Plants, herbs may help keep mosquitoes at bay

Lemo­ngrass, citrosa, rosemary repel mosquitoes to some degree

SAN ANTONIO - They may not be your strongest defense against blood-sucking mosquitoes, but a number of plants may help keep the bugs at bay.

"For a while there, it seemed like every other customer was looking for something to get rid of the mosquitoes," said Charles Martelli, manager at Milberger's Nursery, 3920 N. Loop 1604.

Plants considered anti-mosquito include lemongrass, citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus), the Citrosa geranium and marigolds. Some common herbs can also help ward off the pests. They include rosemary, lavender, basil, and various mints. Garlic and catnip are options, too.

"It's the scent," Martelli said. "The scent masks the carbon dioxide and the carbon dioxide is what the mosquitoes use to hone in on their lunch. It repels them in the sense they can't find us, confuses them."

While the plants can help, Martellis cautioned they can only help so much. He said you would need to be in close proximity to the plants, such as next to a chair on a patio.

"If, in your mind, you're going to rid your backyard of mosquitoes, you're going to have to have a virtual jungle of these plants," he said.

So, you'd be wise to still take extra precautions like getting rid of standing water around your house, avoiding outdoors in the early mornings and early evenings, wearing long pants and sleeves and using repellents.

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.


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