Summer means it’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends over for a barbecue, but it seems like unexpected guests always crash the party.

No, not your in-laws — we’re talking about pesky bugs and insects.

There are ways to keep mosquitoes and other insects away besides drowning yourself in bug spray. For a more green approach, try installing some of these mosquito and insect-repelling plants around your yard.

1. Marigolds

Place potted marigolds near mosquito entry-points, such as doors and windows, or on a deck or balcony where you spend a lot of time outdoors. They also deter insects that prey on tomato plants — an added bonus for gardeners.

Not only do they make your landscape more attractive, but marigolds also have a distinct smell that repels mosquitoes.

Plant from seed or get a starter plant from a nursery or floral department.

2. Citronella

citronella plant

Citronella is found in bug sprays and insect-repelling candles, but for maximum effectiveness, consider planting it. (Photo by David Becken)

Citronella is one of the most common ingredients in insect repellents, due to its strong smell, which masks mosquito attractants.

The perennial clumping grass grows 5 to 6 feet, and can be planted in the ground or kept in large pots.

Citronella plants thrive best in full sun and areas with good drainage.

RELATED: Insects Bugging Your Plants? Try These 10 Natural Insecticides

Catnip grows best in full sun. (Photo by John LaFollette)

Catnip grows best in full sun. (Photo by John LaFollette)

Warning: Your catnip might bring all the cats to the yard. The perennial herb, related to mint, is easy to grow.

While Catnip does repel mosquitoes in close proximity, some people apply crushed leaves for more protection.

4. Lavender

Dried lavender can be placed in wardrobes to dissuade moths. (Photo by David Becken)

Dried lavender can be placed in wardrobes to dissuade moths. (Photo by David Becken)

In addition to smelling lovely, aiding in relaxation and promoting restful sleep, lavender dissuades mosquitoes and gnats from invading your outdoor dinner party when planted in the garden or in pots placed by windows, doors and entertainment areas.

The dried flowers can also be placed in wardrobes to repel moths.

5. Basil

basil plant

Basil leaves don’t have to be crushed to prevent mosquito invasions. (Photo by Mike LaFollette)

Enjoy delicious pesto dishes, and keep mosquitoes at bay, with this insect-repelling herb. Basil is one of the few herbs in which you don’t have to crush the leaves to reap its benefits.

Lemon basil and cinnamon basil are the best varieties to prevent unwanted pests.

Mosquitoes bite! Prevent them from invading your yard with this illustration.

6. Lemon balm

lemon balm plant

Lemon balm keeps mosquitoes away, but attracts pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. (Photo by David Becken)

Also known as horsemint, lemon balm’s aroma wards off mosquitoes, but attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

It’s fast growing, drought resistant and reseeds itself, so consider planting in a pot rather than in your yard to avoid a lemon balm takeover.

If you are not able to grow one of these 6 mosquito repelling plants, or for more serious problems that need household pest control, then it’s best to use a reputable company to come out and inspect your home.

Source: 6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants to Keep Pests Away

Real Estate

Julie Nesbitt

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Julie Nesbitt is an ABR who has served buyers in some of Alexandria’s most exclusive neighborhoods.  She is a top producing agent who has listed and sold property in Northern Virginia. In addition to helping folks buy, sell and rent property in Northern Virginia, Julie is the primary administrator of the property management services performed by Nesbitt Realty and Condo Alexandria. Call Julie at (703)765-0300.