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7 Plants That Repel Insects


7 Plants That Repel Insects

 Springtime is just around the corner and many of us are beginning to put our garden/yard plans together.

A friend shared an article with me that I just had to pass on. I personally don’t like using chemical repellants in/on/or near the food I plan to eat. So why not use beneficial plants to do some of the hard work for us?

 The warmer months are on their way, and what does that mean? Bugs! If you are not into using chemicals to repel bugs, read on for some great plants that are natural insect repellents!

Think about it: repelling insects naturally, and sprucing up your space with beautiful plants- what could be better?

 You will find MANY more beneficial articles, such as this at the following website. Original article published from this website, with minor additions and corrections by myself. You will find the useful link at the bottom of this article


Not only is it fragrant and beautiful, but mint has an added benefit: ants and mice absolutely hate it! Plant a few sprigs of mint around your house, near your entryways, to keep those pests out of the way. Added bonus: you will have fresh, home grown mint to  add to those summer recipes and drinks! ( )


Basil is fragrant and is used in many different recipes, but also for medicinal purposes as well! Place some potted basil plants in areas where flies are common to help deter them. Basil is great to place near your outdoor grill or picnic tables, where flies like to gather. Don’t forget that basil needs to be watered at the roots and not the leaves.

bay-leafBay Leaves

The bitter plant is often used for its fragrance in cooking, but, bugs hate the scent. You can use bay leaves to repel flies, moths, mice, earwigs and roaches. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have fresh bay leaf plants, you can use dried bay leaves to get the same results!  (Also very handy when used completely dried for your long-term storage grains and flours!)


Yes, that catnip, the same greenery that makes your kitten go crazy, can repel bugs as well! Talk about a multi-tasker! Some studies even show that catnip might be more effective at repelling insects than DEET (the powerful ingredient commonly found in insect repellents). You can take a few leaves of catnip, roll them around and press them onto the skin, and viola! Bugs won’t want to be anywhere near!


One of the “oldest tricks in the book” when it comes to insect repelling plants, citronella is famous for making bugs hate it! Citronella is used in all sort of candles, torches, and insect repellents, but using the “real deal” a/k/a the live plant is much more effective. Citronella is a large clumping grass that looks great in flower beds and patio planters. Try to place your citronella plants near places where people gather for the best effect.

Lemon BalmLemon Balm

Lemon balm is a plant that is in the mint family, and produces a strong lemony odor that many pests hate. You can use lemon balm for a plethora of medical reasons, from cold sores to digestive issues. Plant lemon balm near your entrance ways or patios, and you can also crush it up and rub it onto your skin for an immediate effect. (I personally recommend keeping this in a container. It is very prolific and it will not take much time to take over any ground space it is given!)


Everyone loves lavender for its beautiful purple flowers and calm, relaxing scent. However, bugs don’t like it so much! Keep lavender growing in your patio planters or garden to keep the bugs away. You can also hang dried lavender in your closet, and you will never have to worry about moths eating your clothes!

As you can see, there are many different plants that repel insects. Whether you are looking to repel insects in your garden, on your patio, or even inside your home, there are plenty of choices out there. It is easy to repel pests naturally without using any chemicals! I have found that many of these plants are quite useful in flower boxes and are being used this year around my home entry!


    The very definition of ‘survival” is someone starting a fire without matches. What survival class goes without a fire starting class? So to suggest that a fire is not always an essential survival need is near heresy.  But all the other mammals do survive without the benefit of fire. Even in the arctic many species thrive without knowing how to start a fire.  Eskimos have no access to firewood in most places and get by with no fire or with very little heat from oil stoves.  The animals and primitive man survives by conserving body heat alone. 

   I am not suggesting that fire is not important. But I am stating that in many cases its value is only psychological and in some cases it may be more of a liability than an asset to survival.  In all cases, shelter, keeping dry and the conservation of body heat should take priority over fire building.  Putting aside the psychological benefits * of a campfire, lets look at the physical benefits of a fire under different conditions.


  • Warm Dry Nights:  On a warm dry night a large fire is just not necessary for survival.  A small twig-fire may be needed for cooking, water purification or some smoke to ward off insects.  A camp fire will have you breathing smoke, ruin your night vision, attract unwanted attention and could cause forest fire.  Insect repellent and a compact stove would be much better.  If you must have a fire, make it a small one before dark.  A dark camp is practically invisible and generally safer.


  • Rainy Weather:  It takes skill, time and luck to start a fire in wet weather. Damp fires are hard to keep going and put out little heat. Getting wet and using energy while trying to gather wood and start a fire may not be worth the trouble.  Staying dry and finding shelter far outweigh fire making in your survival priorities. A good rain poncho and a mini stove heating up a hot drink will do much better.  The exception is if one is already soaked and hypothermia is a danger.  In that case a big fire may be a necessity if it can be achieved.


  • Cold Windy Weather: In a cold wind, without shelter most of a fires heat blows away and the fuel burns fast.  Cold air is drawn into the fire past the people around it, taking away more heat than they get.  Snow melts around the fire resulting in damp feet and boots.  What heat you do get from a fire under these conditions is from radiation, but you loss more from convection of cold air going into the fire.  If you have a good shelter at your back (e.g. lean-to, rocks, etc.) and a reflector on the other side of the fire you can get some benefits.  You are better off in a tent and blankets or sleeping bag than in the open around a fire in these conditions.


  • Cold Calm Weather:  In low winds and low temperatures a campfire has real value.  A modest fire can provide heat, cooking, water purification, and snow melting for water.  Combined with a shelter and a reflector, it can provide real comfort.  We still have the energy and the time spent on building and maintain the fire, but it may be well worth the effort in this case. 


