This Plant Could Keep Bugs Out of Your Backyard

It's the one decoration your backyard party desperately needs.

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July 18, 2019
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Photo by: Robert Daly

Robert Daly

Itchy, painful mosquito bites are an unequivocal con of summers spent laying by the pool or eating dinner on the back porch. And if you feel like you’ve tried everything from citronella candles to every bug spray on the shelf, we have an option for you that you might not have thought of yet — cymbopogon plants, more commonly known as lemongrass.

Even if you’re not familiar with this plant, you’ve most likely used its byproduct, citronella oil, in some form of bug repellant before. (And chances are you've seen it listed as an ingredient on restaurant menus at some point.) According to an article published by Prevention magazine, the scent used in these products is an essential oil that Cymbopogon nardus plants produce. Typically found in the form of a candle or a spray, outdoor diners have been using citronella oil to keep pesky mosquitoes away since it was first registered as a minimum-risk pesticide in 1948, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, the oil of citronella masks scents that insects find attractive and, therefore, keeps them from lingering.

That’s right, planting a few lemongrass plants around your backyard could potentially save you from annoying, blood-sucking pests. It’s debatable whether or not these citronella-oil plants are potent enough to actually keep bugs away (the plants alone are not nearly as concentrated as a candle or citronella torch). But we think keeping a few of these around the backyard certainly couldn’t hurt.

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