placed anywhere in the house and may be best put near possible entrances and hideouts of bugs.

Electrodry and others suggest houseplants can repel bugs with their substances, affecting bug sensors.

Basil as a Houseplant that Repels Bugs

Metode lists the following compounds found in basil that make it an effective house plant against bugs:

  • Citronellal.
  • Limonene.
  • Nerolidol.
  • Estragole.

The last compound is also said to be responsible for the basil’s perfume-like and aromatic scent when its leaves are rubbed.

Bugs that may be Kept Away by Basil

Basil is said to be effective in keeping the following bugs away:

These bugs are said to be unable to recognise a meal when their heat and carbon dioxide sensors are interrupted by the above-mentioned compounds in basil plants.

Using Basil as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

A basil plant may be put near the windowsills and/or terrace. Its leaves may also be mixed with a carrier oil to produce basil oil that may be applied to the skin. In doing so, we may be able to keep the bugs away from us.

Risk of Using Basil as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

WebMD mentions that basil oil applied to the skin may be safe in concentrations of up to 6% for 12 weeks. Usage of related holy basil may be taken with precautions, especially for people who have allergies to mint (Lamiaceae plant family).

Mint as a Houseplant that Repels Bugs

Menthol is the active ingredient in the mint plant’s leaves, according to eHow. It has biocidal properties and is effective in controlling bugs. This ingredient is present in many types of mints such as the Spearmint and peppermint plants which may be the most commonly used bug repellent.

Bugs that may be Kept Away by Mint

The same source said that mints are commonly used to keep mosquitoes and fleas away. In addition, they mentioned that other types of mints may be effective in repelling other types of non-bug animals like ticks.

Using Mint as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

A mint plant may be placed in the kitchen or around the doorways in pots. Its oil (if mixed according to a suggested formula), may also be used in relieving itches from bug bites according to Mosquito Magnet.

Risks of Using Mint as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

This study about Peppermint and its oil stated that a percentage of the population:

  • Were allergic to peppermint and/or to its oil.
  • Experienced acute dermal toxicity who were sensitive to it.
  • Acquired skin irritation.
  • Suffered from various health issues.

Such health issues include comatose, pulmonary oedema, acute lung injury, and allergies.

Catnip as a Houseplant that Repels Bugs

Catnip produces iridoids that contain arthropod-repellent effects, which make it another useful bug repellent.

Catnip contains iridoids, repelling bugs effectively.

Bugs that may be Kept Away by Catnip

One article in Science News detailed a study that concluded catnips may be used in rebuffing mosquitoes and cockroaches. It may even be more effective than diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), the most common active ingredient in many commercially available bug repellents.

Using Catnip as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

For 30 minutes of freedom from bugs, Tyrant Farms instructs its readers to rub some fresh catnip leaves between their hands, then apply them to the skin. If this time frame is too short, then re-application of the leaves of this house plant may be done as necessary.

Risks of Using Catnip as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

The results of this study show that catnip caused slight irritation to the subjects, but it did not result in dermal or inhalation toxicity.

Chrysanthemums as a Houseplant that Repels Bugs

Chrysanthemums contain a neurotoxin called Pyrethrin that kills bugs as stated in Modern Pest.

This compound excites a bug’s nervous system, which then makes them paralyzed, and may lead to their death. Such may happen if a bug touches or eats the leaves of a Chrysanthemum plant.

Bugs that may be Kept Away by Chrysanthemums 

This plant may be effective in keeping the following bugs away according to the same source and other websites:

  • Mosquitoes.
  • Beetles.
  • Ants.
  • Fleas.

This list also includes ticks, a non-bug pest that make Chrysanthemums a good option to be an insect repellent, especially for gardeners.

Using Chrysanthemums as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

La Jolla outlines the following steps in turning this plant into dust:

  1. Picking full Chrysanthemum flowers (not wilt).
  2. Drying the flowers in a place with good circulation.
  3. Grinding them into a fine powder.

The powder may then be sprinkled around areas of the house and even on plants to prevent bugs.

Risks of Using Chrysanthemums as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

A study released by Science Direct adds Chrysanthemums as among the many irritants that may cause acute and chronic dermatitis.

Lavender as a Houseplant that Repels Bugs

This plant contains linalool that has proven antimicrobial and insect-repellent properties as stated in this article. These properties make lavender another option to prevent bugs from coming inside the house. The same compound is attributed to the serene and floral scent of lavenders.

Linalool in lavender has antimicrobial & insect-repellent properties, making it a natural bug deterrent. Its serene scent comes from this compound.

Bugs that may be Kept Away by Lavender

A few studies like the one mentioned in Insect Cop state that lavender was found to be effective against:

  • Mosquitoes.
  • Fleas.
  • Ants.

Lavender is also said to be a good repellent against other types of pests such as flies, ticks, moths, and mice.