   Fire often gives the allusion of warmth and safety while actually putting you at risk.  Fire is a luxury, not a necessity.  You can survive without it. Shelter, clothing, food and energy conservation are more important. People have survived long periods in even arctic conditions by holding up in shelter.  Eating hot food and drinks to get heat into the body does more than a fire outside the body.  A small stove or twig fire can be used for this.  Always carry a wool cap and extra socks. 50% 0f your body heat escapes through the top of your head.  The cap will probably do more to keep you warm than a fire. The extra socks can replace wet ones or be used as mittens to protect the hands. Carry a 24’ x 24” sheet of folded HD aluminum foil in all your survival kits.  It can be used as a reflector for a small fire or fashioned into a pot to melt snow and heat water to drink.

   Always carry three ways to start a fire. I recommend: waterproof matches, a lighter and a magnesium metal-match.  When in a survival situation stay dry, get out of the wind, conserve heat and energy and then consider the risks and benefits of building a fire. Stay warm and safe.


Extra Stuff In Your Pack

Extra Stuff In Your Pack

   I do not remember when I had my first  “survival pack”.   I do remember that after World War Two ever boy had access to a variety of discarded military items brought home by relatives.  Every kid had knapsacks, army shovels,   “clamshell” mess kits, army blankets, canteens, as well as pup tents and a variety of web gear.  Having a rather unsecure childhood, I soon tended to pack various “survival” items and supplies into an old army pack.  Through some very rough times the existence of the pack provide a level of comfort when nothing else did.  I still have a few of the original items and even the original army blanket.  By this time in life I probably have built, rebuilt and updated my pack 25-30 times.  I seldom do “survival pack” classes or articles anymore since so many others are doing them.  Beyond the basics of water, food, shelter, hygiene and first-aid there are a few items that the would-be survivor might (or might not) have overlooked.  I have written more detailed articles about each item in Live Free’s American Survivor newsletter.

 Binoculars or a Monocular:  Even a cheap small pair of binoculars in the 4 to 6 power range gives you a great advantage.  You can see what’s coming before it gets to you and you can see where you are going before you get there.  You can scout out safe routs and safe locations. You can locate campsites and hazards.  You have a big advantage when you need it most.

 A small AM/FM/WB Radio:  Don’t depend on cell phone APS.  I used to carry a little “transistor radio” in the 70s.  Today you can get very small AM/FM/WB radios that are crank, battery and solar powered and even can recharge your cell phone.  You need to know what’s going on out there and what’s coming your way.  

 A folding shovel:  Way back I had a big army shovel that was way too heavy to carry around.  I substituted a garden trowel for many years.  Now you can get a variety of small lightweight shovels.  These are great for sanitation, fire management and shelter building.   Some come with axe and saw blades

 Tyvek ™ suit:  These are the white hooded coveralls you see used by medical technicians, painters, etc.  I always carry one in my pack.  This is a chemical, fallout, biological protection worn over my clothing or an emergency body covering if my clothing needs to be decontaminated or dried.  It also is good winter camouflage.  They are cheap, weigh very little and take up very little pack space.

 N-95, dust/mist mask:  These are available in painting supply stores.  I recommend carrying one in your jacket pockets and at least 2-4 in your pack.  Combined with the Tyvek ™ suit or just a rain poncho you have some NBC protection. In survival conditions a lot of nasty things (e.g. dust, smoke, toxics) will be in the air.  They also should help conserve body heat loss from respiration in cold weather.

 Pain Killer including aspirin:  Survival situations will result in a variety of injuries, illnesses, strains and stress.  For those over 50-years of age, aspirin is a must as it may be the only option you have for preventing or reducing the effects of a heart attack.  Pain will reduce your overall survival effectiveness.  A doctor told me that combination of 2 Tylenol and 3 Alive tablets taken together is safe and will give pain relief comparable to codeine.

 Seasoning and bullion: You may need to hunt, forage and eat foods you are not accustomed to.  Consider having beef and chicken bullion cubs and maybe a few of your favorite seasonings. 

 Spare glasses:  Put that old prescription pair or reading glasses or at least a good magnifying glass in the pack.  You are going to need to do some reading and fine work in survival situations.

 Don’t forget sever pair of extra socks and foot powered.  I always keep my pack in a tote bin for extra protection.  I keep a pair of good boots and a weapon and ammo in there with it.  This makes it a one grab and go if necessary.

Benefits of Live Free USA Membership

Benefits of Live Free USA Membership


1.    Subscription to American Survivor newsletter packed with practical survival and self-reliance information and ideas.  America’s original, oldest and best survival newsletter.  Members joining on-line can access each new issue as well as many back issues.  Those choosing to join by mail or requesting hard copies will get current publication in the mail.


2.    Special Publication including copies of the latest flyers for Live Free events, special downloadable books, and papers


3.    The opportunity to participate in Live Free USA sponsored survival education seminars and field programs


4.    Periodic Live Free Reports keep you updated on Live Free USA programs, activities and opportunities.


5.    Optional for those who provide a mailing address.  Special Mailings (or e-mailings)  warning of special threats to your families survival and battle to become more prepared and self-reliant. 


6.    Eligibility to become a Live Free USA officer, instructor or chapter leader


7.    Special offers on Live Free USA logo pins, caps, patches, T-shirts and other items


8.    Membership in America’s oldest and most respected survival and preparedness organization as it leads the way to a safer and freer future.


9.    Knowing that your membership dues and contributions are used exclusively to promote and support the preparedness and self-reliance movement and public preparedness education.  Live Free USA is a registered not-for-profit, tax deductable organization with no paid employees.