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Insects like bees are an essential part of our ecosystem. They exist with the great purpose of pollinating our plants. A process that is extremely important for every living organism including plants.
As fundamental as it may be, not all of us humans are born happy to coexist with such bugs. Truth be told insects like bees and wasps naturally produce venom. This venom is a substance that is a highly potential allergen for some individuals.
The venom can be so potent that it can cause severe allergic reactions. Or worse, it can even lead the situation to death. For that very reason, some homeowners choose to steer clear of such kinds of bugs. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry.
In this article, allow us to share with you the plants you can incorporate in your garden to help repel bees and wasps. These crops have different properties that such insects find extremely unappealing. Hence, it effectively drives them away from your space. Et voila, worry no more. The problem is solved!
Planting to Prevent Dying
Okay, the heading may sound too morbid. However, this really is the reality. Getting stung by a bee or a wasp is no joke at all. It can inflict a wide range of reactions from simple swelling to severe anaphylactic reactions and death.
There are actually plenty of ways to kill these venomous bugs. Insecticides, in particular, are one of the most convenient and fast-acting solutions. Nevertheless, the majority of them are also chemical-laden products.
They not only affect the bees and wasps, but they can also target other beneficial bugs in our garden. Even more so, exposure to these chemicals can bioaccumulate in our bodies over the course of time. In the end, it is equally hazardous for our health too.
So yes, planting specific types of plants may not be the most aggressive way to deter bees and wasps from your garden. However, it is a natural, non-toxic, and absolutely sustainable method. Thus, a total win-win for you and the environment.
7 Plants That Effectively Repel Bees & Wasps
With wormwood plants, bees and wasps can’t seem to last. This aromatic herb is apparently way too pungent for these bugs to pass through.
The wormwood is scientifically referred to as Artemisia absinthium. Though it is a native in the temperate regions of Europe, it is now readily grown as well in parts of Asia, African, and America.
In appearance, this perennial plant comes with velvety silver-green straight stems up to 1.5 meters in height. These tall stems branch out to spiral-shaped leaves that are greenish-gray on top and white underneath. It also blooms with pale yellow bulbous flowers that grow in clusters.
Every part of this plant is prized for its medicinal properties. Wormwood is said to alleviate pain and inflammation. It is also good for treating various digestive issues including parasitism. On top of that, this herb is also rich in antioxidant. It contains a chemical compound called chamazulene which is thought to be effective to fight off oxidative stress.
Another very important component of wormwood is absinthe. This substance is toxic for most types of insects. The pungent smell this plant emits signals bees and wasps of potential danger. Hence, it drives them no way near wormwood plants.
Unfortunately, wormwood is also toxic to other plants. It contains an active ingredient called thujone. This compound is poisonous when ingested in large amounts. It can inhibit the growth of other crops hence must be planted at a safe distance from others. Due to its nature, however, this plant would work great when planted near unwanted weeds.
Quick tips for planting wormwood:
- Expose to direct sunlight
- Use well-draining soil
- Needs occasional watering and pruning
- Can do away with annual fertilization
- Best planted towards the end of frosting in Spring
Another herbaceous plant repelling bees and wasps is the basil. Basil is a plant that leans more towards the culinary side rather than treating various ailments. This tender leaf is available in a wide range of varieties. All contribute varying levels of aroma and flavor profiles.
Basil is scientifically referred to as Ocimum basilicum. It is an annual or sometimes perennial, plant that belongs to the family of Lamiaceae or mints. This classic culinary herb comes with oblong-shaped leaves that narrow out towards the tip. Most of the time, it comes in a dark green shade with a glossy finish.
This plant comes with a distinct herbaceous aroma like a blend of lemon, pepper, and mint. Nevertheless, what appeals as fragrant and tasty is not entirely the case for stinging bugs. In fact, this strong smell is what is exactly putting the insects off of this plant. Take note, though, this plant seems to work its charms more for wasps rather than the bees.
Regardless of that, it is still a plant worth growing in any home. It is good for deterring wasps and definitely great for adding flavor to your dishes too.
Quick tips for planting basil:
- Expose plant 6 to 8 hours under full sun
- Keep the plant under a shaded area the rest of the day
- Use well-draining soil medium
- Keep the soil moist enough
- Trim the flowers as soon as noticed to maximize their growth potential
Cucumber is another edible yet awesome bug repellant especially the wasps. This summer salad staple is a creeping vine that is scientifically referred to as Cucumis sativus. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae gourd family which originated in the South Asian region.
Just in case you are not aware yet, cucumber is actually a FRUIT rather than a vegetable as what most people think. However, others do consider it as a vegetable because of how it is used in cooking. This elongated cylindrical fruit contains about 95% water. And because of this, it produces a mildly sweet yet crisp and very refreshing taste.
Nevertheless, it is the peels that retract the bugs away. Cucumber’s skin is highly acidic which gives a bitter taste. Hence, bees and wasps are least likely attracted to hover around these types of plants.