Using Lavender as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

The same website states that this plant may be a good bug repellent by:

  1. Add 1-2 drops of its oil to an ounce of carrier oil.
  2. Use the mixture as a daily moisturizer to keep bugs away from you.

Another method is to have a bug-repellent body wash instead by mixing 10-15 drops of lavender oil with a bar of liquid soap. The dried leaves of this house plant can also be turned into sachets that can be put in any part of the house to keep bugs away and to have an air freshener.

Risks of Using Lavender as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

This site discourages the application of concentrated oil of this house plant directly on the skin. It may be due to some reports of people experiencing redness and itching after getting in contact with lavender.

Geranium as a Houseplant that Repels Bugs

This website says that Geranium is proven to repel bugs as it contains a chemical called geraniol. It is included in almost every essential oil and is even an ingredient of a commercially available bug spray.

Bugs that may be Kept Away by Geranium

In the Journal of Vector Ecology, geraniol was studied to be effective in repelling mosquitoes both indoors and outdoors. Bed bug insiders say that this effect may be similar to bed bugs.

Using Geranium as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

A pot of geranium plant may be put inside areas of the house like the bedroom. This plant will give off a scent that is said to keep mosquitoes and bed bugs away.

Risks of Using Geranium as a Houseplant to Keep Bugs Away

This plant council says that this plant is “not known” to be toxic. But like any other plant, its diluted oil may cause a rash or burning sensation to some users.

Where to Find Houseplants That Keep Bugs Away?

Fortunately, there are different garden centres in Perth which offer the seeds and potted plants of the above-mentioned bug-repellent plants. One of them is Guilford Garden Centre which delivers to the Perth metro area. At the same time, various suppliers and companies also offer the ready-to-use oils of these bug-repellent plants that may be bought online.

Common Bugs in Perth

Perth Pest Control lists the following common bugs that are considered pests:

  • Ants.
  • Bed bugs.
  • Mosquitoes.
  • Cockroaches.
  • Fleas.
  • Lawn beetles.

All of these bugs may have caused different problems for homeowners.

Why do We need to Keep Bugs Away?

Aside from being a nuisance, these bugs have been reported to do and cause the following problems which may be considered unhealthy and unsafe for humans.

Bugs may Cause Food Poisoning

As per ABC News’ post, bugs produce bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Such may be transferred to our food which may lead to poisoning. It may be identified with the following common symptoms:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.

These symptoms may be felt for a while unless the food poisoning is very serious and fatal. It may vary depending on the bug that contaminated the food consumed by a human.

Food that may be contaminated by Bugs

The same source lists the following food that may be contaminated by bugs:

  • Starchy food.
  • Vegetables.
  • Meat.
  • Fish.
  • Milk.
  • Fruit juice.
  • Drinking water.
  • Seafood.

This list of food may be contaminated with different bacteria and viruses depending on the bug.

Bugs Bite

The bites of these bugs have been reported to cause the following effects on the skin:

These effects may last for hours to days, especially if not treated with first aid properly. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) may also occur in people who have allergies to their bites, and it may be life-threatening. Such may also be provided with a first aid response by a first aider who may have enrolled in a first aid course in 123C Colin St West Perth 6005.

Bugs Transmit Diseases

Aside from treatable to deadly allergic reactions, the bites of these bugs may also cause transmission of disease from one person to another. Most of these bugs are known to carry different types of diseases that may impose a risk to someone’s health and life.

Diseases Transmitted by Mosquitoes

Better Health mentions the following disease a mosquito may pass on to people through their bites:

  • Murray Valley encephalitis.
  • Ross River.
  • Barmah Forest.
  • Dengue.

These diseases may cause a person to feel ill or even die in severe cases.

Diseases Transmitted by Cockroaches

According to Canberra Pest Control, cockroaches may transfer the following infections and diseases:

  • Salmonellosis.
  • Campylobacteriosis.
  • Listeriosis.
  • E. coli infections.
  • Typhoid fever.
  • Cholera.
  • Dysentery.
  • Leprosy.
  • Plague.
  • Asthma.

These may be transmitted through this bug’s droppings, saliva, and body.

Diseases Transmitted by Fleas

This post states that fleas transmit tapeworm larvae and the disease murine typhus. It may be identified with the following minor symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Chills.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Skin rash.

Major symptoms on the other hand include cough, eye infection, and jaundice. If left untreated, this disease may end up affecting the Central Nervous System causing confusion, seizures, and lethargy.


Certain plants like Basil, Mint, Catnip, Chrysanthemums, and Lavender were found to be effective in keeping bugs away. These may be planted in pots and put in different areas of the house to prevent bugs from getting inside. At the same time, the diluted oils of these house plants may be mixed with a moisturizer and/or a body wash to produce a bug repellent that may be applied to the skin with precautions. In doing so, the bugs and their bites may be avoided which may trigger minor to severe allergic reactions and even transmit diseases.



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