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There has been a great deal of interest recently in the use of natural repellents of insects. And for good reason: DEET, the most commonly used chemical-based insect repellent that is put on human skin is considered by some to be a toxic health risk.
I wrote a very detailed post recently investigating the use of essential oils as insecticides – and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense: Essential oils have been the plants’ first line of defense against insects since the most ancient times. Plants that were more repellent to insects were more likely to survive, and so it is quite possible that the highly aromatic, insect repellent quality of plants evolved naturally over time.
I just discovered a great post which discusses the use of not just essential oils, but actual plants themselves which afford to have a deterrent effect on bothersome critters in populated outdoor areas such as gardens. One thing I found fascinating was that some of these plants have an old history of having been used as companion plants to other plants such as crops which may have needed protection.
The idea of companion planting is one that is commonplace in permaculture – yet not considered by large-scale agribusiness, which in modern times prefers vast swathes of monoculture planting – in other words, giant fields with only one plant growing in them.
In the rush for maximum profits, the fact that monoculture is a very unnatural setup is not even given much air time – despite the fact that planting great areas of one species poses a risk for population swarms of pests. Sadly, the typical solution in modern times is to dump pesticide on the entire landscape – thus taking us even further away from an ideal, natural solution. And then of course, the introduction of GMO varieties designed to be pesticide resistant, enabling the use of more aggressive herbicides and pesticides.
We would do far better, in my view, to consider the holistic approach: nature is a complete system – and the further we drift away from it, the more problems we get ourselves into. As the saying goes, “when you’re in a hole stop digging!”
So instead of insecticides, please consider these natural herbal solutions. Here is the link to the original list of 6 insect repellent plants: http://knowledgeweighsnothing.com/six-insect-repellent-plants-to-grow