We think of many insects and arachnids (spiders) as pests. But all creatures perform a role in their ecosystems, even systems as small as a backyard. Scorpions eat other insects and ants help aerate the soil so water and oxygen can reach plant roots.
Because insects have important jobs, it’s better to try and repel them, rather than trying to get rid of them with chemical or other pest treatments. A better solution is to plant your pest control. You can do this by adding plants that deter pests. Focus around outdoor areas that you and your family might enjoy, such as a patio or pool deck.
Not only do these plants repel unwanted insects they are beautiful to look at and to smell! Many plants that keep creepy-crawlies away are Texas natives that will thrive in yards and gardens with relatively little care. There are a few non-native plants too useful not to mention that can thrive in pots both inside and outside the home.
Lavender produces oil that deters scorpions. True and Egyptian lavenders are best, but Spanish and English lavenders also work to create an environment less attractive to scorpions.
Lemongrass keeps mosquitos, scorpions, ants, fleas and many other pests away because of its strong scent masks human and food scents that attract many bugs.
Rosemary produces oil that scorpions and mosquitos dislike. As a bonus, you can use it for your culinary adventures. Common rosemary and trailing rosemary are best-suited for the San Antonio area.
Mint is a non-native plant that can be grown in pots. Many pests such as flies, scorpions, and ants avoid mint because of its oil. Mint of any kind will do the trick.
Citronella can also be grown in a pot and it puts off a strong fragrance that masks human scents, keeping mosquitos, scorpions, ants, fleas and many other pests away.
Chelsea is an intern with the Conservation Department and is attending the TAMU Master of Water Management Program.