Quick tips for planting cucumbers:
- Use loose, sandy loam soil or well-draining soil mix
- Best exposed under full sunlight
- Give at leave an inch of water per week
- Use water-soluble plant foods
- Provide plenty of space to grow
Now let’s move over here to flowering plants. Geranium is likely the most popular among all. It is scientifically called Pelargonium and it rightly belongs to the Geraniaceae family. This plant originated in the temperate regions of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Although, it may sound counterintuitive for bees to dislike flowers. Geranium, on the other hand, contains very little to no pollen. It is also said to emit a certain aroma to which insects like bees and wasps are not attracted.
Furthermore, do you know that bees are color blind to red?
Yes, bees can only see between the UV spectrum of 300 to 650 nanometers. Unfortunately, red is within the range of 800 nm. On that account, you can pretty much conclude that bees cannot see red flowers.
Using that weakness to your advantage, you can plant red geraniums in your garden to help deter bees. Not only does it add a touch of lovely red, but it also works great in keeping the stinging bugs at bay.
Quick tips for plant geraniums?
- Give 4 to 6 hours of sunlight exposure
- Water deeply once a week
- Avoid overhead irrigation
- Use water-soluble plant food with a 5-10-5 NPK ratio
- Move the plant inside your house during the wintertime
The marigold plant is another pretty yet effective bug deterrent, especially for wasps. It is scientifically referred to as Tagetes. It belongs to the Asteraceae or the sunflower family. Marigolds are generally native to America.
This plant naturally blooms in colors yellow, orange, golden, and white. Most varieties come with hints of maroon highlights on their petals. The marigold foliage gives off a pungent and musky odor that most pests including stinging bugs find displeasing. Hence, it wards them off of the plant and surrounding areas.
Although marigold is good for repelling wasps, the plant still bears pollen and nectar that are respectfully food for the bees. Hence, these bugs are still likely attracted to hover around the plant. So, it might be best to specifically choose the red-colored varieties of marigold. That way, you can somehow trick the vision of these color-blinded bugs and prevent them from going near it.
Quick tips for planting marigolds:
- Thrives best in full sun
- Use moderately fertile well-draining soil
- Give the plant a good soak once a week
- Water only when the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil is already dry to touch
- Best planted on a well-spaced ground rather than in pots
- Pitcher Plant
The pitcher plant is one type of flowering plant that for sure loves to get rid of bees and wasps. I mean, literally, get rid! Unlike other bug-repelling plants, the pitcher plant does not simply deter. Instead, it lures the bugs to come so near, and then bammm traps it with no way out.
Pitcher plants or Nepenthes belong to the Nepenthaceae family. It is a carnivorous plant that is native to Madagascar, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
The main feature of this plant is its specialized leaves. It is basically shaped like a pitcher or a hollow elongated tubing filled with water and digestive enzymes. The lid is lined with nectar so it can act as bait for insects. The interior of the leaves has a waxy and slippery texture which makes it very difficult for trapped insects to escape. With no means out, the bug dies and decays in due time.
Brutal as it may be, this is how God designed the pitcher plant to live and thrive in its environment. Plants like these are tasked by mother nature to “control” bugs including bees and wasps by feeding onto them. This is their own unique way to bring about balance in the ecosystem.
Quick tips for planting pitcher plants:
- Expose to full sun
- Use well-draining soil
- Keep the soil damp to wet
- Water every 2 to 3 days
- Best grown in humid environments
Cymbopogon citratus or commonly known as lemongrass is a perennial plant belonging to the Poaceae family. It is native to Southeast Asia and is valued for its essential oil and culinary uses. In fact, this plant is actually a staple ingredient in most Asian cuisine.
Lemongrass is an evergreen plant that grows in clusters. It has narrow blade leaves with a bulbous base. This plant imparts a unique taste somewhat like a blend of lemon and mint.
But most importantly, it gives off a strong citrusy smell that most pests including wasps often find quite offensive. This fragrance is attributed to its component called Citronellol. It is a naturally occurring monoterpene which you can also find in citronella oils, a potent mosquito repellant.
Aside from simply planting, there are also few other ways to use lemongrass. Most commonly, you can extract the essential oil by boiling it in water. Once done, put the mixture in a spray bottle. Then, spritz it away in your house to disperse the aroma. You can also apply it directly to your skin as a topic bug spray.
Quick tips for planting lemongrass:
- Use fertile, well-draining soil
- Expose to full sunlight for at least 6 hours each day
- Water regularly at least every other day
- Use high-nitrogen water-soluble plant food
Every living thing in this world exists with definite value and purpose. However, we cannot also deny the fact that bugs like bees and wasps can sometimes do more potential harm than good to us humans. For this instance, we must take action and heed precautions for our own family’s safety.
Planting bug-repelling plants is one effective yet conservative way of addressing this matter. The plants discussed above are just a few of those that can effectively deter bugs without disrupting the balance in the ecosystem. So in the end, all lives are well valued and preserved